Council received an update on various recreation projects in town:
- The detailed design for the new skateboard park is complete with some site work underway relocating underground utilities. Weather permitting, construction will begin in May, and will be complete in September.
- Renewal notices have been issued to all year 2000 and 2001 memorial bench purchasers. Those on a waiting list will be contacted mid-May on the availability of new benches along both the north and south sides of the Bow River east of the Banff Avenue Bridge.
- Work on Phase 1 of the recreation grounds redevelopment project is underway. Other than the skateboard park project, replacement of the ball diamond irrigation system has been postponed until 2018 and combined with the rugby/soccer pitch irrigation replacement to help generate financial efficiencies. Seasonal south parking lot construction (adjacent to the greenhouse) is scheduled to start late April 2017. Pre-design for the adventure playground, nature playground and multipurpose building has begun in order to further define project scope and cost for each element.
- The Town’s Facilities Asset Management Plan is close to completion and will be presented to council in the near future.
- With the revised Banff Bench Program underway, it is recommended to consider a Banff Tree Program at a later date.
Council gave a tribute to Mary and Don Brewster, who are retiring April 28 after each working 37.5 years for the Town of Banff. The two long-term employees began working for the community when the school board ran many community services, and then they joined the municipality when it was incorporated in 1990.
Council approved a $300,000 budget increase to purchase a new fire truck, replacing a 25-year-old aerial apparatus. The approved capital budget for the purchase was $1 million, but required additional funding, as it’s difficult to predict manufacturer’s annual inflationary increases, as well as the value of the Canadian dollar. All aerial apparatus are manufactured in the United States. The new truck will last 25 years and will come with a larger platform ladder capable of holding three to four people, allowing for more options for firefighting and rescue operations. The water flow capacity is a minimum of 2,000 gallons per minute.
Council approved funding to support the “On It” bus service between Calgary and Banff this summer. The Town of Banff has been working in collaboration with the Calgary Regional Partnership, Parks Canada, the towns of Canmore and Cochrane and the City of Calgary to identify possible service options with the On It buses on weekends. The maximum contribution from Banff is $89,000. Fare revenue is expected to cover a portion of the gross costs, so the actual subsidy required will be less than $89,000. The Town of Banff would be invoiced for 50% of net cost (after fare revenue). If the buses average 15 riders per trip, the costs to Banff would drop to $40,000. At 30 riders per trip, Banff’s costs would drop to zero. The draft service plan has buses running June 17 to September 4 on weekends and statutory holidays. Buses would be 55-seat coaches with an on-board bathroom and storage compartment. Fares would be $10 each way per person, and there will be approximately 13 round trips per day, with the first bus arriving in Banff at 8:30 a.m. and the last bus departing at 10:30 p.m.
Council approved conducting a municipal census that includes the shadow population, with a census date of June 12. They also approved increasing the census budget by $8,000. A municipal census provides a total population count, which is the basis for calculating per capita provincial grants for municipalities. It can also provide the town with information to help in the development of future plans, policies and programs. The last census was in June 2014. Door hangers will be delivered to homes beginning June 12. Each will include a PIN to allow residents to take the census online at http://banff.ca/census
Council received a briefing on the 2016 financial results and they approved the 2016 audited financial statements. All Alberta municipalities must prepare annual audited financial statements. Upon municipal council approval they must be submitted to Alberta Municipal Affairs by April 30 of each year.