The Town of Canmore is seeking public input on its update to the Palliser area structure plan (ASP).
Bow Valley Climate Action Society (BVCA) strongly supports the Town’s goal of updating the ASP to prioritize the development of diverse, affordable and attainable housing.
However, in the proposed ASP, the Town does not mention the direct link between energy-efficient housing and affordable housing nor how the updated ASP reflects the Town’s own Climate Action Plan (CAP).
The Town of Canmore’s CAP (2018) states: “ensure all new Town facilities including affordable housing projects are built to near net zero or a similar high green building standard.”
Because the Palliser Trail ASP deals entirely with public lands, it presents a unique opportunity for the Town to make progress on its climate commitments while achieving lower total costs of building ownership/rental for those who live in and use the buildings.
There are various recent Albertan and Canadian studies which demonstrate there are long-term cost savings associated with building highly-efficient buildings. These cost savings exceed the additional up-front costs at time of construction to build more energy efficient buildings.
In 2021, the Town of Banff updated its Municipal Sustainable Building Policy to require all new Town of Banff and Banff Housing Corporation buildings meet new energy performance specifications that are designed to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy costs and exposure to carbon pricing.
An objective of this Banff policy is to “yield long-term cost savings to ratepayers and building occupants through reduced life cycle energy, maintenance, and retrofit costs for all buildings under municipal control.”
BVCA urges the Town of Canmore to follow the example set by the Town of Banff and revise the policies in the Palliser Trail ASP update and/or create a new Town of Canmore Municipal Sustainable Building Policy to ensure construction on the Palliser lands results in the same cost savings for Canmore ratepayers and residents. This policy update must occur prior to any further development in the Palliser Trail area.
A full version of BVCA’s letter to the Town of Canmore can be found on our website at: www.bowvalleyclimateaction.org.
on behalf of Bow Valley Climate Action Society