February 17, 2017 8:30 am
Updated: March 3, 2017 9:34 pm

Billion-dollar vision for Alberta’s Silvertip Resort would be disaster for grizzlies: conservationists

WATCH ABOVE: A Calgary developer wants to turn the Silvertip golf course community in Canmore into an international resort destination, with expansion plans that include a gondola and casino. Mia Sosiak explains what people are saying about it.

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The developer of a Canmore residential community and golf course hopes to turn it into an international destination—but conservationists are warning there may be a cost.

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Guy Turcotte has the town’s approval, as part of an existing area structure plan, to build a 300,000-square-foot conference centre plus 1,300 hotel rooms and retail shops near the existing golf clubhouse at Silvertip Resort. He wants to add a small casino and a gondola linking the resort to the Trans-Canada Highway, which could also take tourists up Mount Lady MacDonald.

“What it offers is a heck of a lot of employment,” Turcotte said.

“It will bring new visitors to town; it should grow their economy significantly.”

The village would have its own employee housing, but conservationists say the increased commercial development would be a disaster for the threatened grizzly bears that travel the Bow Valley.

The additional attractions would offer the village plan more revenue streams to help secure financing, Turcotte said.

But conservationists say the increased commercial development would be a disaster for threatened grizzly bears that travel the Bow Valley, particularly when combined with other development approved or proposed for Three Sisters Mountain Village and Dead Man’s Flats.

“The Bow Valley is already the most developed landscape in North America that still has grizzlies in it,” conservation group Yellowstone 2 Yukon’s Stephen Legault said.

“And our concern is if we double the size of Canmore in the next five or 10 years, it’s going to be increasingly difficult for those bears in that landscape.”

He warned it could mean killing off the very species tourists visit the Rockies to see.

Watch below from March 3: International conservation group Yellowstone to Yukon is asking for municipal and provincial governments to take a closer look at the impact three major development projects will have on wildlife before moving ahead with construction. Jayme Doll reports.

Resident Bob Milko is hoping he’ll never see tour buses or gondola towers at Silvertip.

“It’ll turn into like a carnival with these gondolas,” he said.

“Why not have Ferris wheels? What’s next? Obviously I’m not very happy about it.”

Stone Creek Resorts hopes to apply for changes to Silvertip’s area structure plan later in spring 2017, with a proposed opening date of 2021.

There are information sessions being held Feb. 26 at 1:30 p.m. and March 15 at 7 p.m. at the Silvertip clubhouse.

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