News Releases

Council Updates

Posted on: February 11, 2020

Council briefs for February 10, 2020

Bison Back on the Banff Range

Halfway into a five-year pilot project to reintroduce bison to Banff National Park, the small roaming heard is showing promise for success.  

Karsten Heuer, the Parks Canada manager of the bison reintroduction project, provided Banff Town Council an overview of the program that saw 16 bison relocated from Elk Island National Park to a temporary paddock about 40 km north of the Town of Banff in February 2017.

There are now 36 bison in the small heard, free of the paddock and roaming an average of five km a day in a 1,200 square-kilometre zone. The radio-collared animals are tracked by satellite every two hours, showing that, after two and a half years, they may have established a home range, despite some bison initially travelling more than 80 km away, and outside the park.

Heuer told council it is too early to tell if the project is successful for the entire ecosystem. For example, the heard is very healthy and growing, and they are returning to behaviours the area have not experienced for 150 years. Parks staff have observed the new heard grazing and creating wallow dugouts that reveal previous bison wallow spots, and even bison bones. The wallows are bringing back other animals to the montane meadows where the bison expose mud and create puddles. 

Most rewarding, Heuer said, has been the impact on reintroducing bison to Banff National Park for Indigenous people his teams have worked with. Bison holds very high cultural and spiritual significance for the First Nations that inhabited this area, and the reintroduction represents a rejuvenation for many Indigenous peoples, as well as reconciliation opportunities for the wrongs that led to the bison’s disappearance from the Canadian Rockies.

Parks Canada will determine if longer-term and larger scale reintroduction of bison is feasible in 2022.  

Bison Blog

New Heat Energy Project to Reduce Emissions and Save Costs

The Town of Banff’s goal to demonstrate environmental leadership was reinforced this week as council approved a project to build a Biomass District Heating system in the Industrial District to heat four Town of Banff Operations buildings.  

The project will use a high-tech boiler to burn wood and wood chips that currently go to landfill and transport heated glycol-water to each building’s heat exchanger to provide temperature control in the facilities, which include the Waste Transfer Station, the Fleet Shop, the Maintenance Building and a new Transit Storage Facility being built later this year. 

The advanced combustion chambers would produce extremely clean emissions, representing less than a single campfire. The project will eliminate about 200 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year by diverting wood waste from landfill and replacing natural gas with a sustainable heat source. This represents 4,754 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions eliminated over the 20 years of the initial facility.

The biomass system will reduce $6,100 in annual landfill hauling costs, eliminate net costs of $28,845 in natural gas purchase and distribution fees, and save $180,000 on the cost of constructing the new Transit Storage Facility because it will not need natural gas service connection.

In addition, another organization located in the Industrial District has expressed interest in becoming a customer of the biomass heating system, with the Town selling the heat instead of natural gas.

Council gave first reading to a $1.37 million borrowing bylaw to finance this unique heating system. The borrowing bylaw will be advertised for two weeks before returning to council for second and third reading, which then allows debt-financing over 20 years. The project also has $430,000 in funding from the federal Low Carbon Economy Fund.

First envisioned in 2016, the biomass heating system will be operational in a little more than a year from now if the financing is approved. The project is intended to establish a ‘beachhead’ in Banff for biomass heating, from which the technology may spread to other parts of the community.

Borrowing for Affordable Housing Land Purchase

Council scheduled a special meeting for February 12 to consider borrowing $1.3 million for the purchase of a lot that will be used to expand the Banff Avenue affordable housing project. The Town has been working on developing 338/340 Banff Avenue for high-density affordable housing units that will be for sale to qualified buyers. 

In late 2019, owners of a neighbouring property contacted the Town, expressing an interest in selling their parcel of land to the project. If this additional parcel is acquired, the expanded housing project could offer between 20 and 40 dwelling units for price-restricted purchase. 

The debt for buying the lot assessed at $1.3 million would be entirely recovered through the sale of the units. Council will debate third reading at the special meeting February 12. More on the Banff Avenue Affordable Housing Development

Progress on Human-Wildlife Coexistence

Efforts are underway to enhance wildlife protection, thanks to the recommendations of the Human-Wildlife Coexistence Report. Council received an update on the status of the initiative, which was launched in 2017, after a technical working group produced a 2018 report on ways to reduce human-wildlife conflict in the Bow Valley. 

The initiative was created after leaders in Parks Canada, Banff, Canmore, ID9 and the Province of Alberta committed to avoiding another tragic end to wildlife as experienced by Grizzly Bear 148 (https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/sadness-frustration-as-well-known-bear-148-shot-by-hunter-in-b-c). 

Some 2019 highlights include:

  • Second off-leash dog park analysis and pending construction (Habitat Security)
  • Ongoing dialogue with Parks Canada regarding perimeter fencing at the Banff Recreation Grounds during redevelopment (Wildlife in Developed Areas)
  • Over 200 children and adults participated in Town of Banff run sessions throughout 2019 that addressed issues related to human wildlife co-existence and prevention (e.g. “Learn to Camp”, “Bear Aware & Wildlife Safety”, Try It Mountain Biking & Cross Country Skiing, and the Newcomer Orientation Welcome). Bear spray education, safe food handling procedures and other prevention practices were all taught in these session (People Compliance) 
  • Launch of a communications and public education program for residents, through print, in-person and online media campaigns (People Compliance)
  • Focussed off-leash dog monitoring / enforcement (People Compliance)

Human Wildlife Coexistence Report 

Take the interactive journey about Living with Wildlife in the Bow Valley.

Agenda Centre
Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Council Updates

Council Briefs for September 21, 2020

Posted on: September 23, 2020

Council briefs for September 8, 2020

Posted on: September 9, 2020

Council briefs for March 9, 2020

Posted on: March 11, 2020

Council briefs for February 24, 2020

Posted on: February 25, 2020

Council briefs for January 27, 2020

Posted on: February 4, 2020

Council briefs for November 25, 2019

Posted on: November 27, 2019

Council briefs for November 12, 2019

Posted on: November 13, 2019

Council briefs for October 28, 2019

Posted on: October 31, 2019

Council briefs for October 15, 2019

Posted on: October 16, 2019

Council briefs for September 23, 2019

Posted on: October 7, 2019

Council briefs for September 9, 2019

Posted on: September 11, 2019

Council briefs for August 12, 2019

Posted on: August 14, 2019

Council briefs for July 15, 2019

Posted on: July 16, 2019

Council briefs for June 24, 2019

Posted on: June 25, 2019

Council briefs for June 10, 2019

Posted on: June 21, 2019

Council briefs for May 13, 2019

Posted on: May 15, 2019

Council briefs for April 23, 2019

Posted on: April 25, 2019

Council briefs for April 8, 2019

Posted on: April 11, 2019

Council briefs for March 25, 2019

Posted on: March 27, 2019

Council briefs for March 11, 2019

Posted on: March 12, 2019

Council briefs for February 25, 2019

Posted on: February 26, 2019

Council briefs for February 11, 2019

Posted on: February 12, 2019

Council briefs for January 28, 2019

Posted on: January 30, 2019

Council Briefs for January 14, 2019

Posted on: January 16, 2019

Council briefs for December 19, 2018

Posted on: January 16, 2019

Council briefs for December 10, 2018

Posted on: December 12, 2018

Council briefs for November 26, 2018

Posted on: November 27, 2018

Council briefs for November 13, 2018

Posted on: November 15, 2018

Council briefs for October 22, 2018

Posted on: October 25, 2018

Council briefs for September 24, 2018

Posted on: September 26, 2018

Council briefs for September 10, 2018

Posted on: September 12, 2018

Council briefs for August 13, 2018

Posted on: August 15, 2018

Council briefs for July 16, 2018

Posted on: July 18, 2018

Council briefs for June 25, 2018

Posted on: June 27, 2018

Council briefs for June 11, 2018

Posted on: June 13, 2018

Council briefs for May 28, 2018

Posted on: May 29, 2018

Council briefs for May 14, 2018

Posted on: May 15, 2018

Council briefs for April 30, 2018

Posted on: May 1, 2018

Council briefs for April 23, 2018

Posted on: April 25, 2018

Council briefs for April 9, 2018

Posted on: April 10, 2018

Council briefs for March 26, 2018

Posted on: March 27, 2018

Council Briefs for February 12, 2018

Posted on: February 13, 2018

Council briefs for January 22, 2018

Posted on: January 23, 2018

Council Briefs for January 15, 2018

Posted on: January 16, 2018

Council briefs for January 8, 2018

Posted on: January 10, 2018

Council briefs for December 18, 2017

Posted on: December 19, 2017

Council briefs for December 11, 2017

Posted on: December 12, 2017

Council briefs for November 27, 2017

Posted on: November 29, 2017

Council briefs for October 10, 2017

Posted on: October 11, 2017

Council Briefs for September 25, 2017

Posted on: September 27, 2017

Council briefs for September 11, 2017

Posted on: September 12, 2017

Council briefs for August 14, 2017

Posted on: August 15, 2017

Council briefs for July 17, 2017

Posted on: July 19, 2017

Council briefs for June 26, 2017

Posted on: June 27, 2017

Council briefs for June 12, 2017

Posted on: June 13, 2017

Council briefs for May 23, 2017

Posted on: May 24, 2017

Council briefs for May 8, 2017

Posted on: May 9, 2017

Council briefs for April 24, 2017

Posted on: April 26, 2017

Council briefs for April 10, 2017

Posted on: April 11, 2017

Council briefs for March 27, 2017

Posted on: March 28, 2017

Council briefs for March 13, 2017

Posted on: March 13, 2017

Council briefs for February 27, 2017

Posted on: February 28, 2017

Council briefs for February 13, 2017

Posted on: February 14, 2017

Council briefs for January 25, 2017

Posted on: January 25, 2017

Council briefs for January 23, 2017

Posted on: January 24, 2017

Council briefs for January 9, 2017

Posted on: January 10, 2017

Council briefs for November 28, 2016

Posted on: November 29, 2016

Council briefs for November 14, 2016

Posted on: November 16, 2016

Council briefs for October 24, 2016

Posted on: October 25, 2016

Council briefs for October 11, 2016

Posted on: October 12, 2016

Council briefs for September 26, 2016

Posted on: September 28, 2016

Council briefs for July 18, 2016

Posted on: July 19, 2016

Council briefs for June 27, 2016

Posted on: June 28, 2016

Council briefs for June 13, 2016

Posted on: June 14, 2016

Council briefs for May 9, 2016

Posted on: May 10, 2016

Council briefs for April 25, 2016

Posted on: April 26, 2016

Council briefs for April 11, 2016

Posted on: April 11, 2016

Council briefs for March 29, 2016

Posted on: March 30, 2016

Council briefs for March 14, 2016

Posted on: March 17, 2016

Council briefs for February 22, 2016

Posted on: February 23, 2016

Council Briefs for February 8, 2016

Posted on: February 16, 2016

Council briefs for January 25, 2016

Posted on: January 26, 2016

Council briefs for January 11, 2016

Posted on: January 11, 2016

Council briefs for December 7, 2015

Posted on: December 8, 2015

Council briefs for November 23, 2015

Posted on: November 25, 2015

Council Briefs for November 9, 2015

Posted on: November 12, 2015

Council briefs for October 26, 2015

Posted on: October 26, 2015

Council briefs for October 13, 2015

Posted on: October 14, 2015

Council briefs for September 28, 2015

Posted on: September 29, 2015

Council briefs for September 14, 2015

Posted on: September 18, 2015

Council briefs for August 17, 2015

Posted on: August 24, 2015

Council briefs for July 20, 2015

Posted on: July 21, 2015

Council briefs for June 9, 2015

Posted on: June 10, 2015

Council briefs for May 25, 2015

Posted on: May 26, 2015

Council briefs for May 11, 2015

Posted on: May 12, 2015

Council briefs for April 13, 2015

Posted on: April 14, 2015

Council briefs for March 23, 2015

Posted on: March 24, 2015

Council briefs for March 9, 2015

Posted on: March 11, 2015

Council briefs for February 23, 2015

Posted on: February 23, 2015

Council briefs for January 26, 2015

Posted on: January 26, 2015

Council briefs for December 18, 2014

Posted on: December 18, 2014

Council briefs for December 8, 2014

Posted on: December 8, 2014

Council Briefs for November 24, 2014

Posted on: November 25, 2014

Council briefs for November 10, 2014

Posted on: November 10, 2014

Council Briefs for October 27, 2014

Posted on: October 29, 2014

Council Briefs for October 14, 2014

Posted on: October 15, 2014

Council Briefs for September 22, 2014

Posted on: September 23, 2014

Council briefs for September 8, 2014

Posted on: September 9, 2014

Council Briefs for August 18, 2014

Posted on: August 19, 2014

Council Briefs for July 21, 2014

Posted on: July 22, 2014

Council Briefs for June 23, 2014

Posted on: June 24, 2014

Council Briefs for June 9, 2014

Posted on: June 10, 2014

Council Briefs for May 12, 2014

Posted on: May 14, 2014

Council briefs for April 28, 2014

Posted on: April 30, 2014

Council Briefs for April 14, 2014

Posted on: April 15, 2014

Council Briefs for March 24, 2014

Posted on: March 25, 2014

Council Briefs for March 10, 2014

Posted on: March 11, 2014

Council Briefs for February 24, 2014

Posted on: February 25, 2014

Council Briefs for February 10, 2014

Posted on: February 12, 2014

Council Briefs for January 13, 2014

Posted on: January 14, 2014

Council Briefs December 9, 2013

Posted on: December 10, 2013