Cochrane Ideas – October 2019

Regional Growth Management

Is it Even Possible?
What Has Been Tried in the Calgary Region?

7 pm, Friday, October 11th, 2019
at King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane
Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Managing Growth at a regional scale is not for the faint-of-heart!  It comes with all the drama of the wild west poised on the razor’s-edge of a “local autonomy” vs. “broader shared interest” in the Calgary Region, It also comes with a  clash between urban and rural values. Still, it has been possible to find common ground.

Join us on October 11 to learn how compromises were made. Share your own observations and questions. Bob Miller has spent many years engaged in urban and regional growth management and planning in the Calgary region.  From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s Bob served as the City of Calgary’s technical representative to the Calgary Regional Planning Commission.  As a city planner, he worked with rural municipalities and towns across the region in regional strategy-making, annexation and strategic planning studies. From 1999-2010 Bob served as the Manager of Strategic Initiatives, providing strategic analysis and advice to City Council and the senior administration.

Retiring from the City, Bob joined the Calgary Regional Partnership in 2010, implementing the Calgary Metropolitan Plan and developing region-wide strategies around growth management, transit, regional water systems, economic prosperity and broadband/fibre networks.  As CRP closed its doors in 2018, Bob retired and now enjoys life in the Summer Village of Ghost Lake. He contributes as a volunteer where he can.

Bob holds degrees in Urban and Regional Economics (BA, UofC) and Community and Regional Planning (MA, UBC)

Many thanks to Ozzie Sawicki and Jill Uniacke for detailing with such empathy and understanding at September Ideas the extent of palliative care in Cochrane area, and future goals to help people with their end-of-life challenges.  If you are interested in hospice and palliative care, please go to the local Cochrane website

Cochrane Ideas – September 2019

Cochrane Ideas launches its 20th year with a presentation on

Planning our end-of-life journey

7 pm on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019
at Frank Wills Memorial Hall
405 1st Street East (beside RCMP Station)

Please bring snacks                 Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Discussion leaders:
Jill Uniacke, volunteer board member and education committee lead for the Cochrane and Area Hospice Society.
Ozzie Sawicki, volunteer chair of the Cochrane and Area Hospice Society and Cochrane business owner. He runs a company called Amped2Play, helping companies, organizations and schools introduce unstructured and experimental play programs for all ages.

The Cochrane and area Hospice Society is part of a growing number of rural support organizations surrounding Calgary. They focus on providing those in the final stages of their lives the chance to have all the information needed to make quality decisions and be exposed to available and exemplary palliative care, as well as end-of-life and bereavement care options.

Other topics that Jill and Ozzie will cover include:
– Palliative care versus end-of-life care .
– Advanced-care planning and legislation behind Personal Directives.
– Medical assistance in dying legislation.
– Home and hospice care.
– Family support.

Other mission objectives for the Society include providing palliative volunteer training, and advocating for hospice and respite beds for people unable to stay in their own homes.

This will be an interactive session — questions and comments welcome

Summer Break

Our next IDEAS evening will be held in September so please join us then to take part in the excellent conversations. We have many exciting speakers/topics planned for the new season.

Have a wonderful summer,
The IDEAS Team

Cochrane Ideas – June 2019


7 pm on Friday, June 14, 2019
at King Solomon Lodge
Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks (Meat, sweets, veggies — whatever your fancy).
Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Four Bow Valley debaters will speak for or against the following motion:
WHEREAS the ever-increasing world-wide mass meat production raises environmental concerns and also involves some ethical issues;
BE IT RESOLVED that we support a substantial reduction and the eventual elimination of mass-produced meat consumption.

Moving the motion will be retired engineer Heinz Unger, a member of the Ideas co-ordinating team, a committed conservationist and a former official with the World Bank. The seconder will be Robin Slater from Lac Des Arcs, a committed vegetarian for 50 years and an active Ideas participant for many years.

Planning to stun the audience with his debating skills in his opposition to the motion will be Erik Butters, well-known and conservation-minded rancher operating on Hwy. 40 northwest of Cochrane. Currently a councillor with the municipal district of Bighorn, his historical roots in the area go deep. He will be joined by seconder, Greg Trout, new to Ideas with his debating chops and a citizen of Cochrane since 2012. He, too, is a professional engineer with his degree from the University of Saskatoon. Greg works in the mining and equipment maintenance fields.

This is the final Ideas event before the summer break. After the four speakers have made their pitch for or against the motion, the debate will open up to the audience for comments.

Cochrane Ideas – May 2019

Current And Future Energy Use
The Questions And Possible Solutions

7 pm on Friday May 10, 2019
at King Solomon Lodge (our usual location)
Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

The presentation by Cal Hill will attempt to address the following questions:
– Why energy is so important in our lives
– What forms of energy we have and benefits and disadvantages of each
– A world without fossil fuels
– Energy demand growth and population growth
– The big problem and what it all means
– The tough solutions

CAL HILL is a retired geologist having spent his career working for the Alberta Energy Regulator. In his last few years with the regulator, he was responsible for strategy and regulatory development. This included providing scientific assessments of Alberta’s energy resources and the demand for them as well as understanding trends in global energy consumption and what that meant to Alberta.  Since his retirement, Cal continues to be interested in the topic of energy and how it impacts on our environment. In his spare time, he wanders the foothills and mountains with his wife Judy, attempting to become a better outdoor photographer. Cal lives in the Cochrane area.

There was a large and appreciative audience for Duane Bratt‘s talk on political populism at April’s Ideas. We are grateful that Duane donated his time, energy and clarity of thought to make the event so stimulating.


Cochrane Ideas – April 2019


with Mount Royal University political scientist
and well-known commentator

DUANE BRATTDuane Bratt7 pm on Friday April 12, 2019
at Frank Wills Memorial Hall
(405 – 1st Street S.E., Cochrane, east of RCMP Station)

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Discussion of political populism is especially pertinent as Albertans prepare to go to the polls on April 16.  Populism can be defined as:

      • A political approach striving to appeal to ordinary people who feel their concerns and issues are disregarded by an elite establishment.
      • A belief in the power of regular people and their right to have control over their government rather than political insiders.
      • Seen as a force in the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president and the Brexit vote in the U.K.

Dr. BRATT will focus on:

      1. His definition of populism.
      2. A look at right-wing versus left-wing populism.
      3. An analysis of current populism around the world
      4. A history of populism in Alberta, including the rise of Social Credit and the potential influence of populism in the April 16 election.

An MRU evaluation of professors by students includes comments that Bratt is “hilarious”, he is an “amazing lecturer” and is “inspirational”.

CBC IDEAS. You might find these programs relevant:
Manufacturing Discontent: The perils of populism:
The Case for Populism.  Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s policies has a hard line stance on immigration, but supports free childhood education, that would be difficult to define as anything but progressive.

FEBRUARY and  MARCH IDEAS. We are very grateful to Bob Kam for sharing his amazing experience with the “Calgary elephants” at our March Ideas and many thanks go to Sandy Aberdeen for his very well organized and thought-provoking presentation on “Climate Change: Is It Too Late?

Cochrane Ideas – March 2019


At 7 pm on Friday March 8, 2019
at King Solomon Lodge Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can.  Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Bob Kam, the former Elephant Keeper at the Calgary Zoo, will speak about how to work with elephants, how to understand and train them, and also how to deal with the ups and downs of dealing with such high profile and, at times, controversial zoo animals. Bob will also talk about elephant anatomy, especially the trunk, their size, the musth, birthing and health issues. He will also address the question of ivory trade and the current status of elephants in the wild. Bob’s talk will be accompanied by lots of slides.

Bob Kam always had a great love for animals; this led him to a career at the Calgary Zoo starting in1973. During his apprenticeship in animal care three elephants arrived from Sri Lanka, and for the following 40 years Bob was the Elephant Manager leading a team of Elephant Keepers. In the course of his work he learned, applied and taught all aspects of elephant husbandry and health care. He established a very close rapport with the largest and most intelligent animal on four legs just so that these elephants could be cared for properly. Bob was awarded a White Hat in 1997 another one in 2004 for excellence in promoting tourism for the City Of Calgary. He now is retired and, with his spouse Cindy, lives in the Ghost Valley.

Many thanks to Sandy Aberdeen for his very well organized presentation on Climate Change: Is It Too Late? at our February Ideas.  Even some of us who are very aware indeed of the issues on climate change and food security found much to mull over.

Cochrane Ideas – Feb 2019


with Sandy Aberdeen
At 7 pm on Friday February 8th, 2019
at King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Sandy will present selections from the Climate Reality Project derived from his training in San Francisco with former Vice President Al Gore, followed by questions and answers. Discussion could include the following points:

1. Climate Change – Is it too late?
2. How do we talk about Climate Change in Alberta?
3. What can we do? How do we go forward? What are our options for for the future?
4. Life without fossil fuels.
5. Finding Hope.

Sandy has a background in Manufacturing and Continuous Improvement. Since finishing the Environmental Management Program at the U of C over twenty years ago his passion has become devoted to learning about and becoming active with environmental issues. Climate Change as it relates to food security is one of his major interests. He and his son Brendon started one of Calgary’s first Urban Farms. He is a L.E.A.D. Fellow (Leadership for the Environment and Development), is an active member of Citizens Climate Lobby, an organization that lobbies for effective carbon pricing (Fee and Dividend) and a founding member of Calgary Citizens on Climate Change. Sandy has been trained in San Francisco to present the Climate

Thanks to all who participated in the discussion at the January Ideas about the role of women in Cochrane’s development. We were sorry, of course, that illness caused the scheduled presenter, Cheryl Harding, to cancel, but a lively, improvised evening was enjoyed.

Cochrane Ideas – Jan 2019


At 7 pm on Friday January 11th, 2019
at King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.
Our first Ideas session of the New Year wants to celebrate the significant contribution of women to Cochrane’s development over the years.

CHERYL HARDY, a resident of Cochrane and area for most of her life, will focus her presentation on the ladies, cowgirls and women who have shaped Cochrane. Cheryl looks forward to touching on lots of interesting stories which will intrigue and educate her audience.

Cochrane’s downtown Legacy Statue, otherwise known as the Chicken Lady, commemorates some of those women. Throughout much of the town’s history, women have played a significant role on Town Council, with three high-profile and active women mayors during the second half of the 20th century and early 21st century: Caroline Godfrey, Lydia Graham and Judy Stewart.

Because of her life-long connections with Cochrane, Cheryl Hardy is well qualified to speak on this subject. Her father’s parents had the homestead which is now the Cochrane Ecological Institute. She has been involved with many volunteer groups and has taken a leadership role in many Cochrane events. That includes her participation for several years in the town’s annual Christmas light-up campaign. She still lives on the family farm, just north of Cochrane.

Many thanks to Dr. Mark Hamilton for his presentation on Adult and Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus at December Ideas. He made a potentially difficult subject understandable and fascinating for his audience. He also demonstrated his compassion and dedication to continue treating a condition that can be reversed.

Cochrane Ideas – Dec 2018

Little-Known Disorder Looking Like Alzheimers Can Be Reversed Neurosurgical Procedure For Hydrocephalus Dramatically Saving Lives

Featuring Dr. Mark Hamilton
University of Calgary Professor of Neurosurgery;
Chair and founding member, Adult Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network; President, Hydrocephalus Society

7 pm., Friday, Dec. 14
At King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Dr. Mark Hamilton is very committed to his work with hydrocephalus, he brings extensive expertise to understanding this condition. With his clinical and scientific experience as a neurosurgeon and a researcher, he is keen to inform the public about hydrocephalus.

Loss of memory, mobility problems and bladder control issues are often seen as early indicators of dementia. But these are also the same warning signals for hydrocephalus which can be completely reversible.

Normal-pressure hydrocephalus, a build-up of spinal fluids in the skull, affects an estimated one in 200 adults over 55, or 770,000 people in North America. The surgical treatment involves draining the problematic fluid from the skull. If performed early enough, a patient’s memory can be fully restored.

Weeks after the event, people are still talking about William Hawkins’ presentation on China at our Nov. 9 Ideas. Many thanks to William for putting so much energy into a stimulating and humorous evening.