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Updates coming for Teepee Town area redevelopment plan

“The take away from the 2017 engagement, was that residents were open to changing the development regulations that govern Teepee Town."
The Town of Canmore will see Teepee Town's ARP's first reading at the Dec. 3 council meeting. RMO File photo.

CANMORE – After the initial area redevelopment plan (ARP) approval in 2005 for the Teepee Town area of Canmore, a long awaited update to the bylaw will be put forward for first reading by council in December.

Council was provided an update on the Teepee Town ARP the September committee of the whole meeting, which included in five major changes for consideration, including the requirement of efficient use of land and the encouragement of a range of housing opportunities.

“It should be noted, while several changes will made to the policies of the ARP, the changes being made are considered amendments to the existing document instead of a recreation of the ARP, the existing objectives are unchanged from the document,” said development planner with the Town of Canmore Nathan Grivell.

Grivell said a more policy and user-focused ARP document will be put forward, as the current bylaw's level of detail is unusual for an ARP. As well, its transportation policies will be updated, and the ARP will adhere with the most recent Municipal Development Plan (MDP).

“The scope of the ARP project includes ensuring that land in Teepee Town is developed efficiently,” said Grivell.

“For example, administration will analyze the land use concept for Teepee Town looking for opportunities to adjust densities to support context sensitive intensification. Also supporting the creation of increased housing opportunities in Teepee Town. For example, explore ways to encourage the development of rental housing as part of redevelopment through increased built form options incentives and allowing for suites and multi-family developments.”

Mayor John Borrowman focused on looking for ways to encourage rental housing development within TeePee Town.

“It would be nice if as a part of this discussion and project work, we look for ways to encourage not only the development of rental housing, but encourage the inclusion of controlled affordable renting housing, as a part of the build out and as part of the development,” said Borrowman.

“If it’s exorbitant rent, it doesn’t really benefit the community directly, and this is part of a parcel of issues that we’ve tried to deal with for a couple of decades.”

While Grivell agreed, he indicated the difficulty in controlling rental rates.

“We cannot require a specific rent to be charged, but I hear what you’re saying, we’ll see what we can do,” he said.

The Teepee Town ARP was approved by council in 2005, though Grivell said since that time the neighbourhood has not undergone as much redevelopment as anticipated, with only 15 per cent of existing structures being redeveloped.

Between 2014-16, the Teepee Town task force and the development community asked that the ARP be reviewed with concerns surrounding its lack of user-friendliness, and a need for more flexibility. That review has been in process since 2017.

“Since 2017, administration has been reviewing the ARP and Teepee Town CR district – the project initially focused on changes to the district for such things as building heights, building setback, landscaping and so forth. However, additional amendments were required to the ARP to eliminate duplication of language currently found between the ARP and the LUB [Land Use Bylaw],” said Grivell.

An online survey and an open house were conducted to gather feedback from the community.

“The take away from the 2017 engagement, was that residents were open to changing the development regulations that govern Teepee Town,” said Grivell.

“The highlights of the feedback received include; support for suites in duplexes and in townhouses in all areas, preference for development flexibility over a distinct neighbourhood, a preference for landscaping with new development over preserving mature trees, and a preference for maintaining current parking requirements. In addition, residents were open to increasing building heights and also open to more modern architecture – contemporary mountain-town style architecture.”

The ARP will be in front of council for consideration of first reading at the Dec. 3 council meeting. In addition, an open house held Thursday (Oct. 3) at 5 p.m. at the Coast Canmore Hotel and Conference Centre by the Town will give residents an opportunity to see the plan. For more information, the Teepee Town ARP can be found on the Town’s website at

About the Author: Alana MacLeod

Alana MacLeod is a reporter for the Rocky Mountain Outlook. Previously, she worked for Global News Toronto as a news producer and writer. Follow her on Twitter: @Lans_macleod
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