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MDP & Land Use Bylaw Changes

In the past there have been many development applications for this site ranging from 39 to 100 residential dwelling units but none of them as environmentally sensitive as what is currently being proposed under this application. This application is less intrusive, more focused on a true balance between environmental stewardship and the built form and has the potential to act as a transition zone from the high density of Spring Creek Mountain Village to the natural areas beyond the Town of Canmore facilities.


Changes to the Land Use

Two actions are required to develop the modest, low impact project on the current site – Two Municipal Development Plan Amendments and a Land Use Bylaw Amendment resulting in three amendments..

The purpose of the MDP amendment application is to amend Map 1 (Growth  Boundary) and Map 2 (Conceptual Land Use) of the Town of Canmore Municipal  Development Plan (MDP) Bylaw 2016- 03 (MDP Amendment Application).


The purpose of the Land Use Bylaw (LUB) amendment application is to amend  the Town of Canmore Land Use Bylaw 2018-22 by adding a new Direct Control  District on the subject site

Current Uses

The property is currently in a natural state and there has been significant unauthorized use by people walking and biking through and around the site.  

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Spring Creek RV park, however, the RV park is currently being constructed into a high-density mixed use development – Spring Creek Mountain Village (SCMV). SCMV has approval for 800-1200 new residential dwellings, 200 hotel rooms and other neighbourhood uses.


Access road heading northwest from the Canmore Wastewater Treatment Facility. Millennium Park which is a premier outdoor venue for team sports consisting of an outdoor park with bleachers, a sports field, fenced ball diamond picnic tables and washrooms. 


A residential parcel with horse grazing that was developed in similar nature to this proposal. Transportation corridors including CP Rail, Bow Valley Trail, and the Trans Canada Highway 1 and a frequently used heliport.


Canmore Wasterwater Treatment Facility, Canmore Nordic Center Provincial Park, Access Roads, and a non-designated recreational trail network and the Waste Transfer Station and Materials Handling Facility, Canmore Ranch.

Municipal Development Plan Amendment Application

The property is located outside the Town of Canmore Urban Growth Boundary under the 2016 Municipal Development Plan (MDP). The purpose of the MDP amendment application is to amend Map 1 (Growth Boundary) of the Town of Canmore MDP Bylaw 2016-03 (MDP Amendment Application).

Amendment One to MDP Map #1

The Amendment requests the expansion of the Growth Boundary Map to encompass the entire site at 800-3rd Avenue Canmore.

Map 1: (Growth Boundary)

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As per section 2.1.5 of the MDP, the Urban Growth Boundary can be adjusted if the following reasons exist:

  • A community benefit is achieved.

  • A net positive fiscal or socio-economic impacts are achieved.

  • The proposed development can be connected to municipal infrastructure in a fiscally and environmentally responsible manner.

  • The proposed development does not result in unacceptable environmental impacts.  

The Proposed Concept meets all four of the requirements for an adjustment of the Growth Boundary. The Proposed Concept: 

  • Provides for a donation of serviced land to build a much needed palliative care hospice in the Bow Valley filling a significant gap in the community for end-of-life care. The provision of the Hospice is an exceptional community benefit.

  • Provides provision accessory dwelling units based on a 1:1 ratio and contributes modestly to the housing shortages in Canmore.

  • Achieves a very high positive score on the Town’s own Sustainability Screening Report or SSR – a score of +240 has been achieved.

  • Connects to municipal infrastructure in a responsible way at the owner’s cost. 

  • An extraordinary sensitivity of design for wildlife and an above average wildlife focus on private land.

  • Ensures a low to negligible affects on the environment and in fact, results in a net positive benefit after offsetting. 

  • Protects 89 percent of the land as open, natural space including an Environmental Reserve Easement for the swampy shrub ecosystem

Exceptional Community Benefit
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The Palliative Care Society of Bow Valley’s vision is to construct a hospice for the purpose of providing and supporting ‘full-spectrum’ palliative and end-of-life care for  the community of Canmore and the surrounding local Bow Valley communities. Services and programs from the  time of diagnosis through to grief and bereavement support for the family and caregivers after the death of the patient will be incorporated. The Hospice will also include day hospice programs such as music therapy and physical therapy. Administrative offices for the PCSBV, staff and volunteer spaces will also be included within the building.

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The Hospice concept will be grounded in the principles that embody a caring, compassionate, and connected community. It will provide space for gathering and engagement for people facing terminal illness with their family and friends. It will provide mutual support and palliative care day programming and respite care for families. The Hospice will ultimately strengthen the community by providing local, equitable access to all Bow Valley residents requiring hospice care who would otherwise need to leave the Bow Valley for care in other urban locations.

Table 3: Requirements to Move the Growth Boundary

Requirements to Be Fulfilled to Expand the Growth Boundary

Benefits of the Concept Plan

Community Benefit is achieved

With the donation of the land, the Palliative Care Hospice will:

  • be grounded in the principles that embody a caring, compassionate, and connected community

  • provide space for community gathering and engagement for people facing terminal illness with their family and friends for mutual support and palliative care day programming and respite care provided to them by staff and volunteers of the key PCBSV

  • strengthen the community by providing local equitable access to all Bow Valley residents.

A net positive fiscal or socioeconomic impacts are achieved.

Applicants should strive to have a positive SSR score. 

  • Most developments score in the 0.1-5.0 range however, the score for this project is +240 indicating that there is significant community benefit. 

A net positive fiscal or socioeconomic impacts are achieved

  • 21 full time employees with median salary ranges above the traditional rates paid in the hospitality and retail sector. 

  • The programs associated with the provision of end-of-life care will retain a population and create permanent employment in sectors other than tourism and construction. 

  • Employees will be well educated professionals who will significantly add to the diversity of the community

  • Over the construction phase of 24 to 30 months there will be 50 to 60 full time jobs which will be contracted positions with local contractors. 

  • The estimated economic impact is $4 million annually.

The Proposed Concept can be connected to a municipal infrastructure in a fiscally and environmentally responsible manner.

  • Is contiguous to existing development and in proximity to the town center. 

  • The engineering technical study confirms that municipal infrastructure can be connected in a fiscally and environmentally responsible manner to this site. 

  • Land owners will pay for all utility infrastructure required to connect to existing utilities at no cost to the town of Canmore. 

  • Access to public transportation nearby 

  • Location and design of the hospice will serve to align will serve well to align with the town of Canmore's climate change initiatives.

The Proposed Concept does not result in unacceptable environmental impacts. 

  • Environmental Impact Study (EIS) and the independent third-party reviewer hired by town of Canmore indicated that the proposed development does not result in unacceptable environmental impacts to land or wildlife. 

  • The EIS finds that “the proposed development will have a low potential effect on the wildlife and wildlife habitat. The potential effects of proposed development are predictable and mitigative. Measures are expected to avoid or reduce those effects”

Has This Requirement Been Met?


The Concept Plan is an exceptional community minded and environmentally focused proposal. The Palliative Care Facility will provide places of gathering and respite and a base from which the PCSBV can offer extraordinary services to those in need of end-of-life assistance. The landowners are offering to offset residual impacts and to provide an uncommon amount of undisturbed land. The landowners will seek to keep 89% of the landmass in a  natural condition with only 11% comprising structures and roads, a percentage that includes the Palliative Care Facility structure.

Amendment Two to MDP Map #2

The application also requests a change from Conservation to Neighbourhood Residential on Map 2 (Conceptual Land Use) from ‘Conservation’ to ‘Neighbourhood Residential’.

The property is currently taxed as “Residential” for  property tax purpose.

Map 2: Conceptual Land Use

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Map #2: Conceptual Land Use Plan

Policy Framework


The MDP sets the Town’s overall policy direction for  community land use decisions and addresses  environment, economic, social, cultural and  governance affairs. A review of the MDP policies was  conducted to identify policies relevant to the  Amendment Applications.

The Proposed Concept Plan meets the following MDP policy sections:


1.4.1; 1.4.2; 1.4.3; 1,4.4; 2.1.1; 2.1.5; 2.1.6; 2.2; 2.3.4; 2.3.5; 4.1; 4.1.2; 4.1.4; 4.2; 4.2.1; 4.2.2; 4.2.3; 4.2.11; 4.2.12; 4.2.13; 4.2.16; 4.2.17; 4.3.3; 5.3.7; 6.1.7; 9.1; 9.1.1; 14.3; 15.1.611.4.1 11.4.5 11.4.2; and

For full details on how these policies are met click here

Proposed Land Use Bylaw Amendment Application

A New Direct Control District

The purpose of the Land Use Bylaw (LUB) amendment application is to amend the town of Canmore Land Use Bylaw 2018-22 by adding a new Direct Control District on the site. As the site has unique characteristics, a more detailed consideration for the design and use of the development requires a  Land Use Bylaw Amendment Application.

The site is currently designated as Future Development District (FD). The purpose of the FD is to designate land that is potentially suited for future urban uses including subdivision and development. Permitted use includes a public utility with discretionary uses such as agriculture, athletic and recreational facilities, outdoor campground, public building, and accessory building. Permitted uses such as Wildlife Habitat Patch and Wildlife Corridor are not with the FD, as they are permitted in other districts such as NP Natural Park District and CW Conservation of Wildlands District.

Land Use Bylaw Districts


It should be noted that the entire SCLHP area is designated as Conservation of Wildlands District (CW) except for the 800 – 3rd Avenue site and a portion of the neighbouring lands which are designated as Future Development District (FD) land.


An amendment to the LUB will facilitate a future application to allow development of a maximum of six homes and a palliative care hospice facility on the site. One single family home is for the landowners own use. Eighty-nine (89%) percent of the land mass will be kept in a natural state with only 11% being roads and structures.  The following Districts will be captured in the Direct Control District:

District A:

 Palliative Care Facility

to provide for a care facility and provide for compatible and complimentary uses.

Districts B and C:


to provide for development of low-density Residential Detached Dwellings with provision for Accessory Dwelling Units and other compatible residential neighbourhood uses.

District D:

Residential and Agricultural

 to provide one Residential Detached Dwelling unit with the provision for one Accessory Dwelling Unit and other compatible residential uses and to provide for agricultural pursuits consistent with single-family use and other compatible agricultural uses.

Land Use Bylaw Map

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The four subdistricts will be subject to these regulations:

The minimum setback for buildings backing onto Spring Creek or Policeman Creek shall be 20.0m, measured  from the high-water mark of the stream as determined by a Qualified Professional.

All developments shall conform to Section 2, General Regulations and Section 11, Community Architectural and  Urban Design Standards unless otherwise stated in this DC District.

Developments in this District shall conform to the regulations and use prohibitions described in Section 7.2 Valley Bottom Flood Hazard Overlay of this bylaw.

Sustainability Screening Report (SSR) is required by the Town as part of the Development Permit application  process for developments with a GFA of 500m2 or more in accordance with Section 1, Administration, and the  Town of Canmore Sustainability Screening Process.

Developments in this District shall conform to the regulations and use prohibitions described in Section 7.3  High Groundwater Area Overlay of this bylaw.

All construction shall be proceeded by a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) that is based  on information provided in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). At a minimum, the CEMP shall include  the construction management mitigation measures (including an erosion and sediment control plan, spill  response plan, and wildlife management plan) as described in the EIS for the site. Specifically, the CEMP should  include the recommended mitigation measures presented in the EIS.

The entire Proposed Concept was directly shaped by the outcomes and findings of the Environmental Impact Statement. The orientation of the buildings will be wildlife friendly to avoid or reduce any potential human-wildlife conflict.  Accessory dwellings will be allowed to a maximum of 6 or 1:1 ratio. This is a net benefit to the community and will increase the already limited housing stock in Canmore. Finally, it should be noted that Tourist Home is specifically excluded as a Permitted or Discretionary use in the proposed Direct Control District to ensure the housing is available for residents.

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