Council received a briefing on the results of the recently completed Resident Satisfaction Survey. The Town conducts this scientifically accurate telephone survey during election years so a new council and staff can use the information to help set priorities, review service levels and establish budgets. Overall, results are relatively unchanged from the 2013 survey: 97% of residents say they are proud to live in Banff; 95% rate the overall quality of life as good or very good; 87% are satisfied or very satisfied with the Town’s services overall; 86% feel they receive good or very good value for their municipal tax dollar. When asked to rate the affordability of living in Banff, 61% rated it as unaffordable. Lack of affordable housing was the most often mentioned reason by those who thought quality of life in Banff worsened over the past three years; 67% rated their current housing situation as acceptable. The full results are available at http://banff.ca/index.aspx?NID=712
Council gave three readings to a Traffic Bylaw amendment to allow for-hire rickshaws and pedicabs on certain routes in town, with an end date of December 31, 2019. Anyone who wishes to operate a pedicab or rickshaw tour business will need to acquire the appropriate business license, lease office and storage space from an existing transportation service or apply for a change of use in an existing commercial space and change it to Transportation Service, and observe a number of traffic and safety related regulations. An updated map of approved routes is included in the May 8 agenda package http://www.banff.ca/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/05082017-618
Council directed administration to reduce the budget for the Trunk Sanitary Sewer Condition Assessment & Cleaning project by $70,000 to account for cost savings and increase the budget for the Sewer Main Repairs project by $70,000 to allow for replacement of a pipe section in poor condition discovered during the Trunk Sanitary Sewer Condition Assessment & Cleaning project. Of the 5,841 metres of pipe surveyed, 5,246 metres (90%) is in very good structural condition and 595 metres (10%) of the pipe are in fair structural condition. 216 metres (4%) of pipe is part of the main sanitary trunk sewer and has a number of cracks and fractures which are likely to worsen with time, and its replacement is a high priority. Council had approved a budget of $280,000 for sanitary repairs in 2017 and, with this new information on the condition of some pipes, administration recommended that savings from the cleaning project be allocated to the sanitary repairs budget.
Council amended the Housing Incentive Purchase Program Policy C2003 to provide an increased loan amount for employees purchasing their first home in the Town of Banff. The Town will match the employee’s down payment on the purchase of their first home within the Town of Banff boundaries up to a maximum of $40,000 by way of a second mortgage. Employees purchasing in the Bow Valley outside the Town of Banff’s boundaries can receive a maximum of $30,000 by way of a second mortgage. Council also made a motion for administration to explore ways to guarantee employees meet the qualifications set out in the Housing Incentive Purchase Program before issuing the interest free loan.
Council voted to target a 10-year transfer to the Resource Recovery Capital reserve for the replacement of vehicles & machinery/equipment. The current 2017 transfer to reserve of $314,337 will be maintained with an annual increase in the transfer equal to Alberta CPI. The Resource Recovery Capital reserve has a 2017 opening balance of $38,240 and a budgeted 2017 transfer of $314,337. Based on an annual increase to this transfer equal to Alberta CPI, the reserve is adequately funded with minor dips into a negative balance over the 110-year time frame.
Council voted to target a 10-year transfer to the transit capital reserve for the replacement of transit assets. The current 2017 transfer to reserves of $49,100 will be maintained with an annual increase in the transfer equal to Alberta CPI and the addition of Transit Storage Facility Revenues in 2019. The Transit capital reserve has a forecasted 2017 opening balance of 347,380 and a budgeted 2017 transfer of $49,100. Based on an annual increase to this transfer equal to Alberta CPI, budgeted increases to the reserve for approved new capital assets, and the addition of Transit Storage Facility revenue in 2019 the reserve is adequately funded with minor dips into a negative balance over the 120-year time frame.
Council received a briefing on the February 2017 economic impact report. Economic impact calculations are from the modelling tool created by Econometric Research Limited as part of the 2016 Banff, Jasper and Canmore Tourism Economic Impact Study.
Council received an update on issues related to Alberta Health Services moving Banff EMS to a new dispatch centre and to the new Alberta First Responder Radio Communication System (AFRRCS). On February 21, 2017, Alberta Health Services transitioned EMS dispatch to the new south Calgary dispatch centre and simultaneously switched over to AFRRCS without sufficient consultation on how they would communicate with fire first responders in the region and Parks Canada. Silvio Adamo, fire chief and director of protective services for the Town of Banff, and Jamie Tiessen, vice chairman of the Foothills Regional Emergency Services Commission, advised that the transition has been problematic, with errors and delays in emergency response for ambulance and fire medical responses. The Commission is asking the provincial government to reconsider its decision to centralize emergency medical dispatch for 26 southern Alberta municipalities and 33 fire departments and stations. The Town of Banff has been working with Banff-Cochrane MLA Cam Westhead, and have met with Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman on the issue. Council said they would provide any support necessary to help expedite solutions.