A new housing proposal called 800 Canmore is pushing for development outside of our Urban Growth Boundary and inside the South Canmore Wildlife Habitat Patch.
As you probably remember, moving our Growth Boundary and further compromising our already stressed network of wildlife corridors and habitat patches, were huge issues in last year’s TSMV hearings. Fortunately the TSMV proposals were rejected, but now our Town and some Councillors are being sued by TSMV for $224.5 million. So why would anyone think about changing our stand on these same issues now?
The short answer is because in this housing proposal (6 estate homes that, according to a Town Planner’s quote in this week’s newspaper, will be between 5,000 and 11,000 square feet and larger than anything else allowed in town), a small proportion (10%) of the 800 Canmore lands would be gifted to the Palliative Care Society of the Bow Valley to build a 6-bed, 15,000 squarefoot hospice for end-of-life care.
A hospice is certainly welcome in the Bow Valley, but not in a critical habitat patch.
In this proposal, the unaffordable mansions and the hospice would be built on 20 acres of rare wetland habitat in a designated wildlife patch used by elk, wolves, grizzly bears and a host of birds and small mammals.
Furthermore, despite years of talks, AHS is not on board to partner in the operating costs. So who will pay to run such a hospice? Will folks who actually work and live here be able to afford the cost of admission?
Is this housing development appropriate for a town in an affordable housing crisis, a climate emergency, and whose wildlife are already pushed to the brink?
Previous Councils didn’t think so. Proposals to develop this same special plot of land were rejected in 2009 and 2012 — before the current owners bought it. The issues haven’t changed: this wildlife habitat patch and our urban growth boundary are more important than ever.
We fully support the objective of bringing a hospice to Canmore, but not in this location.
We can do better. We must do better.
This proposal is only two steps away from being given the green light and our Town Council wants to hear your thoughts.
1. Make a written submission for the Public Hearing here by this Friday.2. Sign up to speak at the Public Hearing on May 24th by this Friday.