CANMORE – The rejected Three Sisters Village area structure plan will head to a provincial appeal after Three Sisters Mountain Village Properties Limited filed its paperwork Monday (Aug. 9).
The appeal was filed under Section 619 of the Municipal Government Act (MGA) to the Land and Property Rights Tribunal and is the second following TSMV’s decision to appeal the defeated Smith Creek ASP on July 12.
“TSMVPL remains disappointed in the Council decisions on our ASPs, as we believe that they are both very strong applications with numerous community benefits and lengthy engagement processes,” Chris Ollenberger, the director of strategy and development with Three Sisters Mountain Village, said.
“The appeal to the Land and Property Rights Tribunal for the Smith Creek and Three Sisters Village ASPs is a necessary step for TSMVPL.”
The Town confirmed receipt of the appeal and declined comment, citing it being an ongoing legal matter.
“Due to the fact this is an active legal file we do not have any comments to provide at this time,” Adam Robertson, a communications advisor with the Town of Canmore, said.
Under the stipulations of Section 619 of the MGA, a hearing will start within 60 days. Once the appeal is completed, a decision has to be rendered by the tribunal within 30 days.
Three Sisters Mountain Village Properties Limited (TSMVPL) was granted a judicial review for the Three Sisters Village ASP on July 22. The Smith Creek ASP was also given judicial review on June 25 by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.
Both judicial reviews were adjourned sine die, which means there’s no timeline for completion in the same manner the appeal has.
If needed, the judicial reviews would examine whether or not the defeated ASPs were handled lawfully and fairly by the Town of Canmore and council. The MGA requires all land planning matters such as an ASP be determined through a legislative framework to have a fair and thorough process for the applicant and the public.
TSMVPL previously asked for mediation with the Town of Canmore on the defeated Smith Creek and Three Sisters Village ASPs in late May, but the Town rejected the ask with council already having voted on their decision.
The 1992 NRCB decision and Section 619 of the MGA allow a proponent – in this case TSMVPL – to appeal a council’s denial ASPs.
The Municipal Government Board would have previously handled the process. However, the province amalgamated the MGA and three other independent quasi-judicial boards in the Land and Property Rights Tribunal on June 2.
The Land Compensation Board, the New Home Buyer Protection Board and the Surface Rights Board are also part of the tribunal and established under the Land and Property Rights Tribunal Act.
The joining of the four boards was tabled in November under Bill 48: Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act as part of the Alberta Recovery Plan. The province claimed the move will save money and streamline the process to help make it quicker to proceed with an appeal.
Though the lengthy public hearing for the ASPs lasted six days and heard from several hundred people, Section 619 stipulates the tribunal will only hear from the appellant and the municipality an appeal is made against.
None of the amendments made by Canmore council would be considered since the ASPs were defeated, meaning the original plans submitted in late 2020 would be the only ones being decided on.
The last appeal heard under Section 619 of the MGA was between an appellant of 11 landowners against the County of Paintearth following a rejection by their Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) for a wind farm project near the Town of Halkirk.
The court sided with the landowners since in 2018 the Alberta Utilities Commission had deemed the project in the public interest prior to the SDAB rejection. Due to a duty of procedural fairness, the court referred the project back to the county’s SDAB and complied the county to approve the originally rejected development permits.
In 1997, previous owners – Three Sisters Golf Resorts – won an appeal against the Town over a planning submission that was defeated in 1996. Following the appeal win, the Town filed its own appeal and the two sides eventually settled in 1998.