Bow Valley Regional Housing chair Joanna McCallum and CAO Ian Wilson spoke to council as a delegation, giving an update on the This Is Home project and the transition to rent-geared income. The project includes a new wing at the Bow River Lodge in Canmore, replacing 43 rooms and adding an additional 20 units. Separate from the project is a transition to a rent geared to income payment model for residents, designed to reduce dependency on taxpayers. Current residents will gradually transition to this formula.
Banff Curling Club President Jim Olver updated council on the club’s successes over the previous season. The club’s three leagues has 33 teams, and a junior team has begun to develop. Seventy teams, the majority from out of town, participated in bonspiels. The club’s most successful program this past season was the drop-in learn-to-curl, which attracted 40 to 60 people every Wednesday to The Fenlands; 40 per cent were visitors and 60 per cent locals.
Council gave second and third reading to Bylaw 346 and Bylaw 347. These bylaws deal with existing commercial gross floor area transferability and associated fees. Council addressed all the comments made at the public hearing held April 13, and made an amendment to the bylaw regarding heritage properties so that the heritage value, character of the property and impact of any alterations is taken into consideration with regard to commercial gross floor transferability.
Council approved the 2014 consolidated financial statements and reviewed the 2014 financial results. They also voted to direct administration to transfer the 2014 unrestricted surplus of $207,588 to the budget stabilization reserve, transfer $54,426 from the snow clearing reserve to partially offset the negative variance to the 2014 snow clearing budget, and transfer the net revenue from the paid parking trial of $29,632 to the parking capital reserve.
The Council Strategic Plan was adopted and, for the first time ever, it’s a four-year plan from 2015-2018 instead of a one-year plan. The plan concentrates on seven themes – housing, trails, transportation, economic prosperity, recreation, environment and social well-being. Each theme has a measurable fourth year outcome. The plan will act as a guiding document for planning purposes, and allows council to think long term while setting ambitious goals for each theme, with a logical program for reaching each of those goals.
Development and building permit fees will be waived for participants in the solar PV production incentive program. Council voted to waive the fees to further encourage residents to take part in the program and install solar systems on their homes or businesses. While the fees have been waived, participants will still need to apply for the permits. The deadline to apply for the solar PV production incentive program is this Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 4 p.m.
Council approved changes to the 2015-2016 recreation facility rental fees. The majority of fees have remained the same, but The Fenlands concourse rentals have been adjusted to reflect that the concourse and meadow are rented together for a wedding ceremony. The change brings the concourse and meadow rate in line with the Town’s other wedding ceremony locations.
Council received a briefing on the Town’s recreation facility usage. In 2014, the Town and its partner recreation facilities saw an estimated 190,511 total user visits. The most popular spot was The Fenlands (132,810 total user visits) followed by 101 Bear Street (18,313 total user visits), Central Park (17,285 total user visits) and the Banff Recreation Grounds (13,968 total user visits).