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Flood forces Canmore to rethink waterways

CANMORE, Alberta — The torrential rains of June have officials in Canmore reconsidering the potential for flooding on tributaries to the Bow River.

Measures to guard against flooding of the Bow River itself had been taken previously. But not so for Cougar Creek, which in June brimmed beyond its banks and ate its way almost to the foundation of dozens of houses. By not much more than a whisker, all of the houses avoided being swept from their moorings and dashed into pieces. Damage, however, was considerable.

Looking into the future, officials now see the need for mitigation measures, not just on Cougar Creek, but several other creeks that flow through the city of 12,000 located about 15 minutes from the entrance to Banff National Park.

"Previously, we have never understood that those creeks could behave like that. Now that we understand that they can behave quite dangerously, I think it is incumbent to look at that in the planning realm," said Gary Buxton, general manager of municipal infrastructure.

Ron Casey, the former mayor of Canmore and now a legislator in Alberta, told the Rocky Mountain Outlook that risk of flooding cannot completely be mitigated. "But it makes that likelihood of an occurrence that much less," he said.

Liquor gets front row, but 420 stays in shade

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Among mood-altering substances, marijuana seems to be a second-class citizen compared to alcohol.

That's clearly the policy in Steamboat Springs, where elected officials agreed to allow stores selling marijuana for recreational purposes only in some commercial districts, but not the prominent ones near the base of the ski area or the original downtown.

That decision was not without dissent, however. The Steamboat Today notes that two of the council members, Cari Hermacinski and Sonja Macys, questioned why the same zoning that applies to dispensaries of beer, wine and liquor should not also be used for marijuana.

Framing the discussion in Steamboat was the experience in Glenwood Springs, also in Colo., where a bevy of dispensaries of medical marijuana can be found in the downtown area. That concerns some people, although they don't seem to point to any particular impact to them or the community at large.

Interestingly, even people who voted for legalization of medical marijuana in Colorado draw the line differently when it comes to dispensaries in their own jurisdictions. That same issue is now paramount as Colorado jurisdictions decide whether and where to allow dispensaries of recreational marijuana.

New regulations adopted in Colorado guide the reasoning process by local jurisdictions. For example, state rules require a 300-metre buffer between marijuana dispensaries and schools. But does that include a ski school?

The Aspen Daily News states that several of its traditionally liberal down-valley jurisdictions, including Carbondale, Basalt and New Castle, have moved to ban marijuana stores.

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