Published on Aug 03, 2022 at 08:48

By Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Most people are familiar with the rule that books should never be judged by their covers, but similar graces are not usually extended to business fronts.

To help local businesses spruce up their storefronts to attract customers and improve the overall appearance of the municipality’s downtowns, Crowsnest Pass council approved a building facade grant during its July 12 regular council meeting.

The initiative follows the lead of other municipalities like Edmonton, Red Deer and Lethbridge in encouraging development in downtown cores and less popular areas. 

The 50-50 matching grant will provide business building owners up to $1,000 to go ahead with projects approved by the municipality. A maximum of $10,000 has been set aside, with grants being awarded on a first come, first served basis. 

Potential projects that could be covered by the grant include improving signage or entrances, window screens, and painting.

Coun. Glen Girhiny said the grant was a good first step in helping business owners enhance the appearance of the municipality.

“This shows that we’re willing to listen and we’re going to participate,” he said. “It’s probably not enough, but we can change that if the demand is there — if there’s interest.”

“It’s not a ton of money, but at least it’s a start,” agreed Coun. Lisa Sygutek. “Small things make big differences.”

As with other funding opportunities the municipality offered, the challenge was going to be letting businesses know the matching grant is available, said Coun. Doreen Glavin.

“We always talk about communication and how we get that out, how many businesses don’t look at the website. I’d like to see one of our staff go door to door — I’m pushing it there,” she said with a laugh, “but just so businesses are aware of what’s available.”

Some sort of special mailing was one solution, and working with the chamber of commerce and Crowsnest Pass Community Futures was also a good way to get the word out, said Coun. Dean Ward.

“This is why it’s so important that we get together working with those other two groups,” he said.

More information on the grant application process is available online at or by phoning the municipal office at 403-562-8833.

This item reprinted with permission from Shootin’ the Breeze, Pincher Creek, Alberta