Council approved doubling the service of Roam regional transit for peak periods during the week. The increase – with funding already included in the budget – will have buses travelling between Banff and Canmore at 30 minute intervals. Council also supported the purchase of an extra 30ft bus for the regional service, and adding an 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. time to the Saturday regional route schedule. These changes are subject to a vote of support by Canmore’s council, which should review the changes at their December 1 meeting.
Council voted to maintain the angle parking and one-way road configuration on Bow Ave. Making the road one-way and adding angle parking was identified in the Transportation Master Plan as a way to create additional parking stalls in town, and trials were held in 2014 and 2015 testing different roadway configurations. While council voted to maintain the current setup, they also asked administration to return with a report at the end of the summer of 2017 to review the roadway again.
Council directed administration to add a strategy for the implementation of the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050 to the draft 2016 operating budget for council’s further consideration. It would come with a cost of $40,000 funded by the environmental reserve. About 90% of Alberta’s electricity is generated using non-renewable fossil fuels, primarily coal. The Town currently specifies that 20% of the electricity used in municipal facilities come from renewable sources, in the form of offsets or production credits from certified sources.
Council received an update on the progress of the urban forest management plan. They heard about short-term work being done to maintain trees and reduce hazards from older trees, and longer-term goals to address trees struggling to grow in roadway medians. They also received an update on the crab apple tree replacement program, which saw 50% of the crab apple trees inventoried by Parks Canada removed this year. Replanting native trees was postponed this year because of weather, but will take place after the thaw.
The first of several reports from the Alberta Municipal Benchmarking Initiative was presented to council. Ten Alberta municipalities are working together to build a performance benchmarking framework to show the efficiency and effectiveness for 10 service delivery areas. A report on the drinking water supply was the first service area looked at, showing comparative costs for service, upkeep and usage. Reports like this will better able councils to see comparatives with other municipalities and look for ways to be more efficient. The next reports that should be available in the first part of 2016 will cover roads, snow and ice, and wastewater.
Council voted to leave the Calgary Regional Partnership in 2016. The provincial government will be creating growth management boards that would better suit outlying communities like Banff. The Town of Canmore has also recently announced their decision to also leave the Calgary Regional Partnership.