The former Gilbert residence was home to the last family that ranched the property starting in 1949. In 1979, the government of Alberta bought 150 acres, including the residence, to establish the Cochrane Ranche Provincial Historic Site. Maintenance of the site is now handled by the Town of Cochrane.
The $395,000 renovations were included in the Town’s 2016 budget to offer year-round space for expanded Discover the Ranche, day camps and after school programs, as well as community activities.
Inside the building, a new layout maximizes program space; upgraded lighting, new flooring, kitchen appliances, furnace and water tank mean the building can safely be used all year. A new barrier-free ramp and passenger elevating device makes the building fully accessible, and the new potable water supply meets Alberta Health Services requirements.
Outside, updated insulation and energy-efficient windows, a new roof, as well as maintenance-free cladding and deck give the building a refreshed new look and years more useful life. The new driveway accommodates Alberta Transportation’s intention to shut down the old entrance off Highway 1A, and the new outdoor fire pit and improved landscaping mean the location has a wide variety of indoor and outdoor programming space.
The renovations also feature original Cochrane brick, manufactured at the brickworks that was once located on the historic Cochrane Ranche site.
The ClubHouse Activity Centre has its official grand reopening on Saturday November 5 from 1 to 3pm. Everyone is invited to tour the new space and enjoy family activities and treats and the fire pit.