The board of directors of the Bow Valley Builders and Developers Association (BOWDA) is concerned that the Town of Canmore council has not prioritized providing guidance to Town of Canmore administration to address the pressing lack of housing in our community – specifically regarding a more proactive approach towards employee housing. This is particularly evident in the Bow Meadows Crescent area.
BOWDA believes affordable housing in Canmore needs to involve a portfolio of housing types, which provide a variety of housing typologies in different districts, including light industrial areas. The absence of clear guidance is resulting in administration deferring decisions to unelected – appointed by council – third parties in the Subdivision Development Appeal Board and Canmore Planning Commission. This decision avoidance is a step that is not necessary, is costly, inefficient and delays critical delivery of housing.
We urge council to promptly review the Canmore land use bylaw in relation to housing such as that proposed in the Bow Meadows area and render guidance to administration. The interpretation of the Municipal Development Plan regarding both industrial and housing is in conflict and this needs to be rectified.
The employee housing solutions recently suggested in Canmore are only one piece of the puzzle, however, the shortage of low-cost housing for employees in Canmore will result in businesses closing or relocating. This is a critical issue that cannot be overlooked, postponed, or delayed pending yet another study. Preserving second floor industrial is pointless if there are no employees to work in businesses that may one day occupy those areas.
We implore council to act and provide explicit, consistent, and effective guidance to the administration to solve this problem. This should include setting realistic goals and implementing strategies to achieve those objectives. Although it may not be an easy task, it is crucial to ensure that all employees in need of housing eventually have access to adequate and affordable housing.
Bow Valley Builders and Developers Association