Today, Canmore’s Town Council held the 2nd Reading of the Smith Creek and Three Sisters Mountain Village (TSMV) Area Structure Plans (ASPs).
First, some good news. Town Council unanimously rejected the Smith Creek ASP. Many of the reasons cited were raised by you during the Public Hearing, which means that your engagement made a huge difference. Thank you!
After this initial relief, things turned south. Town Council voted 6-1 to approve 2nd Reading of the TSMV ASP. While they included several amendments (notably around affordable housing, which legally cannot be enforced), they did so without addressing the MAJOR concerns around undermining, the unviable wildlife corridor squeeze point, or any of the financial liabilities that we, as taxpayers, will have to pay when sinkholes inevitably open up on the unfinished golf course.
The late Gerry Stephenson, probably the foremost expert on these lands, wrote in 2016 about the unfinished golf course:
If this land is developed for residential and/or commercial purposes, there will be an undue risk that infrastructure, roads, sewage pipelines, water supply etc. will experience damage and the taxpayer, municipal or provincial, as well as condominium owners, will be left to pay the bills.
Instead of (1) heeding this advice, or (2) giving the Stoney Nakoda Nation the opportunity to meaningfully shape these ASPs before they are approved, or (3) listening to the unanimous opposition to the wildlife fence (an untested idea and one which our local experts have stated will not work), or (4) delaying this process so that missing information gaps from the cumulative impact assessment could be filled, or (5) providing more opportunity for public engagement to shape the future of Canmore, Council voted in favour of 2nd Reading.
These financial liabilities, safety risks, and jeopardizing our co-existence with wildlife are not matters to be or taken lightly or gambled upon. The Public Hearing expressed this very clearly. If Town Council wants to gamble, they should do it with their own money in a casino, not with Canmore taxpayers’ money in our community.
We have two weeks to remind Council why development on the unfinished golf course is unacceptable. The 3rd and final Reading will be held on May 11 at 9am. This is the last opportunity for Council to propose amendments or reject the TSMV ASP outright.
So while today we celebrate the power of democracy, we have much more work to do over the next 2 weeks. Tomorrow, we will announce some fun and innovative ways for you to continue to engage and make your voice heard.
Finally, a very special thank you to Councillor Karen Marra who voted in opposition to the TSMV ASP. Thank you for listening to your community.
Have a great night!
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