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Subdivision approved for Silvertip commercial development to commence

"I am pleased to see some commercial development commencing on Silvertip lands. I think that is very important for moving forward with the delivery of the area structure plan."
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Lot 1, Block 3 in Silvertip, shown in yellow, has been approved for subdivision to provide 17 lots of resort accommodation and one resort amenity lot for a possible spa development. SUBMITTED IMAGE

CANMORE – Stone Creek Resorts plans to move forward with a spa and resort accommodation in Silvertip with approval of subdivision for the commercial development Tuesday (Oct. 12). 

Town of Canmore development planner Tracy Woitenko presented the application to the subdivision approving authority, which is made up of council members and the mayor, with a long list of conditions that must be met prior to development.

"This application is for 17 resort accommodation lots and one resort amenity lot," Woitenko said. "The recommendation today is that the subdivision authority approve the subdivision subject to a number of conditions." 

Stone Creek's vice-president of resort and community development Jason Kelder said the vision is to create purpose-built short-term rental accommodation to support Silvertip's resort operations like its golf course.

"Other than this year, we have a vigorous wedding business at Silvertip and families want to stay on property, close to the venue and they enjoy the seclusion and the views," Kelder said. "This is what this type of accommodation will provide." 

The area in question, a portion of Lot 1 Block 3, sits along a bench between Silvertip Trail and Little Ravine Road. It would require a new roadway to be developed – Silvertip Village Lane. Woitenko said the applicant indicated that the final section of Silvertip Trail that goes to the golf course along with the new laneway would be dedicated as a public roadway. 

"They would like this road to become public, instead of remaining private," she said. "But there are quite steep slopes below the bench, and above [the subdivision] there is a gully.

"This kind of topography means there will be a quite a bit of extra road cuts and fills required." 

She said Silvertip Trail does not meet the municipality's engineering and design guidelines and would have to before it would be accepted as a public road. 

The geotechnical report, from E2K, contains a number of recommendations for how to deal with the soil types and steep grades. Woitenko said a construction management plan will be required, but that would come at a later stage in the process. 

Woitenko detailed the various factors that are considered at subdivision. That included stormwater design, steep creek hazard assessment, erosion and slope issues, sidewalks and trail locations and design standards, utilities, a deferred municipal reserve contribution and emergency access. 

"Emergency access is not required at this time because of the density and type of development," she said. 

Woitenko said the application is consistent with the Municipal Development Plan and the Silvertip Area Structure Plan (ASP) approved in 2007. That includes requirements around phasing of commercial and residential development.

"The phasing of the area structure plan requires commercial development to occur prior to any further residential development," she said, adding a subdivision application for residential housing is currently being processed by planning and development. 

One area flagged for the subdivision authority was around the resort accommodation use, which has not yet been developed in Canmore. Visitor accommodation, or hotels, and tourist homes, which are residential units that are zoned and used as commercial, differ somewhat to the new use.

"This would be the first development of this type in the town of Canmore and we are recommending it is registered with a restrictive covenant," she said. "The restrictive covenant would secure the commercial use required by the phasing of the ASP, but it would also secure the Town of Canmore's ability to attain that commercial taxation piece." 

The units would be booked through a central reservation system and Kelder said the ownership model, which still has to be determined, could be a strata, where individuals own percentages of a piece of property together. 

"It is our intention to set this up with an owner-registered covenant that prevents individuals from renting it outside of rental management," he said. "That would be set up prior to the first transaction and it would make it binding on future owners." 

The first application in the subdivision for resort accommodation would go to council as the development approval authority. 

As for the list of 19 conditions that were set out as part of the approval, Kelder said he is satisfied they can all be met through a detailed-design submission. 

"We are excited to start the next commercial development in Silvertip and hopefully this will be a trigger to greater advancement on the commercial side," he said. 

Mayor John Borrowman noted the significance of commercial development proceeding in Silvertip, which has been envisioned as part of the municipality's development plans for 30 years. 

"This subdivision is consistent with all of our informing documents," Borrowman said. "I am pleased to see some commercial development commencing on Silvertip lands. I think that is very important for moving forward with the delivery of the area structure plan." 

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