Council voted to extend the 2015/2016 overnight winter parking restrictions trial for one year to collect more data. A section of downtown Banff has overnight parking restrictions in place throughout the winter months to allow for efficient snow removal prior to morning traffic. Administration had collected information from January 4 to May 1 this year, but due to the lack of a major snow storm, there wasn’t enough data to show whether the overnight restrictions increased snow removal efficiency. The extended trial will allow staff to collect information from the 2016/2017 winter season.
Council voted to bring several items forward during the town’s Service Review Process, which begins in November. Nine items were identified by councillors and six received council support for further consideration. They include the idea of a 90% discount for first offence parking tickets for parking facing the wrong direction of traffic, a review of the adequacy of the number and distribution of disabled parking stalls as well as options for using technology to monitor disabled parking stalls, a review of the visitor carrying capacity of the town, roundtable discussions on transportation, the establishment of a poet laureate, and allowances in the budget to have councillors further involved with AUMA and FCM.
Council voted to sole source the contract for destination marketing services to Banff and Lake Louise Tourism. The estimated value of the contract over six years is in excess of $34 million, and while typically a contact of this size would not be sole sourced, due to the fact Banff and Lake Louise Tourism is the only existing member-based organization in Banff that could provide these services, council voted for this method. The Town had to meet sole sourcing conditions outlined in the New West Partnership Trade Agreement and received input from legal counsel. Other factors were considered as well, including survey data of Banff’s business sector, which showed 72% of respondents identified Banff and Lake Louise Tourism as good or excellent value to member organizations. The current contract expires December 31, 2016.
Council received the Tourism Communities Benchmarking and Competitiveness Review and the Tourism Economic Impact Study as information. These studies were completed jointly for the towns of Banff, Canmore, and Jasper. They show that Banff hosts close to four million visitors annually creating a province-wide economic impact of $2.25 billion. Banff’s economy supports 13,459 jobs across the province, providing $414 million in revenue to the provincial and federal governments annually. This translates to over $1.1 million every day. However, the current provincial regulatory framework fails to accommodate for the impact of visitors. As an example, local taxpayers support infrastructure like roads and wastewater services for the millions of visitors a year that use them. Banff, Canmore and Jasper commissioned the reports to identify funding challenges with tourism based municipalities, and the economic benefits that they provide. These two studies will help frame conversations with the AUMA, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, and the Ministry of Finance and Treasury Board, regarding the challenges faced by tourism-based communities.