Keeping Canmore's Wildlife Moving
A Wildlife Corridor with Continental Consequences
Y2Y and a coalition of conservation groups, local businesses and concerned citizens are engaged in an important effort to keep wildlife moving around the Town of Canmore. At issue is a recent development proposal that would see housing for another 10,000+ people.
Room to Roam
The Town of Canmore is situated in one of the most important wildlife corridors in Alberta, a rare, low-elevation connection between protected habitats in Kananaskis Country and Banff National Park. Ensuring wildlife can move between these core habitats is at the heart of the Y2Y vision.
With 12,300 permanent and 6,000 part-time residents, the town already occupies much of the Bow Valley. Layer two highways, a railroad and numerous golf courses on top of that and you begin to see how busy this critical connection in the Y2Y system really is.
Homes for Another 10,000+ People
Twenty years ago, permission was granted to develop Three Sisters Mountain Village, a resort on the south side of the valley. The approval was granted on the condition that wildlife corridors be defined and left ‘in as undeveloped a state as possible’.
Since then the project has changed hands many times while being partially developed. It is now under receivership with approval to build houses for another 10,000+ people.
The Receiver, PricewaterhouseCoopers, is looking to define the last piece of the wildlife corridor so it can quickly sell what’s left.
In an effort to maximize the asking price, PricewaterhouseCoopers has proposed something much narrower and steeper than the 600m widths that were agreed to for wildlife corridors elsewhere on the property. They are also going back on an earlier agreement to buffer the corridor with open space (a golf course), and are now proposing houses right up to the corridor’s edge.
“A lot of people are upset,” says Y2Y President Karsten
Heuer. “This is the last piece of a wildlife corridor this community has been working on for 20 years. This proposal puts it all at risk.”
Literally, just as we were about to hit the send button to publish this May Newsletter, the Town of Canmore postponed its Public Hearing originally scheduled for May 15th, 2013. The change in events comes at the request of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
In the meantime, watch this video and learn more about the issue.