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Posted on: December 30, 2022

Council briefs for December 19, 2022

Banff develops Indigenous Framework

Grounded in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, the Town of Banff is developing an Indigenous Framework that will build relationships, education and action to help the municipality in being respectful, cooperative, and active partners in the process of reconciliation. 

A draft framework document has been created through a process started in 2019 involving formal and informal relationships with Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, as well as information gathering from research and discussions with regional community leaders, consultation advisors, and academic professionals.

Banff Town Council is seeing feedback on the guiding policy document from all Indigenous people and other members of the community. 

Banff’s Indigenous Framework focuses on guiding principles and key actions that the municipal organization can champion to sustain the shared process of reconciliation through listening to, learning from, and acting on ways forward together with Indigenous communities in planning, advising, and decision-making. 

The Framework aims to consistently apply Indigenous Knowledge in policy development, project consultation and regulatory decisions, while recognizing regional, cultural, and distinctions-based approaches to Indigenous Knowledge.

The Framework provides the following benefits:

  • It guides the respectful, consistent, and effective consideration and greater understanding of Indigenous worldviews along with opportunities to reflect on the shared foundations and history of traditional territory through communication, ceremony, practices, and capacity building.
  • It promotes leadership-to-leadership relationships with elected officials, leadership and elected First Nations and Indigenous leaders.
  • It ensures Town of Banff staff and council working with Indigenous knowledge understand the expectations of Indigenous rights holders and traditional knowledge keepers.
  • It ensures better understanding of Indigenous communities through strengthening relationships, learning opportunities, and by fostering open engagement and continuous dialogue.

Download the DRAFT document and provide any suggested changes by February 3, 2023. Visit https://banffviewpoints.ca/framework for the Document and feedback. 

The framework is based in 10 Principles of Reconciliation as identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and 94 Calls to Action, including: 

  • Action #45 iii Renew or establish Treaty relationships based on principles of mutual recognition, mutual respect, and shared responsibility for maintaining those relationships into the future.
    • Municipal government leaders can build relationships with local and regional Indigenous organizations and leaders to open space for conversation on issues of mutual interest.
  • Action #57 Educate public servants on the history of Indigenous peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Indigenous rights, Indigenous law, and Indigenous-Crown relations.
    • Possibly one of the most impactful ways that municipal governments can support reconciliation is to update internal training programs to regularly educate staff about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada, including the residential school system, and how that impacts relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people today. This training may include a focus on intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

Council moves Banff closer to bylaw restricting single-use items 

Town Council will review a bylaw that aims to reduce use of single-use consumer items in Banff by March 31, 2023, after the community has an opportunity to provide feedback. The new legislation, combined with education and support programs for businesses, is a key step towards achieving Council’s goal to divert 70% of waste from landfill by 2028 and zero waste to landfill by 2050. The proposed legislation was developed through extensive consultation with members of the community, including an advisory committee of business representatives seeking more ways to make Banff environmentally responsible.

Single-use items are convenience items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away.

These include, among other items, grocery bags, straws, containers, cups and cutlery. Many single-use items are plastic or contain some form of plastic, however Banff’s bylaw targets specific items, regardless of plastic content. This is because other disposable items may be made of materials other than plastic, including compostable items, that are still sent to landfill. Disposable items, even compostable, shift the problem elsewhere.

The proposed bylaw affects four areas:

  1. Dine-in services – where food/beverages are consumed on premises
    • Businesses must provide reusable products for dine-in services, including any food or beverages that are consumed on the premises 
    • Includes plates, bowls, cups, and accessory items 
    • This will usually look like regular “dine-in” style ceramic food ware 
    • The business can rely on customers stated intention as to whether they are staying or going 
    • Does not depend on customers bringing their own reusable products 
    • Existing businesses are eligible for an exemption if they  
      • demonstrate they do not have adequate dishwashing capacity that meets AHS requirements, 
      • provide a reusable option for Takeout Food, or
      • Are a non-profit or charitable organization 
    • Applies to food ware provided at events  
    • Applies to food ware provided in hotel rooms
  2. Accessory items – made available onlyif requested by customer
    • Includes single-use spoons, forks, knives, chopsticks, utensils, straws, stir sticks, splash sticks, cocktail sticks, toothpicks, pre-packaged condiments and napkins 
    • Customer must ask for accessory items  
    • Self-serve stations are not permitted  
    • Applies to food ware provided at events  
  3. Checkout Bags
    • Single-use plastic shopping bags will be banned 
    • Businesses must charge a minimum fee of $0.25 on paper bags and $2.00 on reusable bags; fee to be retained by the business 
    • Comparable with other Canadian jurisdictions  
    • Higher fee for reusable bags helps avoid unintended consequences of over purchasing  
    • Applies to food ware provided at events
  4. Takeaway services
    • Businesses must support customers who choose to bring their own containers for take away
    • Ensures consistency to promote use of customer cups and containers 
    • Ensures businesses are accommodating customers while following AHS guidelines  
    • Applies to food ware provided at events
    • Ensures that any disposable food ware used is recyclable or compostable, and accepted in Banff’s streams and sorted properly  
    • Applies to food ware provided at events

New 10-Year Vision for Tourism prioritizes community well-being, environmental protection and Indigenous tourism

Banff Town Council approved the adoption of a new 10-Year Vision for Tourism developed over the last year through a public engagement process spearheaded by Banff & Lake Louise Tourism (BLLT). The tourism agency’s board of directors adopted the new plan earlier in the month, and the other partner, Parks Canada, will consider approval in the new year.

The plan has five strategic areas of focus, known as the Trails for Tomorrow, that are to be travelled to get to a more sustainable future. They include:

  • Nature Positive & Climate Action – ensure that tourism actively contributes to protecting our natural capital, not only reducing the footprint of everyone enjoying the park, but creating opportunities to have a positive impact.
  • Community Wellbeing – ensure tourism contributes to a thriving, vibrant, inclusive and accessible community with a high quality of life.
  • Indigenous Connections – work with Indigenous communities, residents and businesses to support market entry and elevate Indigenous tourism to build cultural awareness and connection, and a thriving Indigenous tourism economy.

If officially approved by all partners, the Vision will be launched in March of 2023, bringing to life the documents at tourismtogether.ca.

The new direction was built on comments from 1,700 members of community who contributed to surveys, more than 80 people who participated in one of six working groups, residents and business workers and managers.

The Vision complements other long-range plans and recommendations, including the Town’s recently approved four-year Strategic Plan, the Banff National Park Management Plan, the Expert Advisory Panel on Moving People Sustainably in the Banff Bow Valley, and work on labour attraction led by the Banff and Lake Louise Hospitality Association. 

The Aster condo development receives funding boost to keep on track

Banff Town Council approved a budget increase of $950,000 from the Community Housing Reserve to complete The Aster housing development project.

The additional funding, which doesn’t involve tax dollars, will cover extra costs caused mainly by significant inflation affecting all industries in Canada, without passing on the costs to new homeowners. The remainder of the $12 million cost will be recouped through sales of the condominiums. The below-market housing is on target to be completed in the Summer of 2023. The 33 units have been pre-sold to buyers at 30% below appraised market value, with 87% purchased by first-time home buyers.

Construction started in January 2021 amidst a global pandemic that has resulted in numerous unforeseeable challenges including supply chain issues, severe labour shortages, procurement challenges. In 2022, the significant inflation on all materials have prevented the construction to be completed at original budget. 

Although the project had contingency built into the budget, this was used up in 2021 by unforeseen challenges with groundwater quality, with elevated levels of selenium that prevented discharge to the Bow River. The project team adopted an alternate methodology and expended contingency monies to manage the issue in an environmentally responsible manner. But the unprecedented global supply chain and labour market disruption in the construction industry worsened in 2022 with shortages of lumber and essential building products such as doors, windows, all electrical wiring, bathtubs, plastic piping, and countertops. Had the contingency not been used for the groundwater management problem, the budgeted amount would have been sufficient to cover the project shortfall. 

The additional funding from the housing reserve will not have an impact on taxes or debt capacity.

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