The Town of Banff has opened new space for recreation, fitness and community connections, based on public input about how to enhance year-round opportunities and activities that appeal to more people in the community. The new $242,000 fitness and field amenities are made possible through support from community organizations.
The refurbished space in The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre includes:
- a summer indoor turf field in one of the arenas
- a fitness & weights room, and
- a bike workshop community space.
“These new activity spaces are only possible because our community provided ideas for enhancing this great recreation centre, and because several very generous organizations stepped up to donate their time, resources and financial support,” said Banff Mayor Corrie DiManno.
Consultation in 2021 identified an opportunity to revitalize a section of the building previously held by a private lease, and other space not used in summer season. A fitness/weight room was the most requested addition. The use of the arena when the ice is removed in summer was another frequent request.
The Town is developing a longer-term plan to renovate space with recommendations from the consultation, which may include a large fitness centre, indoor climbing walls, flexible arts and culture space, and other community rooms. However, plans for the renovations have not been finalized. In 2022, with third-party support for new activities, the Town is able to open these new activity spaces before more costly renovations.
Support for these new amenities has included funding from:
- Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation – $108,000 for the artificial sports turf and fitness room
- Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation – $6,500 to support the bike workshop
- Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation - $50,000 towards community consultation to compile ideas for year-round activities in under-utilized space in The Fenlands
- Community Cruisers – advisors for bike workshops in the drop-in community hub
- Bow Valley Primary Care Network – donation of fitness equipment
- New Horizons for Seniors Program, Government of Canada – $25,000 for the fitness room
“I want to thank these organizations for their commitment to the people in our community and the dedication to making Banff an even better place,” said DiManno.
The Town of Banff held a grand opening on July 14, with a ceremonial kick-off on the sports turf and a special presentation by Mayor Corrie DiManno to the Wim & Nany Pauw Foundation for their financial support to the facility and ongoing funding of community programs for Banff residents.
“The goal of the Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation is to reinvest in our community, supporting projects that build a more active, vibrant and healthy Bow Valley,” said Cathy Geisler, Executive Director of the Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation. “The private foundation is funded from tourism revenues earned at Banff Lodging Company, where we promote creative, made-in-Banff solutions.”
The Pauw Foundation provides ongoing funding to the Town of Banff to support affordability with after-school programs, summer youth drop-in programs, young-adult recreation programs, as well as a multi-million-dollar contribution towards building the Town’s new cyclist and pedestrian bridge, and funding to other community groups in Banff and the Bow Valley.
“Through our conversations with the Town of Banff, we were proud to step forward to fund a community-focused recreational engagement, resulting in the fantastic improvements to the Fenlands that we are celebrating today,” said Geisler.
The Town is continuing plans to refurbish more space in the Fenlands to add more year-round activities for a diverse resident population, a need first identified in the 2013 Facilities Master Plan and again in the 2018 Community Social Assessment. In 2021, with funding from the Pauw Foundation, the Town coordinated community feedback on potential options for the vacant and underutilized spaces.
“The Fenlands is an essential part of the quality of life for people in Banff,” said DiManno. “It is a place for our iconic Canadian sports – hockey, skating, curling. It is a place for meetings, non-profit groups, weddings, and conferences. It’s providing great activity space in the fun zone. Even as a safe place to hang out with people of the same age, this is an important community hub. And it is here for us even in times of emergency, like the COVID vaccine clinics last year.”
Banff council continues to support future improvements that respond to recommendations in the 2021 Fenlands Future consultation report. The Town of Banff has earmarked $538,000 for pre-design work in 2024 and $1,062,000 for detailed design in 2025. The municipality is also seeking third-party funding for amenity improvements for the future projects.
More information on The Fenlands