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Hold on development proposal good news for Bow Valley wildlife

Y2Y and Canmore residents welcome the prioritization of wildlife connectivity and community needs in the Bow Valley.

MEDIA RELEASE
APRIL 28, 2017 

Members of the community of Canmore and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) are responding to a series of announcements on Apr. 26 and 27 relating to the development of the Three Sisters Mountain Village (TSMV) in Alberta’s Bow Valley.

On Wednesday the Province of Alberta — responsible for approving a designated wildlife movement corridor through the TSMV property — announced it will take another four to eight weeks to review the developer's proposed corridor alignment.

On Thursday, the Town of Canmore notified the public through their website that TSMV and its partner Quantum Place Development have requested its application for an Area Structure Plan (ASP) for the Smith Creek portion of their development, including a proposed 1,7000 unit area, be put on holdTSMV has requested Canmore town council not proceed to first reading at this time pending the province's decision.   

Also on Apr. 27, Fiera Biological Consulting Ltd., hired by the Town of Canmore to provide a third-party review for the Resort Centre portion of the TSMV development, issued a critical report citing inadequacies in the environmental impact statement for the proposed development.

The report found TSMV’s “approach to be incomplete and not strongly linked to an assessment of how different development scenarios might impact existing conditions for wildlife movement.”

Furthermore, the report stressed that “wildlife movement be considered as the fundamental component of cumulative effects in evaluating the direct and indirect impacts of the proposed project.”

“Taken together, the hold on the Smith Creek ASP, the delay in a decision on the wildlife corridor, and the critical report by the third-party consulting firm, are good news for the future of the Bow Valley's wildlife movement corridor,” says Canmore resident Lisa Downing.

“Residents strongly support the protection of wildlife and the space they need to travel through the Bow Valley between Banff National Park and Kananaksis Country. The development, as proposed, does not meet the needs of the community and wildlife and we're pleased to see it put on hold,” she says.

“The Bow Valley is a critical link in the Yellowstone to Yukon region,” says Jodi Hilty, president and chief scientist of Y2Y. “This is one of the few low elevation east-west valleys in the 3,200 kilometre chain of mountains that stretch from the Arctic Circle to the Yellowstone region where wildlife can both live and move between key protected areas year-round.”

“Our organization is not opposed to development on the TSMV lands,” adds Stephen Legault, program director for Y2Y. “We support development that puts the needs of wildlife and the community first. The current Smith Creek development didn’t do that. It proposed too much growth on lands that wildlife need to maintain connectivity.

“We’re pleased to see this proposal put on hold. We look forward to working with the Town of Canmore and the Province of Alberta to ensure future proposals prioritize wildlife connectivity and meets community needs,” says Legault.

While the current Smith Creek ASP has been paused, the proposed amendments to the adjacent Resort Centre ASP are still being considered by the Town of Canmore.

NOTE: An earlier version of this press release stated the proposal was withdrawn. TSMV has requested Canmore town council not proceed to first reading at this time pending the province's decision.   

Background:

Details and information on the TSMV proposal can be found at canmorecommons.ca or y2y.net/threesisters.

For further comment please contact:

Stephen Legault, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative program director for Crown, Alberta and Northwest Territories, 403-688-2964 |

Lisa Downing, Canmore resident, 403-688-4494