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Spring Creek to bring forward amendments to next development phase

Residents were provided with more information for the ongoing plans in the Spring Creek neighbourhood in a virtual open house.

CANMORE – Residents were provided with more information for the ongoing plans in the Spring Creek Mountain Village neighbourhood.

In a virtual open house, the plans were brought forward for land use bylaw and area redevelopment plan amendments to the first phase of the growing community.

Frank Kernick, a longtime developer in the community, called the ongoing project his “legacy project” since purchasing the lands from his family in 2002.

Originally a dairy farm in his family and then a trailer park and campground in the 1950s, the area is being redeveloped after being approved nearly two decades ago.

“All things change and all communities must move forward. We’re not moving back to the dairy farm days or the coal mines Canmore used to be,” Kernick said in an email. “Development, if done properly, leaves a positive impact on the community. After everything I’ve learned developing over 30 years, being a steward of these lands is very personal for me (in) building a community the rest of Canmore is proud of, my family is proud of and that I am proud of.”

Proposed amendments are for the Alexander and Kernick Place hotels, roof height amendments for a small section of the hotels, parking updates and a visitor unit count and traffic generation update. The expectation for first reading is this summer.

Additional information on the proposed employee housing and retail space for Castle Mountain Home Furnishings at a one-acre site on Bow Valley Trail and Spring Creek Drive were also shown in the roughly one hour long meeting. The existing spot, which is vacant land, will see a four-storey building with 20 to 40 units developed, if approved.

The amendments follow a November virtual open house that allowed the public to give feedback and raise concerns. The open house brought forward concerns of trails behind the Alexander Hotel to protect the creek area and lower potential noise, which was reflected in the latest information.

The discussion highlighted the amendments to the first phase, which would see two new hotels on Spring Creek Drive for an increase of 50 units over the originally approved 200 in the ARP.

The roof heights for a small section of the hotels will also be reduced from 16 metres to 12 after hearing from residents.

The Spring Creek area redevelopment plan was originally approved in 2004 and has been gradually developed since 2009. The plan allowed for 800 to 1,200 residential units and 200 hotel rooms.

The Canmore Planning Commission approved the 80-unit Tamarack Lodge in 2019 and construction began in 2020. Earlier this year, the commission also approved a 46-unit four-storey building that included six affordable housing units, a daycare and a live/work studio.

The area was previously the Restwell Trailer Park with 220 mobile homes and RV sites.

The transportation forecasts also show the area of Main Street and Spring Creek Drive are not expected to go past 3,000 vehicles a day, while the previous motor home use saw it exceed the number, Máire Mc Namee, an urban planner with McElhanney, said.

However, it’s estimated to generate less traffic than originally believed in 2003 since different methods of transit are prioritized in the town.

“Traffic behaviour in the Town of Canmore has evolved in the past six years and mobile transit such as walking or biking are favoured opposed to vehicles as the main form of transportation,” Mc Namee added.

If approved, there would be a fourth and final phase to be completed for Spring Creek Mountain Village in the coming years.

Kernick noted the plans for the Alexander Hotel include being family friendly, while the tourist homes would go from 300 to 325, leaving it under the 550 tourist home and hotel units approved in the ARP.

He added the ARP allowed for 1,200 homes, but it’s likely to be closer to 950. Of those, there are 300 tourist homes permitted, but he highlighted the homes are able to be lived in full-time or rented out by the owner, or Spring Creek Vacations can manage them.

“It gives people the opportunity if they can’t financially live full-time (in Canmore) right now and it’s just weekends, it means it’s not sitting empty. … at least the buildings aren’t dark windows,” Kernick said. “That’s something that’s important to me in Spring Creek is to make sure the community is alive and active with people living in them and participating in the community even though they might be (renting) by the night.”

People can visit for more information.

About the Author: Greg Colgan

Greg is the editor for the Outlook.
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