Editor: Family-focused streets in Canmore are a special place. We’ve been fortunate to have lived on one for 32 years and we’re excited for another generation of kids learning to ride a bike, skateboard or throw a ball. Drivers on our street know the houses
Family-oriented streets in Canmore are a special place. We’ve been fortunate to have lived on one for 32 years and we’re excited for another generation of kids learning to ride a bike, skateboard or throw a ball. Motorists on our street know the houses with playing children or pets fleeing the yard.
When visitors come we know they will be greeted and made welcome at one of our local homes. We believe this is “quiet enjoyment in a residential neighborhood” as described in Canmore’s bylaws. That doesn’t mean we don’t sometimes have a house full of teenagers or the occasional loud party, but the party ends, the teenagers grow up and our neighbors protect all that matters.
Unfortunately, our common values are called into question by the nightly arrival of unknown tourists on our street, on their way to new holiday apartments. There is no one to greet these visitors. They are strangers when they come in and strangers when they come out. The owners of the house have self contained kitchenette suites with completely private entrances where tourists come and go 24 hours a day and cleaners come and go after each departure. The host is a Calgary company and the owners have little or no interaction with it.
There doesn’t seem to be any real difference to other short term kitchens in Canmore other than the location in a quiet residential area. City planners used their discretion to approve this operation as a bed and breakfast. In fact, it was approved, although a majority of the neighbors officially stated that the business had disturbed their quiet enjoyment during the first year of operation, contrary to the specific language of the bed and breakfast bylaws.
As I recall, there were two political reasons for allowing some residential bed and breakfasts. One was to expand the supply of lodging during Canmore’s early tourism days, and the other was to provide additional income for homeowners who wanted to accommodate tourists in their homes. These political reasons no longer exist.
Canmore has many visitor accommodations and the council encourages anyone to earn extra income in a home by adding a dwelling unit for residents to rent. The style of bed and breakfast we’ve observed on our street is just the latest version of lucrative short-term vacation rentals replacing much-needed staff housing.
The neighborhood spoke out loudly against this request. Our voices should have mattered.
Carmen Colborne and Greg Kletke