Canmore’s Sustainability Screening Report process will be changed after a task force appointed to review it has come up with several recommendations.
The changes include the planning commission reviewing SSRs and requiring an application for any development over 500 square metres.
But it is a brand new process of environmental footprinting, which has not yet been revealed publicly, that made all the difference from council’s point of view.
“What really became apparent for me out of the process is the footprinting process, which really holds most of the future of the process,” said Mayor Ron Casey. “I think we all saw how valuable that footprinting will be and if we can get that up and running, it is something that will be used across the country.”
The footprinting process is an attempt to measure the impact of a proposed development based on a number of indicators.
It is a spreadsheet application that evaluates the effect of a development in relation to the current situation of the community and compares it to community averages at present, according to a staff report.
The task force recommended the new process be reviewed and completed so that it works in most cases.
Council was unanimous in its support of the recommendations and work of the task force, which included Casey, Councillor Hans Helder, members of the public and development industry.
“I think at the end of the process most of the key issues raised by myself, the building and development industry and the public really have been addressed,” Helder said, adding there are key objective criteria and an appeal process.
Manager of planning Gary Buxton said while the SSR has been in place for a number of years it was an amendment to the subdivision and development regulations of the Municipal Government Act late last year that forced changes to the process.
The amendment, he said, severely curtailed council’s involvement in accepting or having SSRs submitted to it for development permits.
Part of the recommendations for the updated SSR process is that multiple or repeat applications following those at the statutory planning levels would be evaluated by administration for compliance.
An SSR would only be required at the statutory level if it resulted in new development and, except for minor applications, development permit SSRs should be made to the planning commission.
The changes also set out that administrative and CPC-accepted SSRs are appealable to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.
Buxton said the recommendations will be incorporated into a new process and brought back for council approval.
“The task force recommends its life be extended, so changes made by administration over the next few months can be referred back to make sure they meet the intent of the recommendations,” he added.