We are collecting signatures to append to the below Letter which we will send to Councillors AND publish with all our names in the local newspaper on May 6th.
Letter to Town Council
Dear Town Council,
We whole-heartedly support and appreciate your decision to reject the Smith Creek ASP. Your amendments to the Village Centre ASP to reduce tourist homes and encourage more affordable housing and commercial development are also appreciated. These are excellent steps towards addressing the overwhelming community concern expressed over TSMV’s proposals.
However, significant action is still required to address the MAJOR community concerns on (1) Truth & Reconciliation, (2) undermining and (3) the unviable wildlife corridor pinch point within the Village Centre ASP.
Truth & Reconciliation: While we appreciate the efforts to encourage more consultation with the Stoney Nakoda Nation, they simply do not go far enough. Meaningful consultation requires seeking the free, prior, and informed consent BEFORE proceeding with the TSMV approvals. It’s 2021 — we can and should do better. Let us not forget the request from the Stoney Elders during the Public Hearing to reject these ASPs so that they can fully participate in this process.
Undermining: As you know, the unfinished golf course is riddled with underground shafts and other past coal mining workings. Independent mining experts, including the late Gerry Stephenson, explicitly stated that building in this area is unacceptably risky. Several collapses and sinkholes have opened up elsewhere on the TSMV property and have required mitigations that cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the absence of a bond from the developer to cover any mitigation costs in perpetuity, allowing any building here would be unconscionable and would expose us to great financial risk. No amount of phasing will address the overarching need to keep the unfinished golf course free of development.
Wildlife Corridor: The unfinished golf course also plays a crucial role in our ailing system of wildlife corridors. The concerns about the corridor pinch point directly above the unfinished golf course prompted the Town to commission an independent biological study in 2002 that, along with an expert panel of Provincial and Parks Canada biologists, recommended the golf course be kept free of buildings in perpetuity to mitigate this otherwise too-narrow section of the corridor. TSMV agreed and the area was zoned Golf Course — Private Recreation in the 2004 Resort Centre ASP. This long-term agreement was cemented into section 8.1.2 and Map 2 of our current Municipal Development Plan (without any mention of an untested fence). On what scientific basis is there for this change?
We hope you share these concerns. We appreciate that you have worked hard to find common ground between TSMV’s proposals and the needs and wants of our community. However, we ask you not to dismiss past studies, expert opinions, past decisions AND our Municipal Development Plan at this final hour of the process. This is a very significant decision that will impact our community, our wildlife, and our relationship with the Stoney Nakoda Nation for decades and generations to come. As was stated during the 2nd Reading, you can always add, but you can’t take away.