Alberta mountain town loses appeal on order by tribunal to allow major developments

Mountain town loses appeal

Alberta's highest court has dismissed an appeal by a popular mountain community to reverse a decision by a provincial tribunal ordering it to allow two major developments that would almost double the town's population.

Canmore town council had rejected the proposed Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek projects, but the Land and Property Rights Tribunal of Alberta ruled in May 2022 that both developments could go ahead.

The town, west of Calgary, had applied for permission to appeal that decision to the Court of Appeal of Alberta and it was allowed to proceed on questions of law and jurisdiction.

"The town has not established a basis upon which we can interfere with the tribunal's decisions," said the decision by three justices released Tuesday.

The 30-page decision said the tribunal made "no reviewable error" in concluding it had jurisdiction to hear the appeals and did not exceed its authority under the Municipal Government Act.

The justices acknowledged, however, that the planning and development issues underlying the appeal have divided the community.

"There are strongly held and divergent views about what development should or should not occur," said the decision. "It is not the role of this court to decide whose view is right."

The two proposals on Canmore's eastern edge include about 80 per cent of the town's remaining developable land and raised concerns about affordable housing and wildlife.

The decisions by the tribunal, however, found both developments met the parameters set out in a 1992 review of the Three Sisters area by the Natural Resources Conservation Board.

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