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Addressing Cost of Living
Enhancing Quality of Life
The Town of Banff fosters a high quality of life, for all members of our community, regardless of their financial circumstances. The Town implements affordability measures under its control, and acts as a catalyst and a partner in the efforts of other local organizations. In addition, the Town works to promote and expand access to Banff’s range of unique opportunities and natural assets that add value to the privilege of living in this mountain community.

Relevant directional plans and resources:

Banff’s continued success relies on maintaining a high quality of life for our residents who provide services in our community. The prevalence of lower wages relative to the higher costs of basic needs in Banff, creates challenges for many residents. The Town of Banff encourages other organizations, delivers programs, services, and supports to help reduce difficulties that Banff residents face related to cost of living. Affordability measures include reducing real costs, and tactics to increase wealth, in terms of money, time, leisure and activity.

Direction from 2008-18 Banff Community Plan
  • Improve the quality, quantity and access to social programs, recreation, education and cultural facilities
  • Increase access to programs for low-income people 
  • Collaborate with partners to maximize resources and infrastructure available for community use
  • Support volunteerism to enhance community supports 
  • Supply a mix of affordable housing options to ensure those working in Banff can live in Banff

Key Partners Include:
  • Provincial and federal funders, including Human Services, Alberta Health Services, Child & Family Services, Citizen and Immigration Canada and Volunteer Alberta
  • The Town of Canmore involvement in initiatives, such as low-income regional transit and 211 
  • Local agencies and organizations that provide social supports and services, such as The Banff Canmore Community Foundation
  • Parks Canada, as a major landholder, employer and owner of staff housing
  • Employers, as creators of housing demand and suppliers of staff housing
  • Agencies providing housing assistance, such as the YWCA, Bow Valley Regional Housing, and the Banff Housing Corporation

Cost of Living Strategies:

Housing:
  • Review and update the regulatory and policy framework to encourage housing development and improvement.
  • Facilitate the development and management of price-reduced rental and purchasable housing. 
  • Encourage partners to share information, gather data and provide housing, service and support opportunities.
  • Enhance data gathering to identify Banff’s most vulnerable, including housing trends, employee demographics, purchasing power in Banff, and available community benefits.
  • Update public consultation activities to better understand: 
o housing demands related to type, term and alternative forms;
o goods/service cost impacts and service needs/capacity for most vulnerable; and
o natural and community assets that motivate residency in Banff despite cost challenges.

Other costs:
  • Review Town programs and services to identify opportunities to expand price-reduced or free programs for eligible individuals and families.
  • Explore incentives to expand local and regional businesses to offer discounted goods and services to eligible individuals and families.
  • Review regulatory, policy and incentive options to stimulate community and employer programs that offer flexibility, coordination and support to meet needs of people challenged by costs to access community assets and benefits.

Cost of Living Targets by 2022:
  • A reduction in the percentage of Banff residents spending more than 30% of their income on housing (measured by federal census), from 2016 data:
o Rental 32% in Banff
o Ownership 25% in Banff
  • The rental vacancy rate is greater than 1%.
  • Establishment of a tool to identify Banff’s most vulnerable demographics (i.e. single young adult or senior, single parent, young family).
  • Establishment of a tool to recalculate and articulate Banff’s demand for housing using an employment-based approach.
  • Establishment of a tool to forecast Banff’s changes in housing demand as commercial land use changes, and in relation to intensity of visitor demand.
  • 100% of Banff Access Program members have filed an Income Tax and Benefit return.
  • The number of eligible Banff residents participating in the Banff Access program increases 20% from 2017 levels.
  • The number of Banff Access Program members accessing recreation programs increases 10% from 2018 participation rates.
  • Increase business participation in resident or low-income programs to offer discounted goods/services, by 10%.
  • Citizen satisfaction rating of “overall quality of life” as very good or good, maintains above 90%.
  • Citizen satisfaction with programs for low income residents increases by 20% from 2017 levels.
  • Citizen satisfaction of respondents who rate living in Banff as affordable increases from 25% to 35%.