Natural Resource Projects

Cougar Creek Debris Flood Retention Structure

Project Update

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

On January 9, 2019 the Town of Canmore 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 of Canmore by letter that it must provide the revised structure design, costs, timelines, and environmental impact assessment for review by the Board.

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

The timeframe 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 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. The Board will communicate to the Town of Canmore the further steps that will be required to assess the revised design and environmental impact assessment, after it has reviewed the requested information. 

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.

Letter to Town of Canmore from NRCB, January 11, 2019

NRCB Application No. 1601

On August 19, 2016, the Town of Canmore 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 of Canmore submitted the EIA to Alberta Environment and Parks in July 2016. The Town of Canmore 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:

  Joint Notice of Filing, Application No. 1601, September 6, 2016


Following the review of the environmental impact assessment report and the applications, supplemental information was requested from the Town of Canmore on three occasions: December 2016, October 2017, and March 2018. The Town of Canmore provided the requested information in its responses filed on June 9, 2017, December 12, 2017, and March 20, 2018. The environmental impact assessment 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 Town of Canmore project:


 Notice of Application - Town of Canmore Debris Flood Retention Structure, April 11, 2018



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.

 Town of Canmore - Cougar Creek Debris Flood Retention Structure, Board Decision NR 2018-01, November 15, 2018

 News release, November 15, 2018

 Background, November 15, 2018

Additional information

To obtain additional information about the project, or copies of the environmental impact assessment report, applications, or supplemental information, contact:

Felix Camire, E.I.T., Project Manager

Town of Canmore

Canmore, Alberta  T1W 3K1

Telephone: 403-678-1512



The application and EIA are available online:


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


Town Hall, Canmore Civic Center          Natural Resources Conservation Board

903 – 7 Avenue, Canmore                     250 – 5 Street SW, Calgary

Telephone: 403-678-1512                      Telephone: 403-297-8269

                                                               Toll-free in Alberta by first dialing 310-0000


This website includes the following general information links:


To be added to the NRCB’s contact list and kept informed about updates to the NRCB’s review of this application, please contact:


Laura Friend, Manager, Board Reviews

Natural Resources Conservation Board

250 – 5 Street SW, Calgary, AB T2P 0R4

Telephone: 403-297-8269 / Fax: 403-662-3994 (Toll-free: 310-0000)



For media inquiries, please contact the NRCB's Senior Communications Specialist at 403-679-9879.