The Town of Canmore is responding to the COVID-19 situation in considered and meaningful ways. We continue to implement many initiatives in order to align with the guidance we receive from both provincial and local health authorities and to ensure that we are protecting our community.
We are working closely with our destination marketing organizations and regional media to communicate the changing situation in the Town of Canmore while reinforcing the Chief Medical Officer’s advice to people considering travelling within the province to respect the health and safety of small communities.
Between now and the beginning of stage 2 of Alberta's Relaunch Strategy, the Town of Canmore’s re-opening plans include:
- creating a pedestrian-only Main Street (between 6 Ave - 8 Ave) to be safe and inviting for residents, employees, store owners, and visitors while allowing businesses to recover successfully
- re-opening playgrounds
- removing message signs from highway entrances
- removing the temporary no parking signs from outside of trailhead parking lots and the temporary local traffic only signs
- cancelling our State of Local Emergency
- reducing the frequency of the regular emergency management newsletter (unless they are necessary for important announcements)
Stay tuned for more details and dates for implementing these elements.
Actions to Help the Community Financially
We know that many Canmore residents have been significantly impacted by Covid-19 through job loss, business closure, and other factors. We are taking action to help our community financially.
We have allowed residents and businesses to defer tax and utility payments until at least the end of June. You can learn more and sign up to have your payments deferred at Property Tax and Utility Deferral
We approved amendments to the 2020 Operating Budget to achieve the following outcomes:
- Maintain essential services and business continuity, including budgeting $470,000 for new costs associated with the response to the pandemic
- Provide departmental expenditure reductions to help mitigate losses in revenue
- Allow for scalability of operations post-pandemic
- Provide increased social and economic development supports for those individuals and businesses most impacted by the pandemic
- Reduce the municipal 2020 tax requirement to 2019 levels
- Maintain a strong balance in the Tax Stabilization Reserve to provide the flexibility needed to address future uncertainties as well as known future cost increases.
Service level reductions include the following:
- Cancelled all recreation programs
- Cancelled community and event grants
- Cancelled all 2020 community events, with the exception of New Year’s Eve and some virtual Canada Day events
- Reduced service levels in the Parks department, including the downtown flower program
- Cancelled the new driver rebate and law enforcement bursary due to decreased photo radar revenues
- Eliminated staff professional development, except for maintenance of designated certifications
- Eliminated travel, hosting, and conferences
- Eliminated corporate events, including staff appreciation
The following capital projects have been cancelled or reduced in scope, resulting in a reduced transfer to reserves of $1,225,000. It’s important to note that ultimately all of these projects will be required to proceed at some point in the future to achieve Council’s priorities and objectives of the strategic plan.
- Street Rehab Railway Avenue
- Town Centre Enhancement Plan
- Affordable Housing Land and Policies
- Land Use Bylaw Update
- Visitor Accommodation Review
- Light Fleet Replacement
- Roundhouse Solar System
We have adjusted staffing levels, affecting approximately 146 people (more than 40% of the Town of Canmore's employees), including laying off 118 people.
- In closing some facilities, we have made staffing reductions in the recreation department: 93 casual and contract recreation staff were laid off effective March 23, which has reduced our payroll expenses by approximately $60K/month and 23 permanent recreation staff (both full and part-time), which has reduced our payroll expenses by approximately $110K/month
- As well, we have suspended hiring and have rescinded offers to most seasonal staff.
We will keep grant-funded projects going – many of our infrastructure projects are grant funded by different levels of government. Delaying these projects typically means losing the funding. Proceeding has several benefits: we keep the funding, we keep people in our community working, and we can take advantage of quiet time in town to complete disruptive projects.
Council directed administration to find additional ways to support individuals and businesses that will not be assisted by a reduction in taxes. Stay tuned for more information on a multi-pronged approach as we continue our work around the budget and taxes, while we exploring options to support our individuals and businesses.
Other Important Actions Taken
We have instituted a number of other actions locally in response to the evolving situation. The information below is being updated regularly with the most recent information at the top of the list:
- Reopened select Town of Canmore facilities (tennis courts, bike parks, basketball courts, play fields, and the skate park)
- Closed Town of Canmore buildings and facilities (including playgrounds). We are taking advantage of the closures to conduct required maintenance work for the Recreation Centre and Elevation Place that was scheduled for later in the year to avoid future facility closures, which minimizes future service level disruptions and maximizes revenue potential upon reopening.
- Declared State of Local Emergency
- Cancelled all events until September 30.
- Opened the call centre
- Activated the Emergency Coordination Centre
Town of Canmore COVID-related Actions
A summary of the powers that declaring a SOLE provide us as per the act is as follows:
- cause any emergency plan or program to be put into operation;
- acquire or utilize any real or personal property considered necessary to mitigate the emergency; (must pay compensation)
- authorize or require any qualified person to render aid of a type the person is qualified to provide;
- control or prohibit travel within the municipality; (not to the municipality)
- provide for the restoration of essential facilities and the distribution of essential supplies and provide,
- maintain and co-ordinate emergency medical, welfare and other essential services in any part of the municipality;
- order the evacuation from any area within the municipality and make arrangements for the adequate care and protection of those persons evacuated
- authorize the entry into any building or on any land, without a warrant, by any person in the course of implementing an emergency plan or program;
- cause the demolition or removal of any trees, structures or crops if the demolition or removal is necessary or appropriate in order to reach the scene of a disaster, or to attempt to forestall its occurrence or to combat its progress; (must pay compensation for damages)
- procure or fix prices for food, clothing, fuel, equipment, medical supplies, or other essential supplies and the use of any property, services, resources or equipment within the municipality for the duration of the state of local emergency;
- authorize the conscription of persons needed to meet an emergency.
As we monitor use-patterns and understand the needs of local businesses, we are considering several options such as closing Main Street to vehicle traffic to allow for safe physical distancing for pedestrians.
As we monitor use-patterns and understand the needs of local businesses, we are considering several options such as closing Main Street to vehicle traffic to allow for safe physical distancing for pedestrians. We will not be closing Main street for the upcoming May long weekend. We want to support downtown businesses in their reopening and have heard from them that taking this step too early could create perceived barriers and be detrimental to the businesses that are choosing to open.
To be clear, it is not our intent to create a vibrant or welcoming space for people to congregate, rather it is about creating a functional space for people to safely navigate Main Street while physically distancing as they work, shop, or eat.
o Do your grocery shopping before the weekend,
o Practice physical distancing on trails and all public spaces,
o Consider going to locations where you may encounter fewer people, and
o Continue to treat others with kindness.
Town of Canmore Services and Facilities
-Closed to drop-in public.
-There will no longer be a planner-on-call to have in-person meetings with the public, and inquiries are being directed to this new webpage.
-We encourage you to call 403.678.1500 to discuss alternatives to services you normally receive in-person at the Civic Centre.
Public Works Building
-closed to drop-in public
Canmore Recreation Centre – closed to the public
Elevation Place – closed to the public, including the library
-Call 9-1-1 in an emergency
- The downtown washrooms close daily at 6:00 p.m.
- All vault washrooms in town are closed until further notice
We all have a part to play, and individual actions matter. If you are going out for a walk, practice physical distancing on trails and all public spaces, and consider going to locations where you may encounter fewer people.
If you or someone in your family was registered in pre-paid programming at Elevation Place, please note that we are in the process of canceling select programming and crediting accounts. We are contacting affected members directly by email or phone.
Currently, the Town of Canmore is not permitting any new wedding bookings on town land. Existing weddings/bookings will still go ahead, but must follow the Government of Alberta's restrictions on gatherings. Any cancellations requested for existing weddings/bookings on town land will not be rebooked at this time.
Although it is not encouraged, weddings that take place on private land are not booked through the Town of Canmore, and may still take place. Wedding photographers are still required to have a business license and can find more information about temporary licenses here.
In alignment with the Government of Alberta's restrictions limiting summer gatherings to 15 people or fewer, the Town of Canmore has decided to revoke and stop all Community Event Permits effective immediately, through to September 30, 2020.
Event hosts are encouraged to consider alternative platforms for their events, such as by virtual means or other distance methods.
As a precaution, we have decided to postpone all Town-led activities until the end of September 2020.
Other Services and Facilities
People can return items in the book drop but the library encourages people to keep the items they currently have out until they re-open and they are happy to extend loan periods and waive all overdue fees during the closure.
Click here for current information about library services.
-10 a.m. to 4 p.m Mon – Fri.
-Packages will be delivered to individual residences.
-The package will be left on the doorstep and the postal worker will ring the doorbell and leave.
-Registered parcels will no longer be required to have a signature.
-There will be no guarantees on sending mail via Express post (currently all items are arriving on schedule).
-Only 3 people permitted in the post office at any one time. Click here for more information.
Until further notice, all Traffic Courts in Alberta will be closed effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020. If you have an appearance, trial or application scheduled during the closure, do not attend court in person. They are handling some inquiries on a case-by-case basis. You can call the detachment that issued the ticket for details (Banff, Lake Louise or Canmore). Click here for more information.
Do not go to the courthouse to pay fines in person. Fine payments can be made:
No gatherings with more than 15 people are allowed. Places of worship are encouraged to offer virtual or live-streamed activities instead of in-person events. If gatherings with fewer than 15 people do happen, there must be proper mitigation measures in place.