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Forth Junction Project
Society Annual Report

Forth Junction Project Vision Trails, Rails, Transit Heritage Centre Interpretive
Historical Model
Rail & 3001 Project
Railway Heritage
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Forth Junction?

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Alexander Way and 'The Arches'

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Forth Junction south of ACR pier 1955


Forth Junction Heritage Society logoForth Junction Heritage Society
Annual General Meeting October 26, 2010, Red Deer

Annual Progress Report

Over the past year and a half, the Forth Junction Heritage Society has come a long way from the original concept of a regional historical model railway museum to two world-class tourist attractions based on the evolution of transportation in the settlement and development of Western Canada.

In April 2009, a group of four local transportation historians and model railroaders met to form the Forth Junction Heritage Society at which time the temporary Board of Directors was elected by acclamation -- Paul Pettypiece, Darcy Colenutt, Roy Sirman and Heather Shannon.

For the next few months, several historians, civic leaders, business leaders and other people of influence were briefed and consulted about the preliminary concept of a major tourist attraction based on the railway history of the region. Virtually all of those people provided ideas and positive encouragement to proceed. Those consultations have included administration officials at the highest level both in the City and the County. During this time, the vision evolved and expanded in scope and boldness to include transit heritage, an indoor theme park, replication of the Jubilee locomotive in some form, a rural railway station accommodation resort and family park, a retail centre, community gathering centre and terminal for Alexander Way shuttle service and local heritage and cultural tours.

Riverlands Transpo Centre - the focal point of the Forth Junction ProjectFurthermore, the concepts were adjusted when necessary to be compatible with the Greater Downtown Action Plan, the River Valley and Tributaries Park Plan, the Red Deer County Open Spaces Master Plan and several other municipal initiatives.

The Forth Junction Project objectives include sustainability, authenticity and a 'wow' factor that will attract several segments of the community as well as repeat visitors from all over North America.

By August (2009), the Society by-laws were finalized and the development of a comprehensive website was initiated. That website has evolved to include over 120 pages of information, history and news articles and is now attracting over 1,300 page views (hits) per month or an average of 30 per day and is growing monthly.

In September, the Society executive expanded to include an additional transit enthusiast Steve Parkin, historian Michael Dawe and cultural advocate Audrey Reid. Membership dues were determined and collected for the first time. The executive for the 2009-2010 year was elected with Paul Pettypiece as President, Darcy Colenutt as Vice-President and Steve Parkin as Secretary-Treasurer. The fiscal year end was determined to be June 30.

A bank account was set up in October and a preliminary business plan created in November. In December, after a number of tries, the Society was incorporated as a Registered Society under the Alberta Societies Act. A Paypal account was set up for the website for new memberships.

Forth Junction display at Supertrain Calgary 2010A portable stand-alone banner was purchased and brochures created for the Society's first public display at Supertrain in Calgary in April. The display also included a Free-mo standard HO module by Darcy Colenutt and historic photos courtesy of Red Deer Archives and Michael Dawe.

One of the Society's initial objectives was realized in December when Red Deer County purchased the former ACR Mintlaw trestle from CPR as well as much of the right of way between the bridge and Benalto as a historic resource and a possible future regional trail.

The Society received its first grant of $500 from Red Deer County Division 2 Recreation and Culture Board for start-up expenses in January. Applications for other grants will require charitable status or at least a partnership with a Society that already has it, or support from Tourism Red Deer. An application for charitable status is pending and earlier this month, as a result of a presentation to their Board of Directors, Tourism Red Deer agreed to provide a letter of support in principle for the project concept.

Forth Junction Development Plan ProposalThe Society Board has accepted the application by Heritage Collaborative Inc. from Edmonton, a consulting company that specializes in heritage projects and has worked with both the City of Red Deer and Red Deer County, for a $40,000 destination management study for the Forth Junction Project, pending funding from Alberta Tourism or other sources. Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas has agreed to present the proposal to Alberta Tourism. Once funded, the study will include further consultation with stakeholders and the general public, and a management plan for proceeding with the project.

Another consultant, Whistler-based Select Contracts, has contacted both the City and the Society indicating a very strong interest in becoming the designer, contractor and manager of both proposed attractions. This company specializes in entertainment and leisure attractions that include resorts, theme parks and family entertainment centres all over the world.

In the past few months, the Society has been featured in 4 news articles in the Red Deer Advocate as well as 2 commentaries in the Advocate and 1 in the Red Deer Express. In addition, Michael Dawe has mentioned the Society in at least 3 of his weekly historical articles in the Express.

2010 Red Deer Model Train & Hobby ShowOur most recent public event was the 2-day Red Deer Train and Hobby Show at Westerner Park this past weekend where an estimated 1,000 people passed by our booth. Dozens of people stopped to ask questions or get more information on the objectives of the Society.

Since last fall, additional members have joined the Society bringing the current total to 16 including the first organizational membership from the Innisfail Historical Society. The Society hopes to substantially increase its membership this fall.

Moving forward, the Society intends to send in the application for charitable status this week and has a meeting with the Central Alberta Historical Society board of directors next month. Once the destination management study is completed, the Society will move on to the next step in developing a business plan and design for the project.

Paul Pettypiece, President


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