Town of Canmore

Land

The Land Use Bylaw topics on this page address how the land that shapes our community is regulated to ensure we respect the environment and geography of our town.

A Steep Creek Hazard Overlay District has been added in accordance with the Municipal Development Plan. This restricts new development in high hazard areas, and requires the preparation of a steep creek hazard and risk assessment in moderate hazard zones. Read more below to see the detailed overlay maps that show the hazard rating for each lot affected by a steep creek hazard.

As well, in the proposed new Land Use Bylaw, land use district maps are proposed to align district boundaries to property lines and in some instances, certain parcels of land will receive new districts. The intent of these districts is to protect land for wildlife, public use, environmental reasons, and to designate land for future development.  There is currently a significant amount of overlap between the six districts, making it difficult to distinguish one area from another.  The proposed bylaw has removed similarities, and consolidated districts from six to four.   

Click here to see the current Land Use Bylaw. 

Steep Creek Hazards 

Development in Canmore must address the unique conditions in the town, including natural environment considerations (e.g., flood hazards, groundwater, sub-surface hazards) and other features of human use (heliport vicinity and historic resources). Following the floods of 2013, the Town of Canmore has been working to establish an approach to managing development affected by steep creeks. The Town’s Municipal Development Plan provides this high-level policy direction and sets out risk tolerance criteria for new and existing development to ensure that risks to future generations of residents and property owners are acceptable. Lands that are affected by steep creek hazards have been identified in detailed hazard assessments for each creek. You can access more information about steep creek hazards here. 

What is proposed?

The proposed Land Use Bylaw will apply an “overlay” to the identified hazard zones, which sets out specific land use and development regulations for each zone. Visit Proposed Steep Creek Hazard Zones for details and maps.

Review the approved Steep Creek Hazard and Risk Policy pdf here (2.85 MB) .  

 

FireSmart

A new section was added to the existing Land Use Bylaw in 2017 to incorporate FireSmart regulations. These regulations are intended to decrease vulnerability to wildfires and minimize damage from fires. They only apply to new development or when changes are made to existing buildings or landscaping. However, there have been challenges with these new regulations and they have been perceived as overly restrictive. For example, they essentially prohibit the planting of coniferous trees within the town, and require decks to be built of non-combustible material (i.e., decks cannot be made of wood).

What is proposed?

The proposed new Land Use Bylaw removes some of the FireSmart regulations that prohibit coniferous trees and require non-combustible deck materials, but retains strict limitations on roofing materials and limits on planting landscaping or vegetation near buildings. The intent is for the FireSmart regulations in the proposed new Land Use Bylaw to be an interim measure until a more comprehensive set of FireSmart regulations and mapping are developed.

Public Use Districts 

The existing Land Use Bylaw includes the "Natural Park" district, which only applies to one site within the Town - Quarry Lake and the surrounding area. The proposed new Land Use Bylaw would eliminate the "Natural Park" district and redesignate the Quarry Lake area to the "Public Use" district and the "Conservation of Wildlands" district. The intention is to reduce the number of land use districts and it is felt that the purpose of the "Public Use" district, which is "to provide for public, quasi-public and community uses and developments on lands owned or operated by the Town, not-for-profit organizations, or Provincial or Federal governments," fits well with how people use Quarry Park. The Public Use district does allow additional uses such as schools or hospitals, which are not possible under the "Natural Park" district. Although there is no intent for these uses to be located in the Quarry Park area, without additional regulation it will be possible for this type of use to be proposed around Quarry Lake. 

What is proposed?

The land use district for Quarry Lake would no longer be "Natural Park." Rather, portions of it would become part of the "Public Use" district and portions would become part of the "Conservation of Wildlands" district as the proposed new Land Use Bylaw would remove the "Natural Park" district. The "Public Use" district allows for parks and playgrounds as permitted uses and adds numerous other possible discretionary uses (e.g., outdoor athletic and recreation facilities, campgrounds, cultural establishments, cemeteries, day care facilities, hospitals, and schools). The "Conservation of Wildlands" district is thought to be appropriate for portions of the Quarry Lake site as well as Conservation of Wildlandswould allow for conservation type uses (eg., wildlife corridors, wildlife habitat, environmental education, habitat enhancement, and pathways) and no urban development.

Read a summary of each district pdf here (98 KB)

 

 Subsurface Hazards

An overlay district titled Sub-Surface Hazards Overlay District was added. Sub-Surface Hazard was originally within LUB 22-2010, but located within the Miscellaneous Land Use Districts section (titled UR1) and applied to only one area within Canmore. It was deemed unnecessary to have an entire district be dedicated to one area of Canmore. As the regulation is meant to protect against a subsurface environmental hazard it better fits with the intent of an overlay district rather than with the miscellaneous districts. This overlay district now applies to the old UR1 district as well as a section of Elk Run Park, which is the location of a reclaimed landfill site.

 New Land Use District Boundaries

A number of minor mapping edits are proposed to better align districts to property lines. 

After review of Bylaw 22-2010’s maps, out-dated or inappropriate districts were discovered.  These are summarized in the table below.  District R is a remnant land use district from the MD of Bighorn at the time of annexation by the Town of Canmore and so it is being corrected to a PD district.  A small section of land owned by the Province and located between the emergency access road to Peaks of Grassi and the Worldmark Hotel was incorrectly labelled as part of the Three Sisters DC district, but should be PD.  An area of municipal reserve land behind Montane Village and abutting the Trans Canada Highway was incorrectly labelled as BVT-G and is being corrected to PD.

Area

Existing District

Corrected District

NE 21 24 10 W5

(West of Crossbow Place)

R

PD

SE 29 24 10 W5

SW 29 24 10 W5

(Peaks Drive)

DC 1-98 Site 1

PD

Lot 23MR Block 1 Plan 0110956

(Behind Kananaskis Way)

BVT-G

PD

A map showing all new Land Use District Boundaries can be viewed pdf here (130.22 MB)