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Public hearing for proposed Dead Man's Flats development delayed to January

A public hearing to give residents of Dead Man’s Flats a chance to voice opposition or support for a proposed visitor and flexible accommodation of more than 100 units will have to wait.

DEAD MAN'S FLATS - A public hearing to give residents of Dead Man’s Flats a chance to voice opposition or support for a proposed visitor and flexible accommodation of more than 100 units will have to wait.

The hearing, which was set for Monday (Dec. 6), will be delayed until at least January after an error in the public notice was found with the incorrect address for the MD of Bighorn.

The municipality’s CAO Robert Ellis said it would lead to a delay of about a month to meet the requirements of the Municipal Government Act (MGA) and allow residents to have an opportunity to voice support or opposition.

“The real statutory public hearing will take place in early January,” he said.

“The wrong MD address was used. Our apologies for the public and the applicant, but this will need another hearing to conform to the requirements of the MGA.”

When a public hearing is completed, the opportunity for written and oral submissions closes. However, with the hearing not yet formally taking place, it will allow residents an additional month to do so.

He added all adjacent landowners had the notice mailed out and the lone submission was from Alberta Transportation in regards to an interchange functional planning study on the realigning of the intersection that would redirect traffic to 2nd Avenue.

However, the submission highlighted the study had no plans to move forward in the immediate future and the province has not set any budget for the potential study.

“All of the commercial lots along this strip would be affected by this study,” said Jenny Kasprowicz, a development planner with the MD of Bighorn.

“The study states there is no provincial funding allocated to this interchange redevelopment project and it's possible there will be no need to reconstruct the interchange for a significant number of years, depending on the area of redevelopment activity and provincial funding availability.”

She said the study was always referenced in the Dead Man’s Flats area redevelopment plan (ARP), but that “it has been something that’s been in the background for quite a while now.”

The ARP references how the intersection may be upgraded in the future, but no planning has started.

“Note that the need for, and timing of, the proposed overpass will be due to growth in Dead Man’s Flats, but would likely be as a result of the need to replace ageing infrastructure or growth in the Town of Canmore,” the ARP states.

The province would also have multiple opportunities to provide further comment during the conceptual plan and the development permit stage if council were to approve the project.

Max Tayefi – who is acting on behalf of landowner Minesh Modi, the president of the Calgary-based MMP Engineering, through his MT Arch Inc. company – said they were aware of that part of the ARP and don’t see any long-term impact.

“This is not something we have unforeseen,” he said. “We know it has been around for a very long time and the developers have not seen any impact for that future potential.”

The proposed mix-use building has an early conceptual plan of 105 units, with 31 for visitor accommodation and 74 for flexible accommodation. The ground floor would be for commercial use.

The conceptual plan is in the early phases and it will be a while until the project begins if it’s ultimately passed by council.

If approved, the plan would still have to go through the development permit stage and the Municipal Planning Commission would have to OK the conceptual scheme before those permits are issued.

The MD of Bighorn’s operations department would also review any plans and a third-party engineering firm would also examine the plans and return to council with more information.

The MGA requires a public hearing before any second or third reading by a municipal council. Bighorn council did its first reading on Nov. 9.

The site would have four lots of land from the Dead Man’s Flats highway commercial district be amended to the commercial mixed-use district.

Under Bighorn’s municipal development plan (MDP), future development requires commercial use be geared towards tourism, recreationalist and local residents.

The area is part of the Dead Man’s Flats ARP that was adopted in 2013. The plan is the guide map for any redevelopment that occurs in the hamlet for residential, commercial, high industrial, recreational and tourism-based uses.

The goal is to have the area be pedestrian-orientated, while the commercial mixed-use district encourages commercial, residential, office and other uses in the hamlet. The district also has commercial on the ground floor and residential use above it.

Under the MDP, visitor accommodation doesn’t allow people to stay longer than 75 days in a unit and there is no cap on flexible units, potentially leading to a population increase in Dead Man’s Flats.

The taxes collected on the proposed build would be in the commercial category.

At the November meeting, it was also determined the development may push the water and sewer capacities over its limits, necessitating further study into the impact of the development.

If council were to approve any plans, further assessments would be needed for water, wastewater, stormwater, traffic impact, safety, geotechnical and hydrogeological.

The MD of Bighorn contracts the Town of Canmore for water and wastewater in Dead Man’s Flats, while a master plan for both is being developed.

The building’s parking would be underground, but is ultimately decided on at the development permit stage when the exact number of spots needed is known.

MD of Bighorn Reeve Lisa Rosvold said the main concern she had heard from residents was parking.

Tayefi said the land use bylaw allows a maximum of 125, but the conceptual plan has 131 spots for both under and aboveground parking. He said the aboveground would be for the commercial aspect, while the underground is for the visitor and flexible units.

The concept would allow one spot per visitor unit, which Rosvold voiced concern over whether it was enough, especially for the units with three bedrooms and potentially bringing more vehicles than the site would have.

“I don’t know if that’s a safe assumption,” she said of one unit needing one spot, “but from hearing community members that’s their primary concern about the rezoning.”