Water Management

Cougar Creek Debris Flood Retention Structure

Reference #: NRCB Application No. 1601
Applicant: Town of Canmore
Application Date: August 19, 2016
Status: Active
Date decision issued: November 15, 2018

Revised Application 2019

Decision NR 2018-01, issued on November 15, 2018, has been suspended. The November 2018 decision was based on the application/environmental impact assessment (EIA) submitted to the NRCB (the Board) by the Town of Canmore (the Town) up to that time.

On January 9, 2019 the Town advised the Board of proposed structural design changes to the debris flood retention structure and access road on Cougar Creek.

On January 11, 2019 the Board advised the Town by letter that it must provide the revised structure design, costs, timelines, and EIA for review by the Board. The Board received the project update from the Town on February 22, 2019.

[Update: On February 28, 2019 the Board advised the Town by letter of the outstanding information and documents needed before it can commence its review of the revised application.]

The Board may also require the Town to conduct public consultation and further indigenous consultation, with subsequent updates to the EIA. The revised EIA may be subject to review by Alberta Environment and Parks and other government ministries. The Board may also issue a new public notice.

The time frame for review and a revised public interest assessment will be determined once the Town provides its complete information on the changed design and its associated revised application to the Board. Until a further review is completed by the Board and interested government ministries, it is unclear whether the findings of the original assessment will remain unchanged. The Board will communicate to the Town the further steps that will be required to assess the revised design and EIA, after it has reviewed the requested information. 

The Board is a quasi-judicial entity and is responsible under provincial legislation for determining the public interest of proposed developments. Its public interest decisions are based on its independent assessment of the facts. 

Public interest decisions issued by the Board are forwarded to Cabinet to request the Lieutenant Governor in Council to issue an Order in Council. Board decisions are not in effect until the Order in Council has been issued. The Board’s request to Cabinet has been deferred until the Board has completed its review of the revised application and issued a new decision.

NRCB Application No. 1601

On August 19, 2016, the Town of Canmore (the Town) filed its formal application to the NRCB (the Board) to construct a debris flood retention structure and access road on Cougar Creek, approximately 2 kilometres northwest of the Trans-Canada Highway. The project location (14-34-24-10 W5M) is at the site of an existing debris net.

The application describes the proposed project as a 29.85 metre high structure that would span a bedrock confined channel. It would comprise a rock and earth filled embankment, a reinforced concrete central sealing wall, and an open outflow with a throttle and debris rake. During normal weather conditions, water and sediment would flow unimpeded through the structure. The project description is set out in more detail in the environmental impact assessment (EIA), which forms part of the town’s application to the Board (NRCB Application #1601). The Town submitted the EIA to Alberta Environment and Parks in July 2016. The Town also filed an application with Environment and Parks under the Water Act (File No. 00384210).

The NRCB and Alberta Environment and Parks issued a joint notice of filing on September 6, 2016. 

Following the review of the EIA and the applications, supplemental information was requested from the Town  on three occasions: December 2016, October 2017, and March 2018. The Town provided the requested information in its responses filed on June 9, 2017, December 12, 2017, and March 20, 2018. The EIA and the application were deemed complete on March 23, 2018.

The NRCB issued notice of the application on April 11, 2018 to invite written submissions from those who may have concerns about or objections to the project.

NRCB Public Interest Review Process

The NRCB and Environment and Parks completed their review of the application and the deficiencies were addressed by the applicant. The NRCB’s public interest review process was initiated by publishing public notice and inviting written submissions.

No submissions were received by the deadline of May 22, 2018. The Board met on May 24, 2018 and determined that the review would proceed to a written review.

After completing its review the Board found the proposed project to be in the public interest. It issued decision 2018-01 on November 15, 2018, approving the project with conditions.

Additional information

To obtain additional information about the project, or copies of the EIA, applications, or supplemental information, contact:

Felix Camire, E.I.T., Project Manager
Town of Canmore
Canmore, Alberta  T1W 3K1
Telephone: 403-678-1512
Email: fcamire@canmore.ca

The application and EIA are available online: https://canmore.ca/projects/mountain-creek-hazard-mitigation

Or, by appointment, they may be viewed at the following locations:

Town Hall, Canmore Civic Center          
903 – 7 Avenue, Canmore
Telephone: 403-678-1512                    

Natural Resources Conservation Board
250 – 5 Street SW
Calgary, Alberta T2P 0R4 
Telephone: 403-297-8269
Toll-free in Alberta by first dialing 310-0000

Information about the NRCB’s review process can be found at the following links: 


If you wish to receive automatic notification of all new documents and notices for this review, please fill out the sign up form, below. If you have a general inquiry or question, please contact:

Laura Friend, Manager, Board Reviews
Natural Resources Conservation Board
250 – 5 Street SW 
Calgary, Alberta T2P 0R4
Telephone: 403-297-8269 / Fax: 403-662-3994 (Toll-free: 310-0000)
Email: laura.friend@nrcb.ca


For media inquiries, please contact the Edmonton office of the NRCB at 780-422-1977.

Review Documents

  • File Name Date