The Safe Overnight Parking program is a pilot program designed to provide individuals - who are employed in the Bow Valley and dwelling in their vehicles - with a safe place to park overnight. The program will begin May 4 and end Oct. 2, 2020, and utilize 50 parking stalls at night. The intent is to have parking stalls evenly provided by community partners and the Town of Canmore, with each providing 25 stalls, with approximately five parking stalls in each location.
Participants will be charged $10.00/night for use of an assigned stall and issued a parking permit. Participants will need to renew their permits on the 15th and 30th of each month by providing proof of continued employment and making payment for the next 15 days. Each site will be equipped with a bear-safe garbage bin and provide access to a maintained porta-potty or washroom facility. Sites will be monitored by a security service, and program rules will be enforced.
To be eligible for the program, participants in the program must:
- be employed in the Bow Valley
- have a valid drivers license
- display a valid vehicle registration
- show a valid vehicle insurance
- have an operational vehicle
To stay in the program, participants must:
- behave respectfully
- use the provided washroom facilities
- only use the parking stall within the program guidelines (enter after 8:00 p.m and leave before 9:00 a.m.)
- respect quiet hours of 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
- keep pets on a leash and picking up/disposing of pet waste
- dispose of waste in the provided bear-safe bins
- keep equipment and supplies contained within their vehicle
- refrain from attracting, feeding, or disturbing wildlife
- refrain from criminal behavior
- park outside of the town centre between 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Data collection will continue to be a key component of the Safe Park program to determine if the program is meeting the intended outcome of providing safe, affordable, and short term accommodation for Bow Valley employees that supports seasonal staffing needs and minimizes community concern regarding vehicle dwellers. Data will include, but is not limited to, number of participants, number of people on a waitlist, number of and nature of people turned away for not meeting the eligibility criteria, employment metrics, number of tickets for overnight parking violations, community feedback, and participant satisfaction.
Consideration was given to offering a subsidized camping program with 10 sites at Wapiti Campground with participants subject to the same eligibility criteria. This component of the program is pending negotiation with the Province of Alberta to continue with the municipal campground in 2020. Updates will be provided once more information is available.
In the summer of 2018, the Town of Canmore noticed that the number of individuals who live or camp in their vehicles increased significantly. Most apparent were the overnight parked vehicles behind Save-On-Foods and beside Elevation Place. The people who reside on this land do so for many, and sometimes complex, reasons. In Canmore, the number of individuals who reside in their vehicles due to choice rather than necessity is unclear.
A seasonal outreach worker was hired in the spring of 2019 to work with individuals camping in the area to provide social support and gather information to help us understand their needs. Council heard the results of the data collected through the summer over two council meetings on Sept. 17 and Oct. 1 and approved the implementation of an overnight parking program pilot on Feb. 4, 2020. The full reports can be found here.
- Until the pilot program begins, the parking restrictions in place in the gravel panhandle parking lot behind Elevation Place between 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. will remain in place. All vehicles must have their current provincial registration and be insured and will need to be in working order to be moved by 7 a.m.
- On March 3, 2020, Council approved a camping bylaw and a traffic and road-use bylaw to prohibit overnight camping everywhere in Canmore outside of designated areas such as campgrounds and Safe Park Program. Click here for the agenda package for more information
- Finalize program details
Frequently Asked Questions
This temporary parking prohibition recognizes Canmore’s affordability challenges while maintaining parking stalls for their original intended purpose of visitor parking during the day. Canmore has limited available day-time, short-term parking.
These restricted hours balance short-term parking needs, the operational capacity of RCMP and Bylaw services, and the overnight needs of those who reside in their vehicle.
Spring Creek RV Campground is a privately owned RV Park within the Town of Canmore, centrally located east of downtown. Long-term rentals are available. In summer, long-term campers must pay upfront for their entire stay. Some local businesses will rent a site for seasonal workers. Limited winter sites are available.
Exshaw Community Association Campsite is a volunteer-run, community campground within the municipality of Exshaw. The campground is operated as a first come-first served, campground.
There are also numerous provincial campgrounds nearby, but most can only be booked 90 days in advance and for no longer than 14 days.
Full enforcement now may make it more difficult for the Town of Canmore to monitor and understand the associated demographics of the vehicular-housed community and any related underlying issues. In the short-term, this option could lead to greater enforcement issues throughout a larger area of the community as campers find alternative locations such as residential streets.