Canmore is one of Canada’s most popular climbing, mountain biking and trail-running towns. Many people visit for a week, weekend or month once summer rolls around, and many of those people sleep in their vans.
Once upon a time, sleeping in a vehicle would go unnoticed in the Bow Valley, but because there are now hundreds of people who do it throughout the year, the town of Canmore has decided to charge a nightly fee. Called the Safe Overnight Parking Pilot Program, the initiative addresses the rise of van lifers.
The “Vanmore” parking lot is located behind Save-On-Foods and Elevation Place, near downtown. This new program will come into effect May 4 and runs until Oct. 2. It offers 50 parking stalls at various sites throughout Canmore that can only be used for overnight parking between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. the next day.
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Canmore will provide five municipal lots for the program; the other five lots will be provided by private owners. The confirmed municipal spaces where this parking will be offered are: Elk Run Ball Diamond parking lot, the back lot at Elevation Place, the front lot at artsPlace, behind the EC development building and behind Panago Pizza.
Those using these stalls will be charged $10 per night and receive a parking permit that they must pre-pay for two weeks, which they can renew bimonthly. To take part in the program, one must be employed in the Bow Valley, have a valid driver’s licence and vehicle registration and insurance and have a working vehicle.
There will be washrooms provided, quiet hours enforced, waste regulations and onsite security. “The program will be used as a marker for what works and what doesn’t and will be analyzed,” according to the Town of Canmore website.