Kneehill County moving ahead with Horseshoe Canyon store

Tourists flock to the famous Hoodoos site located 20 km East of Drumheller, Alta., on Sunday, May 21, 2017. The area boasts of different layers of rock sediments that have gradually eroded away over millennia. (Photo by Terri Huxley)
Written by Stu Salkeld

Visitors to the popular Horseshoe Canyon attraction will have new washrooms, cafe and retail space to enjoy as Kneehill County decided to move ahead with those developments.

The decision was made at the June 23 regular meeting of council.

Councillors read a report in their agenda package from Bowen Clausen, manager of parks and agriculture services, stating administration was asking for some direction on existing plans to develop a public washroom, a cafe, retail space and pay parking at Horseshoe Canyon, all budgeted for 2020.

“At the June 16, 2020 Committee of the Whole meeting, the committee recommended for council to direct administration to move forward with a day use washroom facility with small retail/café space and charge parking as budgeted,” stated Bowen’s report.

“Administration will issue a request for proposal/tender for the washroom facility with small retail/café space.

Council could also look at only completing the washroom portion of this, however, this would not allow for any revenue generation or county and regional promotion.

Any building will require several studies prior to any construction, as well as ministerial approval for the road closure which is currently underway and can take over a year to complete.

“Administration can begin to move forward with some of the infrastructure and key items for the pay parking in 2020.”

He stated, because of a number of reasons, the rest should be scheduled for 2021.

Bowen also described the public consultation process involved in this Horseshoe Canyon project.

“Administration would target bringing a terms of reference back to council for consideration at either the July or August council meeting, where if approved a third party facilitator would be secured and a focus group formed for the fall of 2020,” he stated.

He pointed out the project is budgeted. “$1.35 million was approved within the 2020 budget, funded from reserves,” stated Bowen. “By council direction, this funding was not to be utilized without further council approval of specific plans.”

Coun. Glen Keiver stated he wasn’t sure the retail space was needed, while the washrooms are. He stated the cafe and retail space could probably be put on hold.

Bowen stated previous instructions from council were to include something that generates revenue and washrooms can’t do that.

Councillors approved moving forward with the day-use area plans, including public washrooms, cafe and retail space, with Coun. Jim Hugo opposed.

Councillors also approved moving forward with the pay parking plan, with Coun. Hugo opposed.

Lastly, councillors approved developing terms of reference to form a focused task force for the development of Horseshoe Canyon using a third-party facilitator.


Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.