Town of Canmore

Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP)

What is an Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP)?

An IDP is a plan between two municipalities with common boundaries that outlines how certain lands along the common boundary will be used and developed. It also considers other physical, social, or economic consideration in the development of the area. You can read a draft of the plan pdf here (506 KB) . A pdf Terms of Reference (9.33 MB) was created to guide the process. 

What is the role of an IDP and how does it fit into the hierarchy of statutory plans?

An IDP is a statutory plan between two municipalities that provides guidance in the planning and development of lands adjacent to the municipal boundaries. It provides direction and requires consistency with the other individual municipalities’ statutory plans, including Area Structure Plans and Area Redevelopment Plans. Notwithstanding the IDP, each municipality maintains local autonomy and responsibility with respect to decision-making within their municipal jurisdiction.

Why is the IDP Plan Area so limited in size? What about the remainder of the boundaries?

The majority of lands at the boundaries of Canmore and Bighorn is provincially protected lands, including Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park, or otherwise owned/controlled by the Province. Development on private and/or non-Provincial lands, which is under the control of the municipalities, can only occur on lands at the common boundaries as shown below.

How is the IDP enacted?

Adoption of an Intermunicipal Development Plan requires three readings of a bylaw and a public hearing (see next steps below). The Town of Canmore and the M.D. of Bighorn will each hold a public hearing and adopt the same IDP by bylaw. 

What is the difference between a Plan Area and a Notification Area?

The primary difference between a Plan Area and a Notification Area is which types of applications are referred to the adjacent municipality. 

Application Type

Notification Area

Plan Area

MDP amendment

New or amendment to Area Structure Plan

New or amendment to Area Redevelopment Plan

New or amendment to Concept Plan/Scheme

Land Use Bylaw amendment




Development Permit for discretionary use

(where no approved ASP or ARP)


How will intermunicipal disputes be resolved?

Rather than going directly to an appeal with the Municipal Government Board on a decision, the IDP requires municipalities to attempt to resolve any disputes internally first before a decision is made through the following processes:

  1. Administrative discussions
  2. Intermunicipal Committee discussions
  3. Mediation

If mediation is unsuccessful, the municipality may proceed with a decision and an appeal may be made to the Municipal Government Board for resolution.

Next Steps

Approximately 20 people attended the August 28 open house in Dead Man's Flats. Council gave first reading of the IDP on Nov. 5, and a public hearing was held on Dec. 3, 2019. Public input will be incorporated before the IDP returns to Council on Feb. 4, 2020 for second and third readings. Visit the MD of Bighorn's webpage here.  

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