New development approved for Montane Road housing project

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The new owner of a derelict development in Canmore’s visitor accommodation area of Kananaskis Way has received new approvals to move forward with construction.

Canmore Planning Commission approved the development permit last Thursday (Aug. 24) for 110 Montane Road, submitted by a commercial partnership formed to develop the site.

Municipal development planner Marcus Henry presented the application to the commission, noting a long and storied past with the property dating back to 1994, when the first application was received in relation to development on site for 94 visitor accommodation units in five buildings.

In 1998, the approval was expanded to 107 units, with bus parking and underground parking. In 1999, a sales centre was applied for and in 2001 renewal to that permit granted.

By 2004, the application for the site took a different direction, with 88 visitor accommodation units in six buildings with 28 surface parking stalls, and that same year the permit was revised to five buildings, 20 units with garages and 40 parking stalls.

Henry said in 2007 a garage was turned into a showhome, but from 2007-13 the permits issued for the previous approval lapsed without a final inspection. The Alberta numbered company spearheading the project – Bighorn Mountain Resort – went into receivership and was stuck in that process until 2013.

For a brief period, the $20 million project was rebranded as Innoka, but that also failed and the derelict half finished condo project sat idle, causing concerns for neighbouring residents on Kananaskis Way until earlier this year when it was demolished.

The project has seen multiple owners since it was removed from receivership status, with the most recent owners – the Montane Partnership – reaching the conclusion soon after purchasing the property that the structures were no longer salvageable.

“We acquired the site in April 2016 and our original vision was to complete what was there,” said Dave Hall with the ownership group. “As we completed a review, we found a lot of poor construction, structural rot and mould. We made the decision the only proper way to move forward was to demolish the structures and start fresh.”

The project was comprised of five blocks of four townhomes ranging in size from 2,500 to 2,700 square feet with three bedrooms plus a media room and a 5,000 square foot amenities building.

Demolition, however, did not include the foundations, which Hall said were found to still be structurally sound through an engineering assessment. The new development permit approved by the commission retains the layout of the site, with 20 visitor accommodation units.

“It is easy to replicate what we saw in the 2004 approval of the 20 visitor accommodation units in five buildings and with 40 parking stalls,” Henry told the commission.

The development permit required two variances to be approved – one to the roof height for the end units of each building, which has a slightly taller height than the Land Use Bylaw permits. There was also a variance to setbacks in relation to where the buildings were situated in relation to adjacent properties.

Henry said there were no concerns by administration over the variances, as one reflects the fact that grades on the site change significantly as one travels down Montane Road toward Bow Valley Trail. The other factor was that by keeping the foundations of the previously approved project, the setbacks were needed.

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Rocky Mountain Outlook