Council gave three readings to Bylaw 388 – 2018 Fees and Charges – but postponed a vote on fees for sidewalk seating until they could review options for different ways to charge for the use of public sidewalks. Currently, a sidewalk seating permit is $100 with a $100 reapplication processing fee. After a review of fees charged in other communities for sidewalk cafes, administration proposed a $1,500 per permit fee. Two letters were received as public feedback on the proposed fee change. Council voted to temporarily suspend sidewalk seating permits and postpone a vote on the new fee until they received a report on different options sidewalk seating fees. Each year, administration reviews fees and charges to see if they are reasonable. Administration considers variables such as the cost of the service; the fees charged by other municipalities for the services; and the ability for the user to pay.
Council endorsed the City of Calgary’s bid to host the 2019 Winter Cycling Congress and, if successful, commit staff time to planning and hosting a field trip visit as part of the event. The Winter Cycling Federation based in Finland has held an annual congress since 2013. This is a three-day winter cycling conference held in February, covering a range of topics including infrastructure, maintenance, public health, tourism, education, communication and art. This event attracts approximately 400 delegates and seeks to inspire improvements in facilitating this active mode of winter transportation and recreation.
Council received a fourth quarter update on the Town’s 2017 capital projects. A total of $41.7 million in capital project funding has been approved by council in a total of 83 ongoing projects. Good progress is being made in the majority of projects with liabilities being identified early and acted upon as part of the project management process. It is currently anticipated that the majority of capital projects will be delivered within the identified capital budget. Projects include everything from construction of the new skateboard park to sewer main replacements. A full list of projects and their current status is available at banff.ca/majorprojects
Council received an update on food security initiatives in the community. To address food-related affordability issues that were identified in the 2014 Community Social Assessment, a community forum with over 60 participants was hosted by Family and Community Support Services to identify specific strategies and potential action items that could be pursued to try to address the issues. Over the past two years, that resulted in the establishment of the Bow Valley Food Alliance, Banff Food Rescue, the Share Garden project, expansion and rebranding of Community Table, expansion of the Good Food Box program, and more.
Council received an update on the Town’s nature-oriented, outdoor children’s programming. Research shows an increase in daily screen time for Canadian students – up to eight hours a day – in addition to lower rates of physical activity. According to Canada’s Active Healthy Report Card, only 7% of Canadian kids are meeting the recommended guidelines of one hour of moderate to vigorous activity each day. Two new programs were added to the child and youth program offerings as a way to respond to some of this data – Into the Wild and Mountain Adventurers. The two programs focused on outdoor education and getting kids active and engaged with nature. Increased time outside leads to increased activity levels and connecting kids to nature is shows an increased benefit to mental and emotional health, including self-confidence, better communication skills, lower rates of depression and anxiety, less bullying.