Lots to Bragg about

Hamlet west of Calgary in midst of revitalization

Asought-after destination for artists and outdoorspeople alike, the hamlet of Bragg Creek is in the midst of a modern-day revitalization.

In late April the community, located just 20 minutes west of Calgary, held a three-day design workshop highlighting areas of importance for the community’s revitalization.

Suggestions included re-emphasizing Bragg Creek’s reputation as a trailhead community, its small hamlet feel, arts and culture richness and proximity to the Elbow River and Calgary.

Priorities for locals ranged from creating an outdoor community hub and riverfront public area to diversification of housing and basic infrastructure repair.

The revitalization plan grew out of the Greater Bragg Creek Area Structure Plan (ASP) adopted in 2007. The ASP encourages attractiveness and further residential development of the hamlet. The revitalization plan will “identify concrete actions to achieve the vision described in the ASP,” said Rocky View County.

The community workshop held in April was the third part of a four-phase plan. The first phase included policy review and data planning with preparation of a consultation plan, while the second was an analysis of issues with community stakeholders and preparing housing analysis.

The fourth phase, slated to run from July to October, will analyze community feedback and present the final plan to council.

The hamlet of about 500 has largely managed to maintain its sense of charm, culture and outdoor attractiveness since the early 1900s. Because of its location, bordering the Elbow River with plenty of forest and views of the Rockies, the area was first home to hunting lodges and cabins in the 1920s.

Firsts for the community include its first school, constructed in 1917, its first store, constructed in 1921 and home to the first hostel in North America, constructed in 1933.

Heavy floods in June 2013 threatened much of the hamlet, including Bragg Creek Trading Post which dates back to 1927. The trading post re-opened its doors late 2014.

Also affected by flooding was construction of seniors’ housing in the community. Land originally donated for the housing was so damaged the Bragg Creek Seniors Housing Society headed back to the drawing board.

Local resident Dick Koetsier later donated a 0.8-hectare parcel not far from the original land next to the Bragg Creek Snowbirds Chalet.

“We are so grateful to Dick Koetsier for his generous donation of land,” said Carol Broschneck, chief administrative officer with the Rocky View Foundation, which manages five seniors’ housing facilities in the Rocky View area and has been an avid supporter of the project since the beginning.

“Our goal is to provide safe affordable housing for seniors, and with Dick’s help, we are one step closer to achieving this in Bragg Creek.”

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