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Canmore, Sedona to sign friendship agreement between communities

“They’re dealing with the very same issues that we’re dealing with here and they’re about the same size as us,”
Canmore Civic Centre in winter 4
The Canmore Civic Centre. RMO FILE PHOTO

CANMORE – The Town of Canmore has made a new friend.

The Town and City of Sedona in Arizona have come to terms on a friendship agreement between the two municipalities with similar issues from housing, high cost of living, protection of environment and wildlife and resident views of tourism.

“While we have the Canadian Rockies often adorned with glistening white snow, Sedona is nestled between the red sandstone of the Schnebly Hill Formation and the Mogollon Highlands. Both communities are also surrounded by protected national forest and wilderness areas,” stated a report from Canmore Mayor Sean Krausert.

Krausert said the Sedona Sister City Association (SSCA) reached out to him in November, 2022 about the potential partnership.

Though reluctant at first since he didn’t know the expectations, Krausert said after meeting and speaking with the SSCA there were similarities between the two communities.

“They’re dealing with the very same issues that we’re dealing with here and they’re about the same size as us,” Krausert said, noting there was no financial impact or request on the Town.

“They are basically an island tourist destination community just like we are, surrounded by mountains and protected areas. There’s a lot of similar interests in arts and culture and outdoor recreation. The similarities went on and on.”

After visiting Sedona in April, 2023, Krausert said he returned to Canmore and hoped for a community-led initiative rather than it coming from either council or Town staff.

Former two-time council member Rob Seeley headed the initiative with a committee of eight others. Seeley and committee member Martin Buckley, both of Canmore Rotary Club, also travelled to Sedona.

In addition to the local committee, a Feb. 9, 2023, call with Sedona Mayor Scott Jablow and members of its community as well as representatives from the Canmore Museum, Bow Valley Chamber of Commerce, Bow Valley Builders and Development Association, Tourism Canmore Kananaskis and several other groups took place.

“I’m really looking forward to this. … I think it does have excellent merit,” Seeley said at the May 7 council meeting.

Sedona is a community of about 16,000 people to the north of Phoenix and is located in the Coconino National Forest, a 751,000-hectare national forest with several mountain ranges.

The City of Sedona endorsed its agreement with Canmore in April.

Coun. Karen Marra said she was part of a group that went to Truckee, California – northeast of Sacramento and north of Lake Tahoe – last council term to look at a similar initiative.

“It never came to fruition, but I still have contact with some of the councillors and non-councillors of people down there we can exchange information with,” she said. “Our communities are very similar, but because of American law a lot of things are different.”

The Town has an existing sister city in Higashikawa, Japan, which is in the country’s largest national park Daisetsuzan National Park. The relationship was agreed to in 1989.

Krausert said the potential for the friendship contract could benefit both communities.

“This is us working with our community in what I believe is a hugely beneficial and fun relationship with Sedona,” Krausert said.

The two communities will have a virtual signing Sunday (May 19), with Canmore completing its part of the agreement at artsPlace at noon.

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