Town of Canmore

Sustainability Screening Report

At the Town, much of the work being done is focused on sustainability. The Town committed to The Natural Step (TNS) for a Sustainable Canmore in 2004. The Natural Step provides a framework to help communities make smart economic decisions to move them step-by-step towards a successful and sustainable future.

The  pdf Sustainability Screening Policy (6.16 MB)  is an example of our commitment to sustainability. The SSR process asks the development community to present a report to Council or the Planning Commission outlining the net environmental, social, and economic benefits of their project as it relates to community sustainability. An applicant must provide a narrative describing their project, and also fill out an Impact Offset Matrix. The  spreadsheet Impact – Offset Matrix (96 KB)  is a spreadsheet in which the applicant inputs details of the proposed project. The spreadsheet will then create a numerical “Impact,” which is the estimated impact resulting from the proposal. The Impact – Offset Matrix also requires you to select from a wide range of “Offset” criteria that produce a corresponding numerical result.

The aim is that the resulting difference between the Impact and the Offset is at least zero, or that the Offsets exceed the Impacts. The following guide explains the process in more detail:  pdf SSR Public Guide (222 KB)

The process also provides for public participation. After a presentation by the developer, comments and questions from the public are invited. The simple question being asked is “what net benefit is there from your project for the community of Canmore and what will your project do to help to sustain Canmore into the future?” While this may appear to be a simple question to answer, it does require a substantial change of thought and innovative and unique solutions to be able to clearly demonstrate “benefit”. 

Council approved the SSR policy in June 2017, after the original SSR process had been in place for a decade. The development industry has been consistent in coming forward and meeting the challenge. We are fortunate to have several developers in Canmore that are industry leaders. They have been investigating and demonstrating sustainable building practices for years. For others, the SSR process is asking them new questions and many of their answers have been impressive. By working together, the Town of Canmore and the development industry are moving Canmore towards a more sustainable future.

The SSR application form is available here:  pdf SSR Application Form (32 KB)