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Bowden Hotel property meeting postponed

The Bowden Hotel, built in 1904 and vacant since about 2015, burned down on New Year's Eve 2022
MVT Bowden Hotel Ruins steps
The front of the once proud Bowden Hotel is in ruins after the historic structure was bulldozed following the fire on Jan. 1, 2022 File photo/MVP Staff

BOWDEN — Now that the new year has arrived, representatives of the Town of Bowden hope to reschedule a meeting with provincial ministers regarding the Bowden Hotel site. 

The venerable old hotel which stood along Highway 2A at 20th Avenue, burned to the ground just a few minutes into New Year’s Day 2022. 

The building, originally built in 1904, had been vacant since about 2015. 

The rubble was bulldozed down and a fence was erected around the property.  

Since then, for about a year, council and town staff have been trying to obtain provincial funding to at least help cover costs to fill in the site and make it safer. 

Concerns include fear the site might contain hazardous substances like asbestos. 

“We did get a quote,” mayor Robb Stuart said during an interview with the Albertan, “but who knows, right? Because everything seems to be cost-plus now. And gas prices have come down, so hopefully the tenders will go down too.” 

“Now it’s a standing item on our agenda package. So every meeting, we talk about whether we get information or not and where we go next.”

Stuart said things finally looked hopeful in late December.  

A meeting between Stuart, Bowden chief administrative officer Rudy Friesen and two provincial ministers had been scheduled for just before Christmas. But it was later cancelled.  

Another goal of the meeting, Stuart said, was for those ministers to get to know Friesen, as he was just hired by the town last summer. 

“With Rudy coming on line, that took a little while for him to get up to speed and become familiar with the on-goings.” 

Stuart said in his opinion, Friesen made “huge progress” by helping to facilitate the meeting. 

At one point, Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA Jason Nixon indicated interest in looking into the file while he was a member of the United Conservative Party cabinet, he said.

“And then we don’t hear anything because now of course, Nixon’s been put to the back bench,” he said.  

Stuart said the hope is now that they will meet in the new year with at least Municipal Affairs Minister Rebecca Schulz.