Olympian Heidi Widmer presented town council with a framed race bib from the Sochi Olympics. Widmer, a born and raised Banffite, said she wanted to show her gratitude for the support of the Banff community with the gift. The town will hang the bib in a central location.
Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission (BVRTSC) board chair Sean Krausert gave council an update on the organization’s progress prior to presenting their budget for review. Krausert outlined the increased ridership and fares/pass revenues BVRTSC has seen in 2014 over 2013. He also updated council on some of the future plans of the commission, like the current feasibility study being conducted for in-town bus routes in Canmore. Following his presentation, council voted to accept the BVRTSC budget and capital plan as information. They also voted to have the comments drawn up by administration forwarded to the BVRTSC for consideration prior to the budget and capital plan being approved at the annual general meeting.
Council approved funding to increase the number of RCMP officers working on New Year’s Eve, along with approval for a formal road closure on Banff Avenue in the 100-300 blocks for crowd control. The RCMP requested 10 additional officers to work that night to increase public safety and better manage crowds that gather downtown to watch the fireworks display. Having a formal road closure from 11:30 p.m. up to 1:30 a.m. would also increase safety during this event. The $6,400 additional funding for police will come from unused red serge budget and the $1,250 for a formal road closure will be paid for with special event revenues.
Council voted to continue operating the town’s water, sanitary and storm systems, and to reassign the operation of the Wastewater Treatment Plant from EPCOR to the Town of Banff. While the Town has always owned the wastewater plant (and Parks Canada before incorporation) and has always been accountable to Alberta Environment for the quality of effluent, the operation has always been contracted out and operated by the private sector. After a comprehensive, three-year investigation by EPCOR and Town staff, it was determined that Town-operated utility would cost $345,355 less per year than EPCOR’s proposal. Council noted that the Town has been very satisfied with EPCOR’s performance at the plant, and appreciated the risk transference, but they had equal confidence in the Town’s ability to operate the plant and the cost savings are significant. EPCOR will continue to operate the treatment plant until the town officially takes over on January 1, 2015.