Sports equipment rental businesses approved for hotels
Sports equipment rental businesses will now be permitted in hotels. Following the close of a public hearing, council voted to change the land use bylaw to allow sports equipment rentals in the CA: Commercial Accommodation District, CB: Banff Springs Hotel District, and CT: Tunnel Mountain District land use districts. They type of business had previously only been approved in the CD: Downtown District and CS: Commercial Services District. Administration had received a request to change the bylaw to allow this type of business service in hotels to meet the needs of the visiting public. This land use bylaw change won’t come into effect until signed by the federal Minister of the Environment of their designate. This is the normal process for land use bylaw changes in the national park.
Rates set for sidewalk seating, outdoor merchandizing
Council set rates for sidewalk seating and outdoor merchandising displays permitted on public land. For 2022, a rate of $8/sq. ft. for full service and table service, and $1.50/sq. ft. for counter service was set. This will result in a nominal rise in fees for eating and drinking establishments, and retains a discount for counter service restaurants. In 2023, these fees increase to $14/sq. ft. and $4/sq. ft. respectively.
Council places a value on commercial use in the public realm and the fees help eating and drinking establishments fairly contribute to area maintained for all users. The rates are much lower than many municipalities, because Council aimed to set an affordable, fair rate that also encourages participation. Council revisits the Fees and Charges Bylaw annually.
For outdoor merchandise displays on Banff Ave in the pedestrian zone, there will be a flat rate $300 charge this year.
Bollard project cancelled
Council voted to cancel the project to install retractable bollards for the Downtown Pedestrian Zone. The $250,000 of the original $300,000 request will be returned to the Visitor Paid Parking Reserve and the remaining $50,000 will be allocated to maintain and upgrade the gates used in the last two years on Banff Avenue.
The bollards had been planned as a longer-lasting barrier and an efficient way for bus drivers to open before travelling into the pedestrian zone. The remote-controlled swing gates required repairs each previous year due to damage by late night pedestrians or vehicle contact.
Following a tender from bollard suppliers, pricing was found to be significantly higher than the budgeted amount, due to the recent inflation on all materials and supplies, and the tight timeline for implementation. Given the short duration of two years for the Banff Avenue Pedestrian zone, administration recommended the project be cancelled, and the transit lane be controlled with automated gates, as in previous years. The Council allocated up to $50,000 to be used for installation of the gates and additional reinforcement of the frame and control mechanism.
Additional funds for Bear Street public art
Council voted to add about $38,700 to the Bear Street Public Art project. This will be funded through the Public Art Reserve. The artwork is being planned for two possible locations on Bear Street, depending on the nature of the final work.
The Community Art Committee held open Calls to Artists over the past year to seek proposals for public art pieces for Bear Street. After two separate processes, involving a jury to review submissions and the committee evaluating candidates for the project, the project will revise the approach to select an artist. Based on advice from an independent professional public art curator, the Community Art Committee will change to an invitational approach to the Bear Street Public Art Project. An invitational approach to commissioning public art will involve an artist shortlist to be built based on experience and knowledge, artists’ practices, and experience with projects with similar objectives as the Bear Street project. Such a process demonstrates a respect for the artists’ work in a non-competitive context and can produce a more successful public art commission that best fits with the place and objectives.
The additional allocation of $38,700 is expected to cover the significant inflation on the cost of materials as well as better aligning with market valuation of similar commissions. The total budget of $140,300 also covers the total cost of the art acquisition, transportation, installation and ongoing maintenance of the new piece.