I am writing to express my concern and dismay about the province’s decision to proceed with the Three Sisters Mountain Village development under an assessment that was done 32 years ago – a full generation ago. It is unbelievable that such a time-bound decision would be the basis for altering the entire natural and cultural character of Canmore and the Bow Valley.
The pace of social and environmental change over the past 32 years has been excruciating, irrespective of one’s age. What were you doing in 1992? Going to restaurants where smoking was still allowed? Intrigued about this new thing called email? That was a long time ago, and 1992 was the same year that the infamous Natural Resources Conservation Board ruling in support of Three Sisters came down – a decision that has haunted Canmore residents every day since.
What about my individual and collective rights and responsibilities as a long-term Canmore resident? What about the climate crisis, which has now become climate trauma? What about the affordable housing crisis, and the loss of biodiversity crisis? How does adding hotels and second homes for 15,000 more people help? The forest fire hazard is high and increasing. The downstream users of the Bow River are already fighting over the limited water supply, and we intend to double the population? Our rivers and aquifers have dropped precipitously, and we are expecting another drought. Grizzly bears became a threatened species in Alberta. Proceeding with TSMV, knowing what we now know, is not only completely irresponsible, but is also madness.
The only alternative is to submit the Three Sisters development proposals to an environmental assessment under the Alberta government’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA). Allowing a development that is blind to the realities of our crisis-driven world is unacceptable. Proceeding under an assessment that was done 32 years ago is also unacceptable, and perhaps criminal, for a government charged with protecting the interests of all Albertans.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the risks outlined above are sufficient justification to warrant an assessment under the EPEA. Please do the right thing and act with wisdom, courage, and foresight.