Contentious Canmore wildlife corridor in the right spot, says QuantumPlace Developments

Contentious Canmore wildlife corridor in the right spot, says QuantumPlace Developments

The Calgary company behind a proposed major development in Canmore, Alta., will meet with the public Thursday to present its idea on where a contentious wildlife corridor should go.

The Three Sisters Mountain Village wants to add 2,200 new housing units to the Smith Creek area and also has plans to build a 2,000 unit resort in the area.

Some conservation groups have expressed concerns, saying the proposed path for a wildlife corridor is too steep and too high up the valley for nearby animals.

But Chris Ollenburger, managing principal of QuantumPlace Developments — the company behind the project — told The Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday the wildlife corridor will actually be on less of a slope than the proposed development.

"I understand the perspective ... however, instead of drawing a line on a map using high level topography, we went and walked in the field, to look for any kind of obstacles for wildlife," he said.

"Before we even set the corridor, we said 'where are wildlife walking today? Where are they preferring to go? What are the trails they're using? How many old mining roads are they using?' Because this site is an old industrial site, it's not green field, pristine wilderness. So we're looking to make sure that we put the wildlife corridor on top of where animals are using it."

There are already about 1,350 units on Three Sisters, with a population of around 3,000.

Originally approved by the province in 1992, the proposed new development would add about 4,200 units, effectively tripling the area's population to around 9,000.

Ollenburger pointed out the town's waste and water systems were built based on those numbers.

Growth, said Ollenburger, is inevitable, especially in such a popular area like the Bow Valley.

"I do think, however, it can be carefully managed and that the human use conflict with wildlife corridors can be addressed, and has been successfully addressed in many areas."

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With files from The Calgary Eyeopener