Council received an update on the Verdant Creek wildfire that was first detected on July 15 in Kootenay National Park. Smoke from the fire continues to be visible in the Town of Banff, but there is no immediate risk to the community. The Banff Fire Department assisted Parks Canada on Monday, July 17 to provide structural and facility protection at Sunshine Village. The Town’s fire department is involved in daily briefings with Park’s fire team. Parks Canada are providing updates about the fire at http://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/scond/Rec_Rep_e.asp?opark=100092
Council approved an advance of approximately $130,000 for a 10% down payment on the replacement of the fire department’s aerial apparatus. Council had previously approved the new equipment, replacing the current 25 year old aerial apparatus, with funding to begin in January 2018. It takes approximately 12 months to build the apparatus, and the manufacturer requires a 10% deposit to begin.
Council approved an advance of approximately $18,000 for the purchase of six sets of bunker gear for the newly hired firefighters. This year, eight people were hired as paid, on-call firefighters. With varying sizes, the fire department was unable to reuse most of the bunker gear from outgoing firefighters. The proper fit of bunker gear is essential for providing good mobility and protection for fire and rescue activities.
Council directed administration to increase weekend transit service on Roam Route 2 from July 22, 2017 to September 10, 2017. The increase will cost $8,320, with money coming from the budget stabilization reserve. Year to date, transit ridership on Route 2 has increased by 11%. Free transit is offered to campers at Tunnel Mountain who are riding into town as an incentive to leave their cars at the campground. The route has been extended further into the campground – servicing a greater number of visitors, but also extending running distance and increasing travel time. Increasing the service for the remainder of the summer on weekends has a potential ridership increase of 4,500 riders.
Council voted to name the lane between the 500 block of Banff Avenue and the 500 block of Deer Street, Coyote Lane. The lane had been commonly called Deer Lane since work began on the affordable housing development Ti’nu. For the purposes of the addressing bylaw, and to differentiate the lane from Deer Street, council chose to name the location Coyote Lane. In 2004, the council of the day renamed Coyote Drive to Hidden Ridge Way, and made a motion that ‘coyote’ be given first priority for any future street naming in Banff.
Council gave first reading to Bylaw 383 – Electric Franchise Agreement Bylaw. The Town receives annual franchise fees from utility companies for the right to use lands throughout the town for their infrastructure. The Town has a 10 year franchise agreement with Fortis Alberta that will expire at the end of 2017. After first reading, the bylaw is sent to the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC), and an AUC template notice will be provided for the Town to publish in a local newspaper. At the end of the notice period, if there are no objections, the AUC will proceed with the application without a hearing.
Council gave first reading to Bylaw 384 – Borrowing Bylaw – Cave Avenue Affordable Housing Pre-Design and directed administration to advertise the bylaw for two consecutive weeks. Council also approved a capital budget amendment of $200,000 from the housing reserve fund to allow administration to proceed with public consultation, geotechnical investigation, slope stability analysis, site survey and civil engineering pre-design, tender designs related to the construction of affordable housing on 145-155 Cave Avenue. That work is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2017. Council also directed administration to return to council with a detailed financial forecast for an affordable housing construction project on the Cave Avenue lots through debt financing. In December 2015, council unanimously approved the purchase of land on the newly named Coyote Lane and on Cave Avenue to construct housing.
Council received a briefing on residential parking permit options. Residential parking permits have been in place for many years in larger and mid-size cites in North America. These are usually in residential areas that are adjacent to popular commercial areas, larger educational institutions, hospitals and major transportation hubs. Permits can help ensure visitors to those areas do not monopolize residential on-street parking in an attempt to avoid paying for parking and/or strict time limit enforcement which is common for high use parking areas. Council voted to direct administration to return with a report on a residential parking permit program for Banff should user-pay parking be implemented.
Council received a briefing on emergency repairs made at a Town owned building. On May 24, the staff accommodation at 221 Beaver St. experienced a flood to both floors of the building from a sewer pipe back up, which was covered by an insurance claim. Upon restoration between June 1 and June 13, unrelated structural decay and mold of the wood framing behind the rock facade on the outside walls was identified, due to many years of water infiltration into the wall framing and structure. Repair work is now underway with completion expected on July 31. A building inspection was done prior to the purchase of this property, but because of the location of the damage it was not identified at through the process. It’s estimated the project will not exceed $65,000. It will be funded from the general capital reserve. The majority of lost rental income will be covered under the insurance claim for the sewer backup and no significant variance is anticipated to the operating budget.
A briefing on the March/April economic impact update was postponed until the next council meeting.