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Settlement agreement should be honoured

Editor: In the Feb. 2 edition of the Outlook, Paul Clarke wrote about the public hearing into the rezoning proposed for the Peaks of Grassi neighbourhood of Canmore.
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Editor: In the Feb. 2 edition of the Outlook, Paul Clarke wrote about the public hearing into the rezoning proposed for the Peaks of Grassi neighbourhood of Canmore.

The article mentioned comments by general manager of infrastructure Michael Fark to the effect that “it is the position of Administration that these [eight concerns raised by the public] have been adequately addressed through the technique components.”

I find this opinion very hard to understand and believe that it would be useful to have a detailed justification for this conclusion to be made public prior to the Council meeting on March 19.

In fairness to Mr. Fark, he also recognised “that there was significant opposition within the neighbourhood and in the broader community to the application moving forward.”

During the public hearing, the proponent for the project said in his opening statement that at the open house he had arranged he was “overwhelmed by support from attendees,” 75 of them apparently. A letter of support for the project was signed by 58 people.

At the hearing support for the project was sparse, even “underwhelming.” Two people spoke in support, one of them being the proponent.

By contrast 32 people spoke against the project and one spoke from a neutral position. I believe 23 of the opponents lived in Peaks; nine did not.

Personally, I have opposed this project since day one because ethically it would be wrong to proceed with a project that would ignore a settlement agreement reached in 1998 fought for by our mayor and council of the day, which residents understandably believed capped the development.

Not to mention other issues like the risk of steep creek flooding and the critical fact that this community is already a major point of wildlife/ human interaction.

Prior to the last municipal election, I attended packed and standing room only meetings where candidates for mayor, and for council, made presentations.

A theme common to all these presentations assured the electorate they would embrace clarity, open discussion and would take very seriously the views of residents.

Candidates in Canmore’s municipal elections are residents; they are friends, acquaintances, or are known to us and approachable. Consequently, we expect, and most often receive, recognition of our views.

But not always. I respectfully suggest that consideration of the proposed bylaw potentially altering the Peaks neighbourhood will reveal the extent to which our mayor and new council will fulfil the promises they made prior to being elected. 

Gerry Stephenson,

Canmore