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The Gateway commercial property moving forward after council approval

“It’s a good development for Canmore. We need what’s being proposed there, particularly in the commercial area,” said Mayor John Borrowman. “There’s a number of residents in the Three Sisters-area that are looking forward to having a large grocery chain and other commercial activities.”

CANMORE – A new commercial development will be coming to Canmore.

Town council unanimously approved Three Sisters Mountain Village’s The Gateway on Tuesday (April 5) after receiving additional information from the developer on interest being shown in the property.

While it was established council had no legislative power through the Municipal Government Act to ensure the commercial property would be developed in a timely fashion with residential builds, TSMV helped ease concerns after providing more information on businesses eager to lease the space.

“It’s a good development for Canmore. We need what’s being proposed there, particularly in the commercial area,” Mayor John Borrowman said. “There’s a number of residents in the Three Sisters-area that are looking forward to having a large grocery chain and other commercial activities.”

Coun. Vi Sandford noted the majority of letters from the public hearing were in support of the development and most people will “welcome the opportunity to have some commercial services nearby.”

She added it will allow people to eventually have commercial services more locally, as opposed to travelling out-of-town.

The light manufacturing aspect generated positive comments from Councillors Rob Seeley and Karen Marra, especially for smaller businesses looking to expand.

“It’s an important opportunity for Canmore,” Seeley said. "The light manufacturing opportunities are good.”

TSMV has said the commercial property has significant interest and it plans to keep ownership and lease the land.

The development would have space for office, retail and mixed use, with a new grocery store, car wash, gas station and light manufacturing potentially coming with the build.

Chris Ollenberger, the managing principal of QuantumPlace Developments, said at the March 2 council meeting it would take about five to seven years to complete the project.

Canmore council previously postponed the decision at the March meeting to allow more time for councillors to go through feedback from the public.

It also aimed to allow staff more time to look at possible assurances in the commercial property being developed.

Coun. Joanna McCallum, who brought forward the motion to temporarily postpone, noted legislatively there was no option for council to do so without stopping the entire project.

She added the developer provided additional written information on what was planned and the path to moving forward.

However, the land use bylaw amendments must take place before the developer could move forward with their agreements with potential businesses, McCallum said.

The development will be located at the entrance of Three Sisters along the Trans-Canada Highway. The site plan has one- and two-storey commercial buildings with retail on the west side.

It would also include two- to four-storey office and light industrial buildings towards the eastern side of the site, as well as a four-storey mixed use.

The project went through first reading in February and was unanimously approved by council.

It’s one of the remaining parcels of land to be developed under the Stewart Creek area structure plan.

A turbo roundabout – often seen in European countries – would also be built to help manage traffic.

Tracy Woitenko, a development planner with the Town, said the subdivision proposal was received by staff and passed along to neighbouring landowners and municipalities to receive any comments.

The Town’s manager of planning and development, Lauren Miller, added there may be additional amendments as the process moves forward since the subdivision phase is ongoing.

Borrowman highlighted the University of Saskatchewan has expressed interest in having a research centre in the development that would also need homes built for staff.