The Safe Park pilot program will provide a safe place for individuals to rest overnight. The program will run from June 15 to September 15, 2021.
What is Safe Park?
Safe Park is a seasonal program that is designed to support individuals who are employed in our community and who reside in their vehicles.
Eligible program participants will be provided with designated parking space and will be required to adhere to a collection of program responsibilities to remain in the program. For example, participants will be responsible for keeping their parking stall clean and free of animal attractants.
There is a $10 per night fee to join the program, which must be pre-paid in two monthly installments. Each Safe Park site will have a bear-safe garbage bin and a maintained porta-potty in close proximity, and each lot will be monitored by a contracted security company.
Why is a Safe Park program important?
There are few seasonal housing options in Canmore. The Safe Park program offers an affordable alternative to those who work in our community as a way to help sustain a seasonal workforce.
The 2021 proposed Safe Park pilot is based on research, surveys and community discussions completed by the 2019 Seasonal Outreach Worker.
How do I apply for the program?
Program registration opens on May 1, 2021, and the program can accommodate up to 20 participants. There is a $20 program deposit fee.
Only eligible applicants will be admitted into the program. To be consider eligible, individuals will need to demonstrate:
- Employment in the Bow Valley (must work an average of 20 hours per week)
- Demonstrated by a letter from employer or recent pay stub
- Participants who lose employment while in the program will be assessed on a case-by-case basis
- A valid driver’s license, valid vehicle registration, and valid vehicle insurance
- Ownership of an operational vehicle that fits within a standard parking stall
- An clear understanding of the pdf participant responsibility agreement (183 KB)
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 a variety of reasons, many of them complex.
A seasonal outreach worker was hired in the spring of 2019 to work with individuals camping in the area, to provide social supports, and to gather information on needs and demographics. 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.
Due to the Pandemic the 2020 Safe Park program pilot was cancelled. The 2021 Safe Park Pilot has been modified to reflect pandemic impacts and to adhere to COVID-19 provincial restrictions.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
The Safe Park program supports individuals who are employed in the Bow Valley and living in their vehicle.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with homelessness, please contact the Housing Evaluator at 403-996-0204 or visit the Community Common Area, located at the Canmore Civic Centre, weekdays from 1:30 to 4:30pm.
Program sites locations have not yet been determined. More information about the sites will be available the week of May 3.
Based on current site selection criteria, the Elk Run lot will not be recommended as a potential program site for the Safe Park program.