Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek Area Structure Plan Legal Proceedings Information
March 22, 2023
The Town of Canmore's (Town) appeal of the LPRT Decisions to the Court of Appeal of Alberta will be heard on April 3, 2023. The hearing will occur in person at the Court of Appeal in Calgary. In addition to the allotted 45 minute verbal submissions, the parties have filed substantial written submissions that the Court will consider in making its decision on the appeals.
The relief that the Town is seeking from the Court of Appeal for each of the two LPRT Decisions is to:
Set aside the LPRT Decision and, depending on the outcome of the Appeal with respect to the grounds of appeal, either: confirm the LPRT did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal and make the Order contained in the LPRT Decision, or; provide directions regarding a new hearing.
To view the Notices of Appeal, see below:
There is no deadline for the Court to issue a decision on the appeals, it is anticipated that a decision will be issued by December 2023.
January 17, 2023
Council authorized external litigation counsel to sign an agreement on behalf of the Town with Three Sisters Mountain Village Properties Ltd. to
- a) adjourn the mandamus application to no set date; and
- b) not take steps to reschedule the mandamus application until the sooner of the date a decision is issued by the Alberta Court of Appeal in relation to the Land and Property Rights Tribunal (LPRT) appeals or a date as negotiated by legal counsel;
- c) pay court costs for steps taken to date for the mandamus application to TSMVPL in accordance with column 1 of Schedule C of the Alberta Rules of Court;
on condition that, if the Court of Appeal affirms the decisions and orders the Town to adopt the Area Structure Plans,
- a) the Town will do so within 30 days of the date of the Court of Appeal’s decision;
- b) the Town will forego all additional appeals of the LPRT decisions, including seeking leave to appeal from the Supreme Court of Canada;
- c) the Town will adopt the MDP amendments related to the ASPs within 30 days of the pronouncement of the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision by way of issuance of Reasons for Decision, without convening public hearings, their necessity relieved by the Municipal Government Act s. 619(9);
- d) the Town will not charge any fees to TSMVPL for processing the ASPs and MDP amendments related to the approval of the ASPs.
October 25, 2022
The Court of Appeal granted permission to the Town of Canmore to appeal the LPRT Decisions to the Court.
On Oct. 25, 2022, the Honourable Justice Jolaine Antonio of the Court of Appeal of Alberta released the decision and found the Town of Canmore's appeal is "of sufficient importance to merit a further appeal" indicating satisfaction that the Town's appeal should proceed to a panel review. The Town of Canmore noted nine grounds for appeal and Justice Antonio found “proposed grounds of appeal are interrelated and pertain to the scope of the Town's involvement and ability to apply its own processes in considering applications for projects within its boundaries. These issues are compounded by the evolution of the legal landscape surrounding project development in the 30 years since the NRCB approval.”
A copy of the decision is here. We are taking the time to review the decision and will provide a further update when it is appropriate to do so.
October 20, 2022
The Town has made its application for permission to appeal the decisions of the provincial Land and Property Rights Tribunal (LPRT) concerning the Smith Creek and Three Sisters Village ASPs to the Alberta Court of Appeal and is waiting on a decision from the court as to whether this appeal can proceed. Three Sisters Mountain Village Properties Ltd. (TSMVPL) has commenced a separate court action seeking an order on the Town to adopt the Smith Creek and Three Sisters Village Area Structure Plans (ASPs), known as an order of “mandamus”. You can view the mandamus application here.
These are two separate court proceedings running concurrently, either of which could require the Town to approve the ASPs.
August 31, 2022
The Town has filed its submissions on its application for permission to appeal the LPRT Decisions concerning the Smith Creek and Three Sisters Village Area Structure Plans to the Court of Appeal of Alberta. A court hearing has been scheduled for October 5, 2022.
August 25, 2022
The Court of Appeal has released it's decision on intervenor status, you can read the decision here. The NRCB and Stoney Nakoda Nations have received intervenor status on the Town’s application for permission to appeal. Bow Valley Engage (BVE) was denied intervenor status at this stage of the litigation.
June 21, 2022
The Application for Permission to Appeal Decision Number LPRT2002/MG0671 and the Application for Permission to Appeal Decision Number LPRT2002/MG0673 (one for each of the LPRT Decisions on the two ASPs) were filed on June 13, 2022 within the 30-day deadline provided by the Municipal Government Act. This is only an application for permission to appeal to the court. If permission is granted, then further court proceedings will be required to hear the appeal itself.
June 7, 2022
Council voted today to apply for leave to appeal the Land and Property Rights Tribunal (LPRT) decisions regarding the Smith Creek and Three Sisters Village Area Structure Plan bylaws to the Alberta Court of Appeal. The Municipal Government Act allows municipalities to seek permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal on questions of law and jurisdiction and the Town of Canmore received legal advice that there are grounds on which it could seek permission to appeal.
“Council is not anti-development,” said Mayor Sean Krausert “but we need development that is aligned with what our community needs. The 1992 NRCB decision recognized the interests of the local community and maintained the discretion of the municipality to decide how land in Canmore would be developed, neither of which was recognized in the LPRT decisions. What we need is affordable, below-market, entry-level housing to a significantly greater extent than proposed in the two bylaws, and which is entirely consistent with the NRCB decision.”
The application for permission to appeal is expected to be filed by June 15, 2022. Once filed, it will be a public document and will provide details on the grounds for appeal. No further comments will be made by the Town of Canmore until the application is filed. The Town of Canmore will be asking for the LPRT decisions to be put on hold until a decision is rendered by the Court of Appeal.
Councillors Hilstad, Marra, and McCallum declared a type of conflict of interest known as a pecuniary interest under the Municipal Government Act due to a current litigation matter; and, therefore, they were not allowed to participate in the decision to appeal.
Feb. 17, 2022 Update
The LPRT hearings are being held virtually and are open to members of the public to observe. If you wish to observe the hearings, you can register here.
On Dec. 6, 2021 the LPRT notified the Town of Canmore that the hearing will take place on the following dates, commencing with the jurisdictional questions for both files.
- Feb. 22-24, 2022
- Feb. 28-March 3, 2022
- March 7-10, 2022
- BREAK: March 14-18, 2022
- March 21-24, 2022
- March 28-31, 2022
On Oct. 25, 2021 the LPRT issued its order from the hearing of Sept. 30 in which it granted limited intervenor status to the NRCB, Stoney Nakoda Nations, and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative Society. The LPRT further decided that the jurisdictional matters will be considered at the outset of the main hearings and that the appeals of both ASPs will be held sequentially by the same panel. The hearings are anticipated to take up to four weeks in February and March of 2022.
A second hearing with the Land and Property Rights Tribunal took place on Sept. 30, 2021.
Three Sisters Mountain Village Properties Ltd. (TSMVPL) has filed two Notices of Appeal – one for each ASP - with the Land and Property Rights Tribunal (LPRT).
TSMVPL has also filed two applications for Judicial Review – one for each ASP – in the Court of Queen’s Bench. The Judicial Reviews have been adjourned to no set date to allow the LPRT hearings to proceed first.
The LPRT appeals and the Judicial Reviews all allege that Section 619 of the Municipal Government Act (MGA) required council to approve the ASPs due to compliance of the ASPs with the 1992 NRCB Approval and are seeking orders against the Town to require adoption of the ASPs. The Judicial Reviews rely on additional common law grounds and are separate legal proceedings from the LPRT appeals.
Feb. 25, 2022 Update
- You can view the filed Statement of Claim from Three Sisters Mountain Village Properties Ltd. and the Town of Canmore's filed Statement of Defence for the civil lawsuit below. No further documentation related to the civil lawsuit will be posted until a decision is rendered. Those wishing to search further public records can do so at the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta.
- On Dec. 10 Three Sisters Mountain Village Properties Ltd. (TSMVPL) filed a civil lawsuit against the Town of Canmore and all seven members of the previous Council.
Sept. 3, 2021
Three Sisters Mountain Village Properties Ltd. (TSMVPL) has placed “Private Property, No Trespassing” signage at various locations on its land. Many of these locations have trails running through them without right-of-ways for public access.
The Canmore and Area Mountain Bike Association has worked with TSMVPL to put formal agreements in place for public access to the Loki and Guy Lafleur trails.
Submitted Area Structure Plans and Supporting Documents
Area Structure Plans
Supporting reports covering all future development within Three Sisters Mountain Village:
- Three Sisters Mountain Village What We Heard Report
- Three Sisters Mountain Village Global Transportation Impact Assessment
- Three Sisters Mountain Village Municipal Fiscal Impact Assessment
- Three Sisters Mountain Village Socio Economic Impact Assessment
- Three Sisters Mountain Village Executive Summary Commercial Market Needs Assessment
- Three Sisters Mountain Village Wildfire Risk Assessment
Reports specific to the Three Sisters Village/Smith Creek ASP:
- Three Sisters Village Servicing Report
- Three Sisters Village Master Drainage Plan
- Three Sisters Village Area Mining Impact Overview
- Three Sisters Village Environmental Impact Statement
- Smith Creek Environmental Impact Assessment
- Third Party Review Three Sisters Village Environmental Impact Statement
- Third Party Review Smith Creek Environmental Impact Statement
Steep Creek Studies for Three Sisters Village:
- Three Sisters Village Three Sisters Creek Hazard Assessment Update
- Three Sisters Village Three Sisters Creek Option Analysis
- Three Sisters Village Three Sisters Creek Preliminary Mitigation Design
Steep Creek Studies for Smith Creek:
- Council voted to defeat third reading of Bylaw 2021-05 Three Sisters Village Area Structure Plan on May 25, 2021.
- Council voted to postpone third reading of Bylaw 2021-05 to Tuesday, May 25, and directed Administration to meet with TSMVPL in order to review and evaluate their identified concerns and how best to achieve the stated objectives of Council as approved through amendments to the ASP at second reading.
- Council approved second reading of Bylaw 2021-05 Three Sisters Village Area Structure Plan with amendments on April 27, 2021. A full list of amendments made at second reading can be found in the May 11, 2021 agenda package here.
- Council defeated Bylaw 2021-06 Smith Creek Area Structure Plan at second reading on April 27, 2021.
- A multi-day virtual public was held, concluding on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. A summary of written submissions can be found here.
- Council gave first reading to Bylaw 2021-05 Three Sisters Village Area Structure Plan and Bylaw 2021-06 Smith Creek Area Structure Plan on February 9, 2021.
- TSMV held two virtual open houses on October 1 & 2, 2020 to seek community feedback on their draft ASPs and supporting studies. They also collected feedback via their website on the draft ASPs until October 14, 2020.
- TSMV had conversations with active community groups in July/August 2020 to raise awareness of the ASPs and supporting studies, and listen to understand where the community had further input or questions. They plan to seek broader community input in August/September raise awareness of development benefits, impacts and community considerations; seek broad community input including use of virtual tools; and then revise ASP submissions based on administration and community feedback.
- On June 16, 2020 TSMV provided an update to Council on their next steps. A copy of their presentation is here.
- On March 3, 2020, a delegate from the Government of Alberta, Rick Blackwood, reviewed the process involved in their decision to approve the wildlife corridor in Smith Creek.
- Proposed Corridor map
- Final Three Sisters decision presentation
- Wildlife Corridors Cursory Literature Review March 10 2020 Final
- 20200128 Wildlife Corridor Golder Evaluation
- 20200128 FINAL TSVMPL Smith Creek Corridor Application L
- On January 22, 2019, TSMV presented Council with the results of their “What We Heard” report. The community outreach took place throughout Canmore in October and November 2018.
- On Oct. 2, 2018 Council approved a Terms of Reference that maps out the process and scope of both ASP's.