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A volunteer on the right track

reprinted from We Mean Business, a quarterly publication of the
Red Deer Chamber of Commerce (Rob Gilgan) December 2010


Chamber volunteer Paul Pettypiece - Gilgan photo Red Deer Chamber of Commerce

Paul Pettypiece is a Chamber volunteer who is working hard to ensure Central Alberta's railway heritage becomes an important part of Riverlands.

Photo by Rob Gilgan, Red Deer Chamber of Commerce


The signature on an email from Paul Pettypiece reads: 'Sustainable future, respectful past'. Far from an empty slogan, it's a snapshot of how the Chamber volunteer manages his life. When the Chamber developed policy committees in 2006, Paul was a member of two of them: Transportation, and Civic Affairs, which he also chaired.

While the focus of the transportation policy committee was broad and included highway, rail and air, the high speed rail discussion was among the most memorable. "I helped draft the high speed rail policy three years ago that went to the Alberta Chamber conference which was unfortunately defeated. I have recently helped develop a new policy to go to the Board for approval soon, as part of my contribution to the new Housing and Infrastructure Policy Committee," he said.

He was also on the Civic Affairs committee during interesting times, when the City and County seemed to be at loggerheads on every issue. "By the time the committee was formed, the City and County were starting to talk," he explained. He's watched the two bodies work hard together in the community's interest. The committee involvement also led him downtown in the early days of the development of the Greater Downtown Action Plan. Currently, Paul's volunteer energies are directed toward Forth Junction, a proposed project to develop a multi-use community, heritage, retail and entertainment centre in Riverlands, part of Red Deer's revitalized downtown.

For Paul, Forth Junction is the culmination of a life-long interest in the railway and he's working to ensure the rail heritage that was so vital to Central Alberta's success isn't overlooked and forgotten. The name comes from the junction, situated south of 32nd Street, that connected traffic from the CPR and Alberta Central Railway, feeding a line that ran west to Rocky Mountain House. He hopes the Riverlands development would include 2 or 3 heritage centres, a shopping centre, elevated restaurant, a gathering centre and theme park, connected to a hotel and convention centre, eventually. "It needs to be an indoor facility, run year-round and be self-supporting," he says.

The project is a major undertaking, threading together all of the resources in Central Alberta and beyond that currently care for the railway heritage. Paul feels it's a perfect fit as he transitions into semi-retirement. He also continues to be involved in Junior Achievement and the Central Alberta Regional Trails Society, as well as serving his community on the Springbrook Community Association. Paul operates Central Alberta Websites, a website publishing and development firm that also hosts and

News articles about the Forth Junction Heritage Society (more below):
       News article: World-class destination centre still in the works (Innisfail Province Nov.2013)
       Editorial: Praise today's big dream
(Innisfail Province Jan.2012)
       Editorial: Railway concept captures region's uniqueness (Olds Albertan Jan.2012)
       Feature article: Forth Junction targets county
(Mountain View Gazette Dec.2011)
       News article: Forth Junction pulling toward a new station
(Red Deer Advocate Dec.2011)

News articles related to ACR/CPR Mintlaw bridge mentioning the Forth Junction Heritage Society:
       News article: Plans for Mintlaw Bridge waiting on public feedback
(Mountain View Gazette Feb.2012)
       News article: Opposition comes forward to Mintlaw Bridge preservation
(Mountain View Gazette May 2011)
       News article: RD County antes up for Mintlaw Bridge repairs
(Mountain View Gazette Nov.2010)
       News article: Bridging gap between history and disrepair
(Red Deer Advocate Nov.2010)

News article related to regional model and miniature railways mentioning the Forth Junction Project:

       News article: Trains still roll for some
(Red Deer Advocate Nov.2012)

News articles related to historic downtown Red Deer redevelopment mentioning the Forth Junction Project
(the original vision of the Forth Junction Heritage Society included an attraction in the new downtown
Riverlands but this vision was modified to have one destination close to the city and active rail line):

       News article: Railyards: Open house on a 20-year plan for downtown
(Red Deer Advocate June 2011)
       News article: Riverlands: Strong turnout for open house
(Red Deer Advocate March 2011)
       Commentary: Red Deer could use more bold visionary landmark designers
(Red Deer Express Sep.2010)

Michael Dawe articles related to regional railway heritage mentioning the Forth Junction Heritage Society:
       Region celebrating century of railroad heritage (Red Deer Express March 2010)
       Mintlaw Bridge essential to region's railroad heritage (Red Deer Express March 2010)


News articles about the Forth Junction Heritage Society:
World-class destination centre still in the works 11/13       Praise today's big dream 01/12       Forth Junction targets county 12/11 
Forth Junction pulling toward a new station
12/11        A volunteer on the right track 12/10        Tourism board supports rail project 10/10
Forth Junction rail project seeking charitable status
10/10        Rail tourist attraction idea gets rolling 07/10        Railway heritage 06/10
New idea for Riverlands worth an Olympic cheer 02/10       Happy to hear more talk on large-scale attractions 02/10
One-time opportunity 02/10       Tourism proposal facing obstacles 02/10       World-class attraction proposed for Riverlands 02/10

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