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LETTER: Opposed to development on Three Sisters lands

Editor: The citizens of Canmore have been asked to make their comments regarding the area structure plans (ASP) for the Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek put forward by Three Sisters Mountain Village (TSMV).


The citizens of Canmore have been asked to make their comments regarding the area structure plans (ASP) for the Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek put forward by Three Sisters Mountain Village (TSMV).

I oppose the proposed new ASPs for the following reasons.

Traffic congestion. The ASPs would allow for another 14,500 people to reside along Three Sisters Drive.

The Town’s 2018 Integrated Transportation Plan (IT Plan) shows 2030 “envisioned” traffic volumes. But I could not find any assumption of what population will be in place by that time.

Does it include the additional 14,500 people? What about the increased day trippers that we have witnessed during the COVID pandemic? The IT Plan has no significant improvements planned for the Three Sisters drive into downtown. 

The IT Plan, the MDP, and the ASPs all suggest that “active” modes of travel will be encouraged. Yet the IT Plan has no plan to make cycling or walking any better on the west side of the river whatsoever. It suggests that cyclists coming out of downtown use the very busy Rundle Dr/Three Sisters Drive, which has steep grades and little in the way of shoulders or safety considerations.

TSMV certainly puts paths in their development. But the only pathway connection from there to downtown has a 1.1-km gravel path section that can’t be plowed in the winter.

This results in glacial ice along that entire stretch during much of the winter, with steep, narrow gravel/ice paths from neighbourhoods above. How will that encourage walking and cycling? 

The ASP shows buses running through the TSMV. Will the cliental living or visiting in the TSMV be the type to take the bus? The buses will certainly be impeded by increased traffic congestion.

Undermining. As a former geologist, I have paid a lot of attention to this. The undermining presentation by Three Sisters/Quantum Developments was technically reasonable. 

However, let’s be very clear: undetermined portions of the TSMV will become Town property (roads, pathways, parks, etc.). If a failure occurs under those lands, it’s the taxpayer’s problem.

I know we’ve developed other districts (e.g. Rundleview) over undermining, but why increase the potential risk exposure to allow only developers to reap the rewards? The 2020 Undermining Guideline states: “Prediction of future subsidence risk has great uncertainty”. 

Wildlife and fencing. Fences designed to keep big animals out, and people in, will surround the TSMV. There are no fences in any other neighbourhoods in Canmore. I think fencing is entirely unnecessary and a detriment to wildlife.

Master Plan? What’s the ultimate build out number with Silvertip, Spring Creek and Three Sisters? What’s the plan now? 

Personal communications with elected officials in this Town suggest they don’t think that the development will happen fast, and that solutions to problems will come along. I don’t believe that.

One only has to see what has happened to people’s work/school habits during the pandemic. There has been a disruption which is why real estate is driving upwards here. 

I would encourage people to go out and walk the proposed TSMV area and decide if you would like to see a massive development there, or perhaps a diminished version.

Let your Town councillors know. We live here for the mountains and wildlife. Not the spas and restaurants.

Duane Kohut,