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New visitor accommodation approved for downtown Canmore

CANMORE – Basecamp Resorts is ready to set up a brand new camp in downtown Canmore.
Basecamp Hotel copy
Basecamp Resorts received development approval for a new visitor accommodation development, pictured here in an artist’s rendering of the project, on 10th Street in downtown Canmore.

CANMORE – Basecamp Resorts is ready to set up a brand new camp in downtown Canmore.

The local hotel company recently got the green light from the Canmore Planning Commission to build a three-storey visitor accommodation on a vacant lot at 721 Ninth St.

Located across the street from Switching Gear and Harvest Cafe, the hotel will include 11 units, including nine units for visitor accommodation and two units for employee housing.

The Canmore Planning Commission unanimously approved the project with seven variances on Wednesday (Jan. 31), including a variance to allow nine parking stalls instead of the required 10.

“Overall, I think the project is very skillfully designed and I think it’s going to make a big contribution to the streetscape and the community as a whole,” said Florian Jungen, a member of the board.

Similar to Lamphouse Hotel, which is also owned by Basecamp Resorts, the parking stalls will be located in front of the hotel rooms within the site and guests will be able to access their room using an exterior staircase. The parking lot will be accessible from Ninth Street.

There will also be a virtual check in room at the front of the building on 10th Street, however the front door will be located on the side of the hotel. There will also be a public bike rack in front of the building.

The visitor accommodation units will be comprised of four one-bedroom units, one two-bedroom unit and four three-bedroom units. The two employee housing units will be studio units comprising of one main room.

During the meeting, administration noted that the employee housing units proposed in the plan would not be physically separated from the visitor accommodation units as set out in the town’s land use bylaw.

“For this proposal, the employee housing units are located on the same floor as the non-residential user accommodation units,” said Lindsay Allman, a planning intern with the Town. “While there are separate doors to the employee units the stairs and landing area is shared.”

To ensure the plan is onside with the Town’s regulations, the planning commission approved a variance that will allow the employee housing units to be integrated with the visitor accommodation units.

During the meeting there was a brief discussion about how the Town can ensure the employee-housing units are not rented out for visitor accommodation.

The commission added a condition that will require the developer to install signage on the exterior door of each employee-housing unit to make it clear the rooms are for staff only and ensure the units will not be rented out as visitor accommodation.

“It is difficult, but not impossible to undertake enforcement,” said Alaric Fish, manager of planning and development.

He said if the town became aware employee housing was being used for visitor accommodation, or vice-versa, it can request an inspection of the property to make sure it conforms with its approved use.

“We have a number of active files where employee housing appears to be rented out, so we are looking to enforcement in those cases.”

After an in-camera meeting the commission agreed with the variances presented by administration and approved the plan.

The public has until Feb. 19 if they wish to formally submit an appeal.

Paul Clarke

About the Author: Paul Clarke

Paul Clarke has spent the past four years working as a community news reporter in Jasper, Banff and Canmore.
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