There are two main occasions when citizens of a municipality such as Canmore have the legal right to make their voices heard.
One is when we cast our votes in a municipal election, where each vote is equal in choosing members for town council.
The other occasion is when citizens make verbal or written submissions at a public hearing on documents such as a municipal development plan, an area structure plan (ASP) or a land use bylaw, where each submission carries its own legal weight.
Unfortunately, the number of submissions made by the Canmore public within the six days of public hearings on the Three Sisters Mountain Village Properties Village ASP and Smith Creek ASP do not appear to have been counted by the Town of Canmore, nor were they referred to by the Town administration in the request for decision on these two ASPs.
When our volunteer organization compiled the 10 pages with the names of those citizens who made verbal submissions and the 48 pages of those who made written submissions, out of a total of 2,169 public submissions, 1938 citizens were opposed to both the Village and Smith Creek ASPs and bylaws, 152 were in favour, 71 were neutral, conditional, or concerned about both ASPs and bylaws and eight had mixed views.
While Town administration works hard to bring forward ASPs from developers, the public hearing is the one legal opportunity that the public has to make their views known, and it is council, as our elected representatives, who make the final decision on the basis of the will of the people and the public interest.
Heather MacFadyen, Chair
Bow Corridor Organization for Responsible Development