Town of Canmore

Safe Park Pilot Program

Applications for Safe Park 2022 are now open.


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. This year, the program is open to both individual participants and local businesses. Permits are issued to eligible participants through an application process, on a first-come, first-served basis. The 2022 program begins June 1 and runs until Sept. 30. 

Without a Safe Park permit, overnight camping is not allowed within the Town of Canmore; unpermitted vehicles will be ticketed. Overnight camping on municipal lots, on residential streets, or in areas not designated for camping, is prohibited in Canmore.

Individuals click here

Businesses click here

To renew your enrolment, click here


Program Details

  • The pilot program operates from June 1 – Sept. 30, 2022. Program hours are 8:00 p.m. – 8:00 a.m.
  • Eligible program participants will be provided with a designated parking space and will be required to adhere to program responsibilities to remain in the program. For example, participants will be responsible for keeping their parking stall clean and free of animal attractants.
  • Participants will be assigned one lot for the entire summer but will renew their registration and pay for their space every two weeks. 
  • There is a $10 per night fee to join the program which must be pre-paid in bi-weekly installments.
  • There will be 25-50 parking stalls in the program. There will be four lots total, each with 5-10 designated program stalls. Sites will be scattered across two municipal lots and two private partner lots.
  •  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 overnight by a contracted security company.

The Importance of Safe Park

The Safe Park pilot is informed by research completed by the Town of Canmore in 2019 in response to a significant increase in people camping in the parking lots surrounding Save-On-Foods and Elevation Place. This research found that some of our seasonal workforce chooses to live in campers or other converted vehicles. Council subsequently approved the piloting of the Safe Park program in 2019, 2020, and 2021, as a way to meet the needs of this specific group of residents to help sustain a seasonal workforce and support an inclusive and accessible community.


Program Applications

Applications for Safe Park 2022 are now open! Click here to apply.

Only eligible applicants will be admitted into the program. To be considered 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 your 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
  • A clear understanding of the pdf participant responsibility agreement (183 KB)
  • A $20 program deposit fee

If you would like more information about this program, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Participation Guidelines

  • Proof of employment at the start of the program and every two weeks when payment is due. 
  • Behave respectfully
  • Use washroom facilities provided, and adhere any COVID-19 protocols (if any at time of program start) 
  • Only use parking stall within the program hours (8 p.m. – 8 a.m.) 
  • Respect quiet hours (as per Town of Canmore Noise & Nuisance Control Bylaw) 
  • Dispose of waste in bear safe bins provided 
  • Keep equipment and supplies within the vehicle 
  • Refrain from attracting, feeding, or disturbing wildlife 
  • Refrain from criminal behaviour 
  • No more than two individuals residing in a vehicle 


Safe Park + Businesses

This year, the Safe Park program will be open to both individual participants and local businesses.

Are you a local business owner and want to learn more about what that means for your employees Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.


Background

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.  

A seasonal outreach worker was hired in the spring of 2019 to work with individuals camping in the area to provide social support 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. 


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a permit?
Permits are issued to eligible participants through an application process, on a first-come, first-served basis (until the program is full). Submit an application here or if you have questions about the eligibility criteria, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Without a Safe Park permit, overnight camping is not allowed within the Town of Canmore; unpermitted vehicles will be ticketed. Overnight camping on municipal lots, on residential streets, or in areas not designated for camping, is prohibited in Canmore. 
I live in my vehicle, but am not eligible for the Safe Park program, what can I do?

If you are on holidays, there are a number of provincial campgrounds nearby. Most can be booked 90 days in advance but for no longer than 14 consecutive days.

If you or someone you know is struggling with housing or affordability, please contact Canmore Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) to review potential options. FCSS does not provide housing or financial support, but staff are available to help navigate available community resources.

To speak with someone or book an appointment, call 403.609.3743 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Office location: Canmore Civic Centre, 902 - 7 Ave

FCSS office hours: Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (closed on statutory holidays).

I am just passing through town and looking for a place to stay, where can I go?
There are several campgrounds around the Canmore area and in surrounding provincial parks. To make a reservation please visit: reserve.albertaparks.ca. Please note that vehicle permits (Kananaskis Conservation Pass) are required for campgrounds in Kananaskis Country and provincial sites in the Bow Valley Corridor.
I am new to town and looking for work, where should I look?
The Job Resource Center offers one-on-one job search support, resumé and cover letter writing assistance, interview practice and feedback, job search webinars and more. A staff housing guide is also available and offers a review of the housing offered by the major employers in Banff, Canmore, and surrounding communities of Lake Louise and Kananaskis. 403.678.6601 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Canmore office location: 109 - 710 10 Street.
Can anyone come and camp in their vehicle or RV in Canmore?
No. Overnight camping is not allowed within the Town of Canmore; unpermitted vehicles will be ticketed. Without a Safe Park permit, overnight camping on municipal lots, on residential streets, or in areas not designated for camping, is prohibited in Canmore.
I am a local business owner. How can I participate in this program to support my employees?
*New this year* businesses will be permitted to purchase permits in the program lots on behalf of employees if they meet Safe Park eligibility criteria. Apply here or contact us to discuss your eligibility at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
What happens to vehicles camping on private lots?
Private property owners need to request the owners of vehicles to leave their property as this is trespassing. If the owners of the vehicles camping on private property don’t leave, the property owner needs to contact the RCMP and request their assistance. Typically a warning will be issued first, and if there is no compliance, further steps may include the issuance of a fine.
Where else can campers go?
Wapiti Campground is located on the west end of Canmore along Bow Valley Trail and sites are available from May 1 to October 14 on a first-come, first-served basis. Wapiti campground is operated by a contractor on land leased by the Town of Canmore from the Province of Alberta, and the province may choose to reallocate the land. It is anticipated that the province will extend the lease for the campsite to the end of 2021; however, this extension cannot be confirmed yet.

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.
Is there an opportunity for public feedback?
The 2022 Safe Park program is a pilot program. Once the pilot is completed, program information, community feedback, and participant outcomes will be evaluated. Council will not approve a longer-term project unless administration meets all program expectations.

We welcome all respectful and constructive feedback. Please send feedback to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with the subject line “Feedback”.

Does Safe Park support individuals who are experiencing homelessness?

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.

The Town of Canmore is located within Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta. In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, we honour and acknowledge the Canmore area, known as “Chuwapchipchiyan Kudi Bi” (translated in Stoney Nakoda as “shooting at the willows”) and the traditional Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Îyârhe Nakoda (Stoney Nakoda) – comprised of the Bearspaw First Nation, Chiniki First Nation, and Wesley First Nation – as well as the Tsuut’ina First Nation and the Blackfoot Confederacy comprised of the Siksika, Piikani, Kainai. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3, within the historical Northwest Métis homeland. We acknowledge all Nations who live, work, and play and help us steward this land and honour and celebrate this territory. We commit to working to live in right relations and to advance Truth and Reconciliation.

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