QuantumPlace Developments Ltd. (QPD), on behalf of Three Sisters Mountain Village Properties Ltd. (TSMVPL) is pleased to let you know that the Resort Centre Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Third Party Review and subsequent EIS Addendum are now publicly available. We would also like to provide an update on the Smith Creek Area Structure Plan (ASP) application.
Background on the EIS and Third Party Review
In September 2015, the Town of Canmore and QPD jointly selected Golder Associates Ltd. (Golder), to conduct the environmental assessment for the collaborative ASP process for the Smith Creek ASP. QPD chose to work with Golder on the Resort Centre ASP amendment as a continuation of the existing relationship established between all parties. TSMVPL and QPD have invested significant time working with Golder to conduct a thorough, rigorous, transparent, and professional environmental assessment to assist TSMVPL in preparing their application, and to assist Canmore Council in their consideration of Three Sisters Mountain Village.
The Resort Centre EIS was completed in March, 2017 and can be viewed HERE
In September 2016, the Town of Canmore approved an EIS Policy that required the Resort Centre EIS to undergo a Third-Party Review. Generally, a Third-Party Review is intended to evaluate the scientific validity of the EIS and to suggest improvements or alternatives to improve on the analysis methods, results and recommendations of the EIS. Fiera Biological Consulting (Fiera) was retained by the Town of Canmore to conduct the Third-Party Review for the Resort Centre EIS.
While Fiera’s review provides some useful information, feedback, and requests for clarification, the Third-Party Review unfortunately focusses almost entirely on technical aspects of modelling, largely ignoring the substantial data and evidence that support the analysis of project impacts, cumulative impacts, and the development of mitigations. Based on what Golder believes are Fiera’s errors and misinterpretations when evaluating models, along with significant omissions and irregularities contained within the Third-Party Review, Golder and TSMVPL feel the Third-Party Review report essentially presents an evaluation of the Resort Centre EIS that is of limited usefulness. Concerningly, Fiera’s review appears to be inconsistent with the Council’s direction via their Terms of Reference.
Golder’s Resort Centre EIS was based on a thorough study of the potential environmental effects of the proposed project on the environment, including both quantitative and qualitative analyses. This was consistent with the Terms of Reference approved by Canmore Council for the EIS. The EIS identifies potential environmental impacts, proposed mitigations, and assessed predicted impacts after mitigation based on an analysis of extensive local data about wildlife, human use and other environmental conditions in the area. The modelling is used as just part of the consideration and evaluation to assist with the analysis of impacts and development of mitigations for wildlife; however, many other factors, such as site-specific wildlife information, habitat models, species-specific scientific literature and precautionary assumptions, were used to provide confidence in the EIS predictions. Remaining potential uncertainty regarding EIS predictions, required monitoring and adaptive management options are identified and discussed in the EIS at length.
It is worth noting that in the Third-Party Review report, Fiera did agree with the comprehensive mitigation strategy put forth in the Resort Centre EIS to mitigate the effects of development on wildlife habitat and wildlife corridors. For more information on the proposed wildlife mitigations click HERE. In addition to the comprehensive wildlife mitigation strategy, a monitoring and adaptive management strategy is outlined in the EIS and is proposed to be implemented as a cooperative exercise between the developer, the Town and the Province. If implemented, this strategy will monitor the effectiveness of the mitigations proposed and allow for all parties to work collaboratively to protect wildlife and people around the future development in and around Three Sisters Mountain Village.
In response to the Third-Party Review, Golder prepared an Addendum Report for the EIS to provide clarification on the items found within the Third-Party Review.
Smith Creek ASP Application Update
In January of 2017, QPD, on behalf of TSMVPL, submitted an application for a wildlife corridor alignment to the Province of Alberta. Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) continues its technical review of the TSMV Wildlife Corridor Application and the public input that it has received. Earlier this week, AEP determined that additional time is required to fully evaluate all components of the application and anticipates that an additional 4 to 8 weeks could be required to complete the review.
Given the inherent link between the TSMV Wildlife Corridor alignment currently being reviewed by the Province, and the development area in Smith Creek, TSMVPL has decided delay the Smith Creek ASP Council process until the Province issues a decision about the wildlife corridor. The proposed Resort Centre ASP amendment will remain on the original timeline and will be presented to Council for 1st Reading on May 2, 2017.
TSMV is proud to be part of the Town of Canmore and have the opportunity to offer residents the best in mountain living in the midst of beautiful scenery. If you have any questions about the EIS, Third-Party Review, the Addendum or the application process moving forward, please feel free to get in touch. We would love to hear from you!