Resort Centre Area Structure Plan (ASP) Amendments


  • The Resort Centre ASP Area is located in the Town of Canmore on the westerly portion of the Three Sisters Mountain Village (TSMV).
  • The Resort Centre ASP provides a framework to guide future development in the area. While there is no specific development timeline identified within the ASP, the proposed development of Resort Centre is proposed to take place over the next 10-15 years.
  • The Resort Centre ASP area is envisioned as being the heart of the Three Sisters Mountain Village area, and a model of a health, wellness, fitness, and nature-based resort within the Canadian Rockies.


ASP Historical Overview

2004: The original Resort Centre ASP was approved by Town of Canmore Council in 2004. The 2004 ASP envisioned a golf course as a central component of the plan.

2004 – 2006: Between 2004 and 2006, land use approvals were granted by Canmore Council to several sites in the Resort Centre ASP Area including the golf course. Construction of the golf course began in 2006.

2008: In 2008, only fifteen of eighteen holes were completed when previous owners of the land declared bankruptcy and the land was placed in receivership. Efforts to complete the golf course were halted in 2011.

2013: The current owners of TSMV (Three Sisters Properties Ltd or TSMVLP), purchased the land out of receivership in 2013 and explored options to complete the golf course. It was determined that completion was not a realistic or viable option because:

  • The decline in demand for golf play locally and nationally;
  • The saturated golf course market in the Bow Valley and Kananaskis area (more than 144 holes in the region available for play);
  • The high costs associated with completing the unfinished golf course; and
  • The poor logistical, physical and operational feasibility to integrate the incomplete Three Sisters Creek course with the existing Stewart Creek course.

2015: During the early phases of community engagement for the Smith Creek ASP, members of the Canmore community asked TSMV to clarify the future of the incomplete golf course and to highlight the connection between the Smith Creek and Resort Centre opportunities.

2016: In January 2016, TSMVPL began work to amend the Resort Centre ASP to accommodate alternative forms of development on the land currently identified as golf course.

Get Involved

What is the approval process and how can I get involved?

First reading of the proposed ASP has been tentatively scheduled for the evening of May 2, 2017. The meeting is open to the public to attend, but no public input can be provided. Passing first reading by Council does not imply support for the application, but moves the application into the public realm for input.

Following first reading a public hearing will be scheduled, you can give your input at this time in the following ways:

  • Submit a written submission.
  • Speak at the public hearing.

The public hearing date and time, and details on how to provide your input will be advertised in the Rocky Mountain Outlook, this page and on the Town of Canmore’s website prior to the public hearing date.

After the public hearing, Council will consider the input it has received and may require changes before considering giving second and third readings of the bylaw.

There is no opportunity for further public input at second or third reading.

Collaborative Process and Engagement

In 2015, QuantumPlace Developments Ltd. (QPD), on behalf of TSMVPL embarked on a collaborative process for the Smith Creek area with the Town of Canmore. While the Resort Centre ASP was not included in the collaborative process, during initial public engagement, the community expressed a desire for TSMVPL to address the uncertainty associated with the unfinished golf course and to articulate the connection between the two properties.

Between January 2016 and October 2016, there were a number of additional engagement activities directed at the wider Canmore community including:

  • Five meetings with a Resort Centre community advisory sub-group; a group of community members representing varying interests in the Canmore community. The Resort Centre community group was a sub-group to the community advisory group formed for the proposed Smith Creek Area Structure Plan process.
  • Eight small group community conversations with representatives from stakeholder groups comprised of residents, and those focused on environment, recreation, and community services.
  • Two interactive online community conversations, where members of the public could watch the presentation live and ask questions via instant messaging
  • Two public information sessions for both the Smith Creek ASP and Resort Centre ASP amendments.

Scope of ASP Amendments

Proposed amendments to the approved 2004 Resort Centre ASP include the following:

  • Amending the current intent and purpose of the unfinished golf course lands to allow for alternate uses including resort accommodation, some permanent residences and recreation.
  • Removing references to the “golf course” throughout the ASP.
  • Updating maps to reflect the new proposed uses which may accommodate seniors, and affordable housing for the former golf course lands.
  • Updating unit densities to reflect additional development area, while not exceeding NRCB maximums on the overall project.
  • Updating environmental studies to update wildlife considerations based on the most up-to-date wildlife science.

Land Use Concept

An ASP defines a conceptual layout for land uses. This means that at the ASP stage we know roughly what types of land uses will generally go in a given area. The exact location of parcels and the specific types of uses are defined at future stages of development. For example in Resort Centre, TSMVPL is proposing to locate the retail village in the Resort Core Area in the central-northern portion of the development. The exact uses within these areas (i.e. restaurants, retail, medical clinic etc.) will be determined at the land use stage.

Resort Core and Resort Expansion

  • The Resort Core is envisioned as the focal point of the entire Three Sisters Mountain Village area with uses including hotels, short-term stay units, health spas, clinics, accommodations, meeting or event facilities, retail spaces and restaurants.
  • The Resort Core will be pedestrian-oriented, with a highly walkable retail village as well as strong connections to amenities throughout the Resort Centre, Canmore and the wider Bow Valley.

Resort Accommodations and Permanent Residential

  • The Resort Centre ASP provides for a variety of other resort accommodations in the area. Resort accommodations include timeshares, boutique hotels, and private chalets, to offer a mix of sizes and price ranges that appeal to a diverse audience.
  • The proposed amendments also provide for a small amount of permanent residential to maintain viability of the Resort year-round.
  • The different policy areas within the ASP boundary provide for varying levels of low, medium, and higher density building forms. For more information see Unit Density below.

Signature Hotel, Spa and Conference Facilities

  • The Resort Centre ASP provides for a premiere hotel and spa, offering conference and events spaces, and Scandinave™-inspired hot and cold pools, steam rooms, saunas, as well as massages, acupuncture, and other consultations and therapies.



  • The Resort Centre is envisioned as being a basecamp for all of the recreational offerings both in TSMV and the broader Bow Valley. As such, the recreation concept outlined as part of the ASP amendments is a key component of TSMVPL’s proposal.
  • The proposed Resort Centre ASP amendments provide for an interconnected network of public and private recreation spaces and services appealing to a wide variety of people.
  • Recreational uses include multi-user and mountain bike trails, sports fields, events spaces, and off-leash dog parks. New trail connections will connect TSMV with the Town’s Main Street and within the Resort Centre, Stewart Creek, Smith Creek, and the regional trail network beyond.

Unit Density

  • The proposed Resort Centre ASP provides for varying levels of high, medium and low density development. The highest density areas continue to be focused in the Resort Core and transition to lower densities and recreational uses as the development approaches the wildlife corridors.
  • The original Resort Centre ASP provided for a range of 1,330 to 2,525 units, while the proposed amendments provide for between 1,600 and 3,000 units or an increase of approximately 20%. The increase in units is primarily related to the increase in developable area in lieu of a golf course.
  • Based on current household trends in Canmore, the Resort Centre is proposed to accommodate a population of approximately 3,800 and 7,200 visitor and residents.

Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing
  • Due to high housing costs, Canmore has one of the highest costs of living in Alberta (Canmore Community Monitoring Report, 2014)
  • While the Town of Canmore is working to address affordable housing, TSMVPL is committed to contributing to these initiatives. The Resort Centre ASP amendments recognize that an estimated employee generation analysis will be required for all commercial development proposals in the area. The ASP amendments provide for a range of employee housing units, which may be provided in Stewart Creek or Smith Creek, within “reasonable” distance.
  • Additionally, the ASP amendments require that 25% of the residential units in Resort Centre are built as either Entry-Level Housing units or provide an accessory suite. Methods to make units entry-level include the following:
    • Modest amenities, exterior finishing, and interior design;
    • Shared facilities such as laundry, indoor work spaces, and parking to maximize space in an efficient manner;
    • Standardized unit constructions; and
    • Low maintenance landscaping.

Wildlife Mitigation Strategy

  • Given the proximity to the wildlife corridor and the importance of wildlife in the Bow Valley, coexisting with wildlife is a key objective of the Resort Centre ASP amendments. The proposed ASP outlines a comprehensive wildlife mitigation strategy that includes a series of initiatives that work together to ensure that development and the humans within Smith Creek coexist with wildlife.
  • Mitigation initiatives include:
    • A wildlife fence to encircle the developed areas and prevent wildlife from wandering into developed areas, which can result in negative human-wildlife interactions, as well as to limit humans from recreating in wildlife corridors;
    • Attractant management;
    • Efforts to minimize sensory disturbance in developed areas adjacent to the wildlife corridors (for example, downward casting exterior lights in rear yards);
    • Providing a variety of designated trails and off-leash dog areas in developed areas as an alternative to recreating in the wildlife corridor;
    • Gates to allow quick access to designated trails across, and above the wildlife corridor minimizing disturbance in the corridor;
    • Education and signage.
  • The wildlife fence will surround the Resort Centre Plan Area and will be phased in prior to development. As build out progresses, the fence will be monitored to support adaptive management strategies.


Historical Background

For more than a century, Canmore was one of the largest coal mining towns in Southern Alberta. At least ten mines operated in the immediate town area. The final mine closed in the late 1970s. The mining legacy serves as the foundation of the current community, but also left areas of undermined/unterutilized land. It may be perceived that undermining is an obstacle to development, but with careful engineering, technology advancements and study during development, these lands can now have new use for future generations.

In comparison to Smith Creek, undermining in the Resort Centre ASP area is more extensive; however, updated borehole data has indicated that the unfinished golf course lands show far fewer areas of concern than were identified in 2003/2004 when the land was previously assessed. There are significantly fewer areas of vertical mine workings than previously thought, and the undermining impact is similar to areas that have already been developed in the Three Sisters Ridge and Stewart Creek areas.

Undermining Mitigation and Liability

There are several mitigation techniques that can be applied to undermined land; prior to development, all undermined land must be assessed to determine the appropriate mitigation.

These mitigations may include, but are not limited to, the use of a geosynthetic net, slurry or paste fill, floating slab foundations, concrete caps, and avoidance.

The Municipal Government Act requires that ASPs conform with the Act, all enabling legislation (which includes the Undermining Regulation), and higher level policies like the Town of Canmore Municipal Development Plan. As a result, any ASP approved by the Town cannot contain policies that do not align with such legislation and the ASP amendment proposed to the Town cannot suggest policy that would bring it out of alignment with the Act or any regulations enacted under it.

Under the Undermining regulations, the Province grants indemnity to third parties and private land owners provided that mitigation strategies have been implemented in accordance with the undermining report registered on title for the property. Furthermore, as per Alberta Regulation 113/97, the Town of Canmore is not liable for any loss or damage relating to undermining on the land designated in Alberta Regulation 114/97.

Section 3.7 of the Town of Canmore MDP states that “development on undermined lands within the Three Sisters Resorts NRCB decision area … is covered by the Canmore Undermining Review Regulation 114/1997” (2016, p. 18). The existing and the proposed Resort Centre ASP amendments are consistent with the NRCB, the MDP and Alberta Regulation 114/97 enacted under the Municipal Government Act (MGA) by stating that “any area that is proposed for development that is affected by undermining will be mitigated in accordance with Provincial Regulations.”

Three regulations were enacted by the Province in 1998 relating to undermining, and are summarized as follows:

Let’s Talk…

Community dialogue about TSMV is important and we encourage you to get involved in the conversation. If you have a question or concern not addressed here, please contact us directly and we would be happy to provide you with the information we have.

Contact Us

More Information

Visit the Smith Creek Planning website for additional resources.

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