SMITH CREEK WILDLIFE CORRIDOR PROPOSAL
About The Smith Creek Wildlife Corridor Submission Process
Why is a Wildlife Corridor required for Smith Creek and what is TSMV’s (Three Sisters Mountain Village) role in relation to the proposed corridor?
The history of the corridor network in the Bow Valley dates back to 1992 when the NRCB approved residential development, supporting local and tourist oriented development. The approval for any development was balanced with conditions designed to protect wildlife. A condition of approval for the NRCB decision states: “Three Sisters shall incorporate into its detailed design, provision for wildlife movement corridors in as undeveloped a state as possible, and prepare a wildlife aversive conditioning plan, both satisfactory to Alberta Forestry, Lands and Wildlife” Consequently, TSMV is responsible for proposing wildlife corridors to the Province of Alberta prior to development, and the Province has the authority to make a decision about the proposed corridor. The Smith Creek wildlife corridor proposed by TSMV is a component of a series of already approved corridors within the Bow Valley. Specifically, it completes the connection between the approved Along Valley and Across Valley Corridors and the Wind Valley Habitat Patch and Bow Flats Habitat Patch (via the G8 underpass). In other words, the completion of the regional wildlife corridor network in the Bow Valley.
The NRCB decision (1992) requires the following corridor attributes, and these are the only criteria identified by the NRCB for application to wildlife corridors associated with TSMV:
- Corridor designation should occur at a regional scale and there must be linkages between corridors on private and provincial lands;
- Primary wildlife corridors should not be narrower than 350 meters, except under unusual circumstances;
- Width and location of corridors should be reviewed with all wildlife species expected to use them in mind;
- Roads, pathways and utility lines should be bundled to minimize corridor fragmentation;
- Corridors should correspond with known movement routes of wildlife; and
- Wildlife corridors should be legally designated by the Province of Alberta.
TSMV considered all of these criteria when developing the Smith Creek Along Valley corridor proposal, and also considered feedback from stakeholders. The Smith Creek corridor proposal has been submitted by TSMV to the Province for consideration. The Smith Creek corridor proposal has been submitted by TSMV to the Province for consideration. The Smith Creek Area Structure Plan (ASP) process is separate from the corridor application and the ASP will define what types of development may occur on TSMV lands not designated as wildlife corridor.
What is the process for the Province to review the proposed Smith Creek Wildlife Corridor and what is my role as a community member with vested interest?
Wildlife Corridors fall within the Province of Alberta’s sole jurisdiction whereas development, such as TSMV, generally falls within the jurisdiction of the Town of Canmore. The Province thus dictates the process through which the Smith Creek Along Valley and the optional realignment of the Stewart Creek Across Valley corridor will be evaluated. The Smith Creek corridor proposal included input from a community advisory group, the Province of Alberta, Canmore stakeholders and several experienced biologists and other specialists, while taking into account physical or topological constraints and the requirements of the 1992 NRCB decision. Specifically:
- The community in Canmore was engaged to provide input into the design of the Smith Creek ASP, including helping to define the wildlife corridor boundaries.
- QuantumPlace Developments (QPD) worked with stakeholders to develop a wildlife corridor design that balances wildlife needs with other factors including:
- The needs of the community;
- The planning and servicing requirements of the Town;
- The needs of wildlife for movement as per the NRCB decision; and
- The requirement to have an economically feasible development in TSMV.
- After taking feedback into consideration, the final width, length and position of the corridor was determined by TSMV in consultation with Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), the Town of Canmore, and other specialists and biologists.
Approval of the Smith Creek wildlife corridor would satisfy TSMV’s obligations with respect to wildlife corridors under the 1992 NRCB decision.
The Province is leading the Smith Creek proposal evaluation and has asked QPD to host an Open House on March 16, where the public can provide feedback and obtain information about the corridor. Members of the community who are have questions about maintaining connectivity for wildlife in the Bow Valley are encouraged to attend to learn more about the technical and scientific details relating to the corridor being evaluated by the Province. In the interim, you may refer to the documents below for more information:
Once feedback is collected the Province will then make a final decision on the approval of the corridor. Feedback on the proposed corridor will be collected until April 20, 2017. The Province will be making a decision after the feedback period closes. You may submit your comments in writing to the Province by email or postal mail. Visit their website for more information.
Environmental Impact Statements for Resort Centre ASP Amendment and Smith Creek ASP
Please note that in addition to the wildlife corridor report, both the Resort Centre and Smith Creek have had Environmental Impact Statements completed. The Environmental Impact Statements for both areas will be released in tandem with the 3rd Party Review of the Environmental Impact Statement. We anticipate this will occur shortly before the end of March after Town of Canmore review. The Terms of Reference for the Environmental Impact Statement is available here.
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.