By Joni MacFarlane
Editor, Crowsnest Pass Promoter
Mayor Bruce Decoux floated out an idea that proposes the Devin gas plant site stage future events to become Alberta’s attraction headquarters.
He told council on Nov. 27 that the property would not be returned to its natural state for perhaps 10 years, and due to its industrial use, would never be used for residential or commercial purposes. It could, however, be used for “convertible” land on a temporary basis for many purposes, he said.
The site, which has been home to a natural gas plant for 51 years, is undergoing decommissioning and is not expected to be available for another two to three years. Devin announced the closure of the plant in April because of sustained low natural gas prices and the age of the facility.
In discussions with Devin, Mayor Decoux said the idea was presented as a way for the company to leave a legacy to the Crowsnest Pass.
For example, the area could be called Devin Park Recreation Area Crowsnest Pass.
He added that the municipality is “first on the list” for the land.
The idea of using the site for Crowsnest Pass festivals in the future was also suggested to the Lethbridge & District Exhibition Board, said Mayor Decoux.
He said this festival would not eliminate current events such as Bellecrest Days, Canada Day and Rum Runner Days, but would be in addition.
“This idea involves Crowsnest Pass Day where we all pull together in that area,” said Mayor Decoux. “While it can’t be done this year or probably next year, because they still have to clean up… we found an area where we could begin this process.”
Mayor Decoux told council a 20-acre parcel of land has been found that could be used until the Devin site was ready. He said the Lethbridge Board would be prepared to put on four concerts over two days followed by fireworks as early as next summer.
The Promoter was told the location of this property was confidential at this time.
Mayor Decoux went on to explain that events could be staged at the Devin site and the land could be “reconstituted” or changed week to week.
He suggested events such as Jamborees, fireworks, mud bogs, monster truck competitions, drag racing, and Enduro racing.
In the winter, he suggested snowmobile and quadding races or a staging area to backcountry trails.
The money generated from the events could be used to support volunteer organizations or maintenance of a future recreation centre, said Mayor Decoux. It would take the work of many groups, he said, but suggested the Bellevue District Agriculture Society could take it on as many exhibitions were.
“It is an idea that we maintain people that we lost and to a certain extent with our Rum Runners but it’s an opportunity to maintain in a safe and acceptable format and that everyone could have fun at,” he said.