Town of Canmore

Peaks Landing

An application was received to amend the land use bylaw for the Peaks Landing proposal for the development of approximately 27 residential units and up to 13 accessory dwelling units on three sites.

Council gave second reading to Bylaw 2018-14 on March 19, 2019. The applicant had proposed a number of changes to the bylaw, as well as entered into a new Option to Purchase agreement with Canmore Community Housing Corporation (CCHC) for the purchase of site 1 (potentially resulting in 14 Perpetually Affordable Housing Units). Council instead gave second reading to the bylaw with amendments to remove Site 3 from the Direct Control district and retain the Urban Reserve (UR) land use district. This eliminates 5 single family dwellings, reducing the total number of dwellings in the proposal to 22 units, with a potential for 8 suites.

To read a copy of the proposed bylaw, visit Bylaws Pending Approval 

Council will consider giving third reading to the bylaw at their meeting on May 7 at 9 a.m. Watch for details in an upcoming agenda package at Council Agendas, Minutes, and Videos.

The application is similar to a previous application which was approved and subsequently invalidated. There are minor changes to the application due to the submission of a Wildfire Risk Assessment and building height calculations due to steep creek hazard mitigation. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was also submitted and the Town conducted an independent third party review of the applicant’s EIS.


The proposed DC District Bylaw 2018-14 is divided into three sites. The regulations and building forms on these 3 sites vary from each other. For example, on site 1 townhouses can be built, on site 2, duplex plus dwellings (duplexes with suites) could be built, and on site 3, single family detached plus dwellings (with a suite) could be built. The applicants have proposed a DC District instead of conventional districts to address a variety of unique regulations, such as lot sizes, building grades due to steep creek hazards, and building heights.

Site 1 would allow for up to 14 townhouse units and the applicant has a signed agreement with Canmore Community Housing Corporation (CCHC) that 7 of these be Perpetually Affordable Housing (PAH) with the other 7 being a form of “market affordable” housing. PAH is well understood; market affordable housing is housing that is ‘more’ affordable by virtue of its design and specifications.

The proposed townhouses, while of slightly higher density than the R2A district across the street, would be subject to the similar height maximums, site coverage, and roof pitch requirements as the R2A district. This should result in a built form of similar scale to that across the street. Building heights on this site are proposed to be calculated from finished grade due to steep creek hazard mitigation requirements, rather than from existing grades. This is similar to how building heights are calculated in the flood risk area and the high groundwater overlay districts.

Site 2 would allow for up to 8 duplex plus dwellings, each of which must have its own suite. This requires duplex plus dwelling units to be defined and added as a use to Section 14, Definitions. Duplex plus dwelling units are also proposed to be added as a use in the current update to the Town’s Land Use Bylaw (proposed Bylaw 2018-22). Duplex units with suites make both the duplex purchase more affordable for the purchaser and provides a market affordable suite for a renter. These units differ fundamentally from a 4-plex as they cannot be subdivided and sold off as a separate title. This means that if the suites are used they would be rental units. The proposed built form is largely consistent with the R2A district to the east and across the street from this site; with the same height maximums, site coverage, and roof pitch requirements as the R2A district. This should result in built form of similar scale to that across the street.

Site 3 would allow for up to 5 single family detached homes. Again, including suites as a permitted use helps to remove barriers for the provision of suites and creates some additional affordability/value for the purchaser as well as creating a potential rental unit. This is consistent with the existing R1B development to both the east and west of site 3.

Public Use District - Over 50% of the subject lands are proposed to become PD district. Further, it is suggested that these lands would be designated as MR though the subdivision process. It should be noted that MR dedication is governed under the MGA and Subdivision Regulation and the Town cannot require this amount of MR. The Town can however accept donated MR, which has been proposed in the subdivision application for Peaks Landing. The lands do not qualify as Environmental Reserve dedication.

R1B District - There is a small sliver of land proposed as R1B (~4m x 50m) on the eastern side of the subject lands immediately west of the existing R1B district. The applicant has stated that this land is intended to be consolidated with the parcel immediately to the east upon subdivision. This sliver has little material impact on the proposal. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply to amend the Town’s land use bylaw?
Anyone can make application to the Town’s Planning Department to amend the land use bylaw. The requirements of the application must be met for Administration to prepare it for first reading by council, including an application fee. Certain application requirements are specific depending on the site and the nature of the application.  The Town is obligated to process any application that it receives. Administration does not have the authority or discretion to deny a complete application without taking it to Council for consideration.   
What are the procedures to amend a land use bylaw?
The Municipal Government Act requires a municipal council to give three readings to a bylaw and hold a public hearing prior to giving the bylaw second reading. Once a bylaw is given first reading and a public hearing date is set, a notice of the hearing must be given (s.692). The bylaw is approved only if it receives all three readings by council.
When did the application receive first reading and how can I express my views and opinions on the bylaw? 
First reading was given by Council on January 8, 2019.  Details can be found at Bylaws Pending Approval. The public had an opportunity to submit verbal and/or written comments to council at the public hearing held on January 29, 2019.  See Connect with Council for other ways to express your views. Second reading (with amendments) was given by Council on March 19, 2019.
How does Council make a decision to amend a land use bylaw?
There are two basic requirements of a council in the procedure of amending a land use bylaw. First, a council must give reasonable opportunity for interested or affected parties to present their views and opinions of the proposal. Secondly, a council must remain sufficiently open to any representations made at the public hearing. Council will also consider policies contained within the Municipal Development Plan or any other statutory planning document in making a decision. 
The second application for Peaks Landing was approved by Council, but invalidated by the courts. What was the reason?
In July 2016, an application for judicial review for questions of procedural fairness was made to the Court of Queen’s Bench regarding Council’s approval of the second land use bylaw amendment application. In 2018, the Court of Queen’s Bench ruled that the bylaw amendment must be invalidated because the MDP required an EIS to be prepared and reviewed by an independent third party reviewer due to the development proposal being located adjacent to an Environmental Reserve parcel (Sections 8.4 and 8.5 of the 1998 MDP). 
Although an EIS and third party review is not a mandatory requirement of the current application based on the updated policies of the pdf 2016 Municipal Development Plan (5.52 MB) , the applicant prepared an Environmental Impact Statement. The Town of Canmore used an independent environmental consultant to prepare a third party review report. See section below (Background and Documents) for copies of the EIS and third party review.
What is the current status of the Settlement Agreement?
The agreed upon ‘Master Zoning Bylaw’ for the remainder of the Three Sisters Inc. land was implemented through the adoption of Bylaw 1-98DC and subsequent amendments to the Town’s Land Use Bylaw. With regards to pods 7 and 8 (the Peaks of Grassi) The Town of Canmore obtained a legal opinion that determined that the Settlement Agreement does not prevent Council from considering a land use change application. Council must therefore follow the procedures to consider adopting or amending a land use bylaw in accordance with the provisions of Part 17 of the Municipal Government Act.
The applicant has proposed seven units of affordable housing to be acquired by Canmore Community Housing Corporation (CCHC). What are the details of this agreement?
Site 1 would allow for up to 14 townhouse units and the applicant has a signed agreement with Canmore Community Housing Corporation (CCHC) that 7 of these be Perpetually Affordable Housing (PAH) with the other 7 being a form of “market affordable” housing. PAH is well understood; market affordable housing is housing that is ‘more’ affordable by virtue of its design and specifications than other market housing. Although the Agreement is between the landowner and CCHC, it has been submitted as part of the record of the Feb. 5, 2019 public hearing. A copy of it can be read pdf here (1.10 MB) .  Please contact CCHC for further information.
Can Council include conditions of approval of a land use bylaw amendment?
No. A land use bylaw amendment only changes the zoning of a parcel, or can create a new district, such as the Peaks Landing application. The Municipal Government Act outlines what can be regulated through the land use bylaw. Conditions of approval are placed on approvals of applications such as subdivision or development permits.
How much did the Town spend on legal fees related to the second application, and what was the amount paid out for costs?
The Town’s costs for the Peaks Landing judicial review totaled $117,912.85, including the $55,000 reimbursed to the appellant for their legal fees.
How does the Town determine road designs that are safe for anticipated traffic volumes near Peaks Landing?
Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) guidelines reference that variances to standard guidelines may be necessary in mountainous terrain; the existing roadways comply with the Town’s pdf mountainous terrain guidelines (128 KB) .  The typical threshold for the requirement of a Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) is 100 units. Peaks Landing proposes a minor increase in vehicle trips on a road with adequate capacity. No parking zones will be retained to maintain sightlines. Community feedback will be monitored post-development for speed concerns and a lower posted speed could be an option at that time. 
Was a traffic impact assessment completed for Peaks Landing?
Peaks of Grassi was initially approved as one development (completed in 4 Phases) by the NRCB and the Town of Canmore. These approvals were completed in 1998. A pdf Traffic Impact Evaluation (4.45 MB) was completed as part of the initial application in 1996 and submitted to the Town of Canmore. The current Peaks Landing application before Council is the first development application to be considered following the initial approval of Peaks of Grassi (Pods 7 & 8). The Peaks Landing proposal does not trigger the requirement for a new traffic impact assessment. The development proposes a minor incremental increase in vehicle trips that is accommodated within the existing road capacity.
The Town has completed a basin-level Steep Creek Hazard and Risk Report for X, Y and Z Creeks. Where can I get a copy of this report? Has the report been reviewed by a third party?
This report was completed by the Town’s consultant BGC, and was presented to Council on January 22, 2019. This is the  pdf XYZ Creeks Hazard and Risk Assessment (37.93 MB) .  Steep creek hazard reports are reviewed by Dr. Michael Church, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia.  Steep creek risk reports are reviewed by Dr. Norbert Morgenstern, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta. Our reviewers are leading experts in their respective fields and have helped guide Canmore’s Steep Creek Hazard Mitigation Program since 2013.  An in-depth review process by leading independent experts provides assurance of the consistency and quality of the work of our consultants. 
A berm is proposed to be built to protect against steep creek hazards. What are the details of the berm, and are any approvals required?
The steep creek hazard report for Stones Canyon Creek recommended mitigation be built to protect both new and existing development in Peaks of Grassi. The proposal is that a 1m high berm/wall be constructed within the Government Road Allowance which is under the control of the Town of Canmore. The final location and design of the berm/wall would be determined during the subdivision process if the land use bylaw amendment is approved.
If, during the process of the final berm/wall design, it is determined that any approvals are required to locate the berm/wall on any portion of Public Lands, the appropriate approvals would be required to be obtained (such as a Temporary Field Assignment). Approval from the Province of Alberta is also required when there are activities proposed within a waterbody or when the works will divert and use surface or groundwater. Such activities require approval when they affect the land or vegetation around a water body, or may affect the location, flow or quality of the water or aquatic environment. For example, the debris flow retention structure proposed for Cougar Creek requires Water Act approval.
A copy of the Stones Canyon Creek Diversion Wall Report (DRAFT) can be read pdf here (3.71 MB) .
Is the wall/berm required for development to occur?
No. Development in a yellow zone is allowed to occur with local design mitigations only, such as grading, foundation, and openings to prevent water damage. The wall/berm would also protect existing development which was not designed with these local mitigation measures.
How is the risk of wildfire being addressed?
The Wildfire Risk Assessment prepared by Montane Forest Management provided recommendations for reducing the threat to wildfire, such as fuel modification, landscaping, and building construction measures. The proposed Direct Control District considers these measures and the current general regulations in the land use bylaw addresses FireSmart construction practices.
Will blasting be allowed to develop on Site 3?
The applicant submitted a geotechnical report prepared by McIntosh Lalani Engineering which indicates that blasting is not required to develop on Site 3. How the lands are developed, such as grading, noise, and other construction practices are determined through the subdivision process.
The development may be visible from Quarry Lake and impact users. How does this factor into the decision-making process?
Scenic values are not universally held, and the impacts of changing viewsheds vary widely. Council will consider the impacts of the proposed development on views in their decision-making process.
How can the Town ensure that the affordable housing will be built?
The Town does not currently have the ability to use the “inclusionary housing” provisions which are proposed to be allowed through the Modernized Municipal Government Act in the near future.  The development proposal includes a variety of housing styles, including smaller townhouses and duplexes with secondary suites to address affordability as outlined in the Town’s guiding documents. The applicant has a separate pdf agreement (1.10 MB) with Canmore Community Housing Corporation to ensure that the Perpetually Affordable Housing units will be built.
What are the details of the Sustainability Screening Report (SSR) submission?
The SSR received in this application for Bylaw 2018-14 is the same as the version received in 2015 with the second application. The applicant’s version can be viewed spreadsheet here (94 KB) . It shows a positive impact with a score of 69.97.
Administration reviews all SSR submissions, and where it is unsure that a commitment will be met, a separate SSR is prepared. Due to points that were included for environmental leadership and innovation, and green building, Administration’s results of the SSR indicate a slightly lower positive impact with a score of 64.47. More information on SSRs can be found at Sustainability Screening Report


 Watch this page for more updates as information becomes available.

Background and Documents

The application includes rezoning the lands from Urban Reserve (UR) to Direct Control (DC), Public Use District (PD) and Residential Single Family Detached plus District (R1B)

The land is currently in the Urban Reserve (UR) District. The purpose of the UR and PD districts as stated in the Land Use Bylaw 22-2010 is as follows:

Urban Reserve District: To protect land that is potentially suited for urban uses from premature subdivision and development. Lands located within this district have received preliminary screening only and may require environmental, geotechnical and other screening to determine their potential suitability for any development. The further intent of the district is to provide for a limited range of rural pursuits and recreational uses that utilize large areas of land.

Public Use District: To provide for public, quasi-public and community uses and developments on lands owned by the Town, not-for-profit community organizations, or Provincial, or Federal governments.

pdf 2018 Peaks Landing EIS Terms of Reference  (583 KB)

pdf 2018 Environmental Impact Statement for Peaks Landing (30.43 MB)

pdf 2019 Third Party Review of EIS (765 KB)

A similar application was previously approved by Council through Bylaw 2015-19, but was deemed invalid at the Alberta Court of the Queens Bench in July 2018 due to the lack of a complete Environmental Impact Statement.