BREAKING – TSMV Development Rejected By Canmore Town Council

Footprint of Concern - Photo by Zac Mills
Footprint of Concern - Photo by Zac Mills

The Three Sisters Mountain Village (TSMV) area structure plan has been rejected 6-1 by town council during a historical meeting today, Tuesday May 25, 2021.

The plan was defeated by all 6 Councillors (Jeff Hilstad, Rob Seeley, Karen Marra, Vi Sandford, Joanna McCallum, and Esmé Comfort with the lone exception of Mayor John Borrowman casting the only yes vote.

Concerns around the crucial wildlife cooridor, affordable housing, meaningful consultation with the Stoney Nakoda Nation, and the impact on the community were major factors in the unanimous rejection.

Town councillors have spent countless hours listening to the concerns of the public which overwhelmingly proclaimed their displeasure with some or all of the project.

‘Stop TSMV’ signs have popped up all over town serving as a constant reminder of the lack of acceptance of the proposed ASP’s (Area Stucture Plan).

Stop TSMV Sign - BVN File Photo
Stop TSMV signs everywhere you look in Canmore – BVN File Photo

Over 300 of these signs were distributed around the town and displayed on private property which is more than any politician during election campaigns has done in the past.

In early March, The Bow Valley Network Facebook group which is the social media network for Banff, Canmore, and Lake Louise (~14,000 members strong), created a non-scientific poll asking members if they approve or disapprove of the TSMV. We concluded the poll with 94% of respondants voting ‘No’ which we think approximately represents the scope of the opposition against the project.

TSMV Blockade Protest - Photo by Jeff Laidlaw
TSMV Blockade Protest – Photo by Jeff Laidlaw

Regular Saturday blockades and protests against the ASP have been ongoing for weeks in various locations in Three Sisters and downtown Canmore.

“Today was a triumph for community involvement at a level I’ve never witnessed. Here’s hoping we can continue to work together to shape the future we want.” Jeff Laidlaw

Bow Valley Engage, a grassroots organization created by local resident Jeff Mah and later joined by Wade Graham, Zack Mills and others has worked tirelessly to rally the community against this project.

“I’d like to thank everybody that got behind us, sent us money, sent us letters. This town is incredible and I’m honored to play the role I played in this decision” – Wade Graham from Bow Valley Engage

The community really stepped up, wrote letters, made heartfelt presentations to council. Multiple full page newspaper ads were taken out and easily paid for by donations from the many concerned members of the community.

Three Sisters Village
Three Sisters Village Proposal- Photo from TOC

The Three Sisters Mountain Village ASP aimed to nearly double the population of Canmore and create a new community of mostly tourist homes with a small amount of affordable housing and a small commercial district.

According to ecologists, the crucial wildlife cooridor that currently exists in the area would have been narrowed to unacceptable levels. The project planned to cover about 80 per cent of the remaining developable land in Canmore.

Today democracy prevailed and the elected representitives of the people of Canmore did what they were elected to do – they listened to the majority and rejected this project.