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Province says fire-ravaged Bowden Hotel site will be cleaned up this summer

Clean-up and rehabilitation of abandoned Bowden Hotel site expected to be tendered next month
MVT BowdenMennoSietzema
Menno Sietzema, public works supervisor for the Town of Bowden, looks over the ruins of the Bowden Hotel on Jan. 1, 2022 Johnnie Bachusky/MVP Staff

BOWDEN — Tenders to clean up and rehabilitate the Bowden Hotel site are expected to go out in May, with clean-up occurring in June or July and the project being completed by the end of the summer. 

That’s the word from Benji Smith, press secretary to the Deputy Premier and Minister of Infrastructure Nathan Neudorf. 

“Once reclamation and other required work is complete, including obtaining a clean environmental site assessment, we will first offer the property to the Town of Bowden at fair market value. If the Town (of Bowden) declines, Infrastructure will list the property on the open market,” Smith wrote in an email to the Albertan

Smith confirmed that a hazardous materials consultant and prime consultant completed an assessment of the area ahead of the reclamation project a couple of weeks ago. 

The Bowden Hotel, a fixture for decades at the corner of Highway 2A and 20th Street, burned to the ground on New Year’s Day 2022. 

According to local history buffs, the hotel was originally built in 1904 and burnt down the first time in 1925. It was rebuilt and opened again in 1930. It was abandoned in 2015. 

Smith confirmed that the province assumed care and control of the property last fall “following the dissolution of its ownership.” 

“Treasury Board and Finance owns the property, and Infrastructure manages it on their behalf,” he wrote. 

In an earlier letter to the Town of Bowden, Alberta Infrastructure committed to restore the lot, removing debris, then regrading the site by this summer. 

Bowden Mayor Robb Stuart was pleased to see that things are moving on the Bowden Hotel site. 

“Once the snow melts, hopefully they can get in there,” Stuart said during an interview with the Albertan

“They’ve assured us they’ll do it as soon as possible.” 

Comment was made that it could be a dangerous place to work on, given that the building may very well have had asbestos in it. Asbestos exposure has been linked to several kinds of cancer. 

“That’s why we’re so glad the province is doing it because they’re liable for everything,” Stuart said. 

Stuart is not sure what will happen once that land is rehabilitated. 

He said town council would still like to see more housing built in Bowden, especially something that could accommodate lower-income residents – perhaps an apartment building or tiny homes. 

A few years ago, some interest was expressed in building tiny homes in Bowden but nothing materialized. 

A couple of duplexes are currently being built next to the old Lions Community Hall, but Stuart expects they’ll be snapped up quickly once they’re completed. 

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