Development Application Process

Now that the Alberta Court of Appeal has dismissed the Town of Canmore’s appeals, what are the next steps?

Following the October 3, 2023, Alberta Court of Appeal decision, the Town of Canmore adopted TSMV’s Area Structure Plans (ASPs) and the Municipal Development Plan for Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek in a Council Special Meeting on October 24, 2023. More information from this October 24 Special Council Meeting can be found here.

TSMV has since submitted its pre-application to the Town for the Conceptual Scheme (CS) and Land Use (LU) for Phase 1 of Three Sisters Village and anticipates formal submission before the end of this year.

Community Engagement
What will community engagement look like for these two development projects?

Community engagement will be specific to each of the Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek CS and LU applications.

More information about community engagement opportunities will be available on our website once details are confirmed.

Timing and Developments
When will construction begin on Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek?

Once Phase 1 of the Conceptual Scheme (CS) and Land Use (LU) applications are approved by the Town of Canmore, we will work with the Town on the subdivision and detailed design engineering. Construction would begin, at the earliest, in 2025 for Three Sisters Village, depending on timing and alignment with the construction season.

We anticipate approval of Phase 1 CS and LU applications for Three Sisters Village in Q1 of 2024.

We anticipate the CS and LU application process for Smith Creek Phase 1 to follow shortly after the Three Sisters Village’s Phase 1 application.

What’s in the conceptual scheme and land use application for Three Sisters Village?

Phase I of Three Sisters Village encompasses 72 acres, 30% of which will be reserved for public green space (the Municipal Government Act (MGA) only requires 10%) and include roughly 800 homes intended for those living in Canmore, in either Townhome, stacked townhome or apartment form. Tourist Homes are limited to only two land parcels within Phase 1. As part of Three Sisters’ commitment to affordable housing options, at least 80 of these units will be designated affordable housing (i.e., Canmore Community Housing Vital Homes or a similar program).

What is the plan for Smith Creek?

While the details are still being finalized, Phase I of Smith Creek will encompass roughly 53 acres and is intended to accommodate a variety of housing forms, with the majority allocated to low density (single-detached, semi-detached and townhome) housing forms. Some parcels located close to transit may accommodate stacked townhomes or apartments. Areas for open space will be set aside and will include community amenities such as playgrounds and a variety of trails and pathways.

Transportation and Mobility

What improvements will the new Three Sisters Parkway and Three Sisters Boulevard roundabout offer?
Turbo roundabouts are an improvement on the traditional traffic circle model historically seen in Alberta, as they include innovative features such as multiple lanes and designated entrances designed to guide drivers to the desired exit while reducing speeds. Additional features will include raised pedestrian crossings and separate walking and cycling facilities to improve traffic flow and public safety.
When will the turbo roundabout be completed?

General construction for the turbo roundabout began in the summer of 2023 with below groundwork, followed by the recent completion of the detour road. Work now continues to construct the actual roundabout and is anticipated to last until fall 2024, weather dependent.

Who is paying for the turbo roundabout?
As the developer, TSMV pays for the upfront infrastructure, construction costs, and initial warranty. Once construction is complete, the provincial government will assume the ownership and be responsible for the maintenance of the roundabout (e.g., snow clearing or repairs) and both Highway 742 access points. The Town of Canmore will take over ownership of the municipal road access points. Three Sisters Boulevard, Three Sisters Parkway (south), and Cascade Drive (the main road in the Gateway of Three Sisters, which is now under construction).
What other transportation upgrades will be included in Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek?
TSMV will increase the number of people walking, biking, and using public transit. Both the Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek Area Structure Plans (ASPs) identify a network of cycling connections and pedestrian corridors and routes that improve walkability and enhance the bikeable environment. They also outline a public transit route through each neighbourhood with frequent stops. Additional upgrades (e.g., traffic signals, intersections, roundabouts, pathways, etc.) will be incorporated as needed. Three Sisters Village aims to have 50% of all trips made be from walking, biking or transit, while Smith Creek aims to have 35% from sustainable transportation choices like transit, biking and walking.
What will be done to preserve existing mountain bike trails?

Growing the area’s mountain bike trail network is a priority. We want to ensure residents and visitors alike can enjoy the majestic wonder of Alberta’s backyard through new recreational opportunities. Residents and visitors will continue to be able to access provincially approved trails within the wildlife corridor through designated access points through the wildlife fence. While some existing trails, like Loki and Guy LaFleur, will not exist after construction, TSMV is committed to building new recreational trails (including mountain bike trails) and commuter pathways within the community. Once development of the area begins, we will continue to work with Canmore & Area Mountain Biking Association (CAMBA) to build great mountain bike trails in the area.

The provincial government is the decision maker on trails within the wildlife corridor: TSMV will work with the government, the Canmore Trail Alliance and CAMBA to ensure that trail planning and experience are balanced with the top priority — wildlife movement.

Will the trails/pathways/sidewalks provide opportunities for people in wheelchairs, walkers, etc.?
Connectivity for all users and abilities through a sustainable transportation network that consists of sidewalks, pathways, and trails is part of the Area Structure Plans (ASPs). Sidewalks and pathways will provide experiences and connections for users of all abilities to ensure they can comfortably and confidently explore Canmore’s beauty. However, not all pathways and trails will be wheelchair accessible, just like not all existing pathways and trails in Canmore are today.
Wildlife
What is TSMV doing to protect wildlife?

TSMV has provided for Alberta’s largest wildlife corridor system involving private lands in the Rocky Mountains and Alberta. We have set aside more than 60% of our land (1,500 acres) for wildlife corridors to facilitate the safe movement of wildlife, including elk, deer, cougars, wolves, and bears. The Smith Creek Wildlife Corridor designation was the final piece of a land system set aside for wildlife to travel between the Wind Valley and around the south side of Canmore to other prime habitat areas.

The provincial government approved TSMV’s amended application for this corridor on February 26, 2020. This application increased the width of the 2002 Along Valley Corridor in several areas, extended the corridor further north beyond the previous 1998 corridor approval, and ensured appropriate width around the Thunderstone Quarries area. The proposal included input from the community, the provincial government, Canmore stakeholders, and several experienced biologists and other specialists. The decision represents the largest addition to designated corridor lands since the consolidation of the Along Valley Corridor in 2002. For information, please click here.

Where will the wildlife fence be located?
The wildlife fence will be built along the perimeter of Three Sisters Village, through the Stewart Creek golf course, and along the perimeter of Smith Creek, connecting to the fence along the highway where possible. Access points to provincially designated trails will be facilitated through gated entry points. TSMV has incorporated a range of mitigative measures to ensure wildlife movement through the corridor system, including the wildlife fence, attractant management within the development footprint, monitoring and adaptive management, and education.
How will the TSMV work with the province to ensure wildlife continues to use the designated corridors?

TSMV Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) recommended a series of mitigations to be applied to the development including wildlife exclusion fencing, attractant management, providing for recreation options within the development footprint, and education. Given the uncertainty in only a few of the EIS predictions, it was also recommended that TSMV implement a monitoring and adaptive management program.

Provincially approved, the Monitoring and Adaptive Management Plan (MAMP) sets out a process for monitoring and identifies when and how adaptive management will be applied. The MAMP addresses specific uncertainty in predictions about:

1.     Future patterns of wildlife use of designated wildlife corridors and other habitats adjacent to Three Sisters Village (TSV) and Smith Creek (SC).

2.     Effectiveness of the wildlife fence to reduce potential for negative human wildlife interactions within the development footprint.

3.     Future patterns of human use within designated wildlife corridors.

4.     The number and type of human-wildlife interactions after TSV and SC have been developed.

Once the uncertainty of a prediction is eliminated, monitoring related to that particular prediction can stop. If monitoring determines that the mitigations are not functioning as predicted, then adaptive management will be applied based on an analysis of the data. Adaptive management actions within TSMV’s control will be implemented in collaboration with Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (EPA) and/or the Town of Canmore (where applicable).

How will human use be managed in the wildlife corridors?

TSMV will support the work of the provincial government, the Town of Canmore, and other groups to educate the public about appropriate human use within the wildlife corridor. In addition to protecting the corridor with a wildlife fence and only allowing humans to enter where provincially approved trails exist, TSMV is working with the province to transfer all wildlife corridor lands to the government to ensure they can easily enforce and maintain the wildlife corridor based upon the vision, goals and principles that were used to designate it and to ensure the corridor continues to support wildlife movement now and for millennia to come.

Recreational opportunities within the Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek communities will also help ease human use pressure on the corridors and provide an alternative to recreation within areas designed for wildlife movement. Recreational amenities, such as off-leash dog parks, mountain bike trails, and more, will give a positive alternative to inappropriate human use in the wildlife corridor.

Environment
What steps will Three Sisters Mountain Village take to reduce emissions?

Our Area Structure Plans (ASPs) assist with the Town of Canmore’s commitment to reduce emissions by 80% below 2015 levels by 2050. In Canmore, about 60% of emissions are from vehicles and 30% are from existing buildings. Assisting Canmore to get to this GHG target will not occur without a commitment to retrofitting existing buildings in Canmore and changing how we get around within the community.

Builders in TSMV are already market leaders with initiatives like BuiltGreen. Through Density Bonusing and using a unit cap system, TSMV will incentivize building beyond the Alberta Building Code and get to net zero faster. The proposed bonusing scheme allows developers to receive bonus units based on a variety of factors, including the provision of electric vehicle chargers, net zero incentives, and sustainable energy generation.

Further to that, TSMV will also use land use, community design, and a pedestrianized village to shift visitors to more sustainable modes of travel once they arrive. Three Sisters Village is targeting to shift 50% of their travel to sustainable modes of walking, biking, and transit. The intent is to get people out of their vehicles if they’ve driven to visit Canmore for the day, then walk and bike within Three Sisters Village while prioritizing biking and transit to travel from Three Sisters Village to other areas of Canmore, such as downtown.

In Smith Creek, the goal is to shift 35% of the trips made to sustainable modes of travel. A dedicated bike lane along the parkway connecting to other recreational trails in and around the neighbourhood presents an opportunity to be integrated within the transit system of Canmore as it continues to grow. A commercial and industrial area within Smith Creek allows those who live within the community to access local services and the potential to live near where they work.

There is already tremendous pressure on existing community parks like Quarry Lake. What will TSMV do to create similar amenities so the development does not add to this pressure?

As outlined in the Area Structure Plans (ASPs), TSMV plans to incorporate new municipal parks, open spaces, and recreation opportunities in the new neighbourhoods of Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek. The proposed park facilities (playgrounds, pump tracks, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and pickleball or tennis courts) within those areas will be discussed with the Town of Canmore during the land use and subdivision applications. Community input and feedback will also be sought. The municipality uses its own Recreation Needs Assessment to guide its decisions on what facilities should be located within new parks. The document can be found here. In the Three Sisters Village ASP plan area, 40% of the land area will be designated open space. In the Smith Creek ASP plan area, it is anticipated that over 15% will be designated open space.

Will the new developments be built to conform to FireSmart guidelines?

Yes, new developments will be built to align with FireSmart guidelines and the Canmore Land Use Bylaw. TSMV has worked collaboratively with the Town of Canmore and the provincial government for many years to mitigate wildfire risk. A wildlife fire risk assessment was completed for both Area Structure Plans (ASPs), and further work may be required when subdivision and development permit applications are submitted. The Town has a Wildfire Mitigation Strategy being used today for all developments in Canmore that can be found here.

Affordability
How will the new communities help address Canmore’s housing affordability crisis?

Far too many people working and raising their families in Canmore can’t afford to live here. People deserve a place to call home. TSMV is committed to being part of the solution as we believe in building community. That’s why a minimum of 10% of our multi-residential units will be affordable housing and can take the form of Perpetually Affordable Housing (PAH) Vital Homes or housing operated by another non-profit. This means these units will always be reserved for affordable housing, whether they are owned or rented.

Beyond that, TSMV is committed to building rental units and a minimum of 350 employee housing beds within Three Sisters Mountain Village. In addition, all single- and semi-detached units in Smith Creek will be required to be “suite ready,” allowing homeowners to easily build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) compliant with the Alberta Building Code. We’ve also enabled ADUs in townhomes in both Smith Creek and Three Sisters Village. More housing options will mean lower prices for prospective buyers and renters.

Where will the affordable housing be located?

Both Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek will offer rental and ownership options. In both communities, 10% of multi-residential housing will be affordable.

How does TSMV define “affordable”?

Affordable housing refers to both equity and housing limits that, through a variety of restrictions (e.g., restrictive covenant, option to purchase, a land lease, or other means), are removed from the influence of the open real estate market. These units are not offered at market rates when ownership or tenancy changes but remain at levels lower than the market would dictate.

Taxes and Costs
What impact will Three Sisters Mountain Village have on taxes?
TSMV will improve Canmore’s municipal fiscal sustainability by shifting the commercial tax base from 18% to 28% of the community’s total assessment value. This will enable the opportunity for the municipal government to decrease residential tax rates at the current rate of spending.
Who will pay for the wildlife fence?
TSMV will pay for the installation of the wildlife fence, while the provincial government will be responsible for its maintenance.  
Who pays for the ongoing wildlife monitoring?
Under our Monitoring and Adaptive Management Plan, TSMV will pay for wildlife monitoring related to its development. Further to our work, the provincial government and others may choose to monitor wildlife using their own resources. All data collected will be shared with the province and will be available to researchers and others through a request to the provincial government.
Economic Impact
What will the immediate economic impact of the two developments be?
The economic impact will be considerable. Three Sisters Village will likely inject more than $300 million into the Alberta economy and employ over 500 people for several years during construction. Smith Creek will inject over $200 million into the economy and employ over 400 people.
What amenities and business opportunities will Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek include?

Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek will offer a mix of commercial opportunities to complement Canmore’s downtown. They will support the outdoor lifestyle brand of TSMV and include amenities like food and grocery, general merchandise, hospitality, and more. The addition of non-residential land will allow new businesses to open and grow in the community.

Three Sisters Village will include:

  • up to 220,000 square feet of office and light manufacturing;
  • lands for up to 188,000 square feet of indoor recreation and entertainment; and
  • up to 380,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, spa, and health amenities.

Additionally, Smith Creek will include:

  • up to 74,000 square feet of light industrial and business space;
  • up to 125,000 square feet of central retail and commercial area for local services; and
  • a grocery store is already planned for the commercial lands by Three Sisters Boulevard and Three Sisters Parkway.
Will there be an opportunity for artist studios/creation spaces?

Yes, the Area Structure Plans (ASPs) identify opportunities for third parties to develop such spaces on commercial streets and within the proposed Innovation District in the Three Sisters Village. Creating an Innovation District can provide flexible spaces for residents to explore creative new ways to generate community wealth that may not be envisioned today within Canmore’s land-use bylaw or other places within the community. This is the opportunity to innovate locally in Canmore.

What is the overall project timeline for Gateway?

The project is a multi-year endeavour, and we anticipate finishing infrastructure-related components at the end of next year’s construction season (i.e., October/November 2024). Building construction will likely continue into 2025 and 2026, depending on the speed of municipal development approvals. We can appreciate any frustration you may have with the earthworks and ongoing construction in the area. To limit impacts to residents and visitors, we continue to implement erosion and sediment control on-site, including dust abatement methods. Gateway has had the same delays and timeline processing struggles with the Town that many other Canmore builders and developers have, and so construction has been prolonged as a result.

To learn more about The Gateway, click here.

Can you share any information about future tenants at Gateway?

We hope to be updating the public on tenants very soon. Tenants often only want their information released once they are ready to announce it themselves. As such, we are bound to keep quiet until they permit us to make an announcement. We hope to do this later this year or early in 2024. But we can let you know that we are in conversation with a grocer, several restaurants and retail services. The Gateway at Three Sisters development will be street-orientated, and many of its buildings will be multiple storeys. At grade, we will be accommodating retail stores and restaurants, and those buildings that are planned to have a second or a third storey will accommodate employee housing or office uses above. TSMV will provide more updates when they are available.

To learn more about leasing opportunities at The Gateway, click here.

Other
How many people will the Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek neighbourhoods add to Canmore’s population?
The absolute maximum addition to Canmore’s population will be approximately 14,500 people. That, however, will only happen if the maximum number of units are built (including all bonusing units) and every unit – including hotel rooms, tourist homes, and other visitor accommodations – is at 100% occupancy. The real number, therefore, will be lower.
Will there be an opportunity to build a new school to accommodate new residents?

Yes, TSMV will set aside lands within Smith Creek that can accommodate a future kindergarten to Grade 12 school. The decision whether to build a new school or not, however, will be up to the provincial government.

How will Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek impact the power grid and other utilities?
TSMV will work with the Town of Canmore, local utility providers, and other industry partners to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to meet the utility needs of new residents. Every effort will be made to incorporate renewable energy generation in the new residential and commercial structures.
TSMV’s projects will increase the population of Canmore. How will this impact community infrastructure? Will Canmore be responsible for paying for upgrades?

TSMV is covering the cost of infrastructure upgrades that directly relate to development. Where multiple developments across Canmore contribute to requiring the infrastructure upgrade, the Town of Canmore recovers those costs through the collection of development levies.

If you have a question, please do not hesitate to ask using the following form

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