News Releases

Council Updates

Posted on: September 12, 2018

Council briefs for September 10, 2018

Standard Fees for use of The Fenlands
Standard fees will apply for venue rentals if TSN returns to Banff with the Curling Skins Game. The television network had requested council waive fees to rent The Fenlands for the event for the next three years. The estimated amount would have been $32,574 per year. Council noted it is a great event for the community and for national exposure, but if fees were waived, ratepayers would be responsible for covering the costs. In 2017, Banff and Lake Louise Tourism provided a sponsorship of $5,000 and in 2019 are proposing $15,000 and marketing support.

Requests from Banff Hockey Academy
The Banff Hockey Academy (BHA) has requested a number of changes to their operating agreement, and for certain upgrades be made to The Fenlands that are within their leased area. The BHA is asking council to approve modifications to dressing room lighting, ventilation for the laundry room, and for free use of dressing rooms and meeting rooms, if they are vacant during their activities. Council asked administration to provide on Sept. 24 a cost breakdown for the BHA request and options for special rates and accommodations to meet the request.

Snow and Ice Benchmarking Report
Administration presented a benchmarking report on snow and ice clearing, comparing Banff’s service to four other municipalities. This is the eighth of a series of reports in the Alberta Municipal Benchmarking Initiative, using data from 2012, 2013, and 2014. Even though the total snow and ice control budget for Banff was the lowest of the municipalities in the study, the cost in Banff are significantly higher than in other communities, on a cost per kilometre comparison. Costs per km in Banff are higher because the Town does not use salt or liquid melt on roads, for environmental reasons. Consequently, more frequent and intensive physical practices (plowing/blading) are required to meet the high service standard. In addition, Banff clears public sidewalks to a much higher standard than other communities and services substantially greater pedestrian traffic. Efficiency and effectiveness practices in other communities will be examined to determine if improvements can be made in Banff. The full report, along with other benchmarking reports, is available at http://banff.ca/benchmarking.

Store Front Cannabis Retail Bylaw
Council approved Bylaw 421, a land use bylaw amendment that will allow store front cannabis retail shops as a discretionary use in the downtown district. Following feedback from a previous public hearing, Council set the separation requirement between stores to 30 metres. This limitation is intended to ensure that Banff does not have a cluster of cannabis retailers in one area. The Province requires a separation of 100 metres between a cannabis retail store and a property containing a school or health care facility. Banff will also require a 100-metre separation from a daycare or playground. Banff also added a restriction that storefront cannabis retail premises shall not contain a window facing a sidewalk or lane. Because Banff is in a national park, the change to the Land Use Bylaw has to be approved by Parks Canada. The overall regulations, including the Provincial legislation, has to be brought into force by the federal government. This is done through a tool call an Article of Entrustment. This could occur this fall. At one of the next council meetings, the Town will determine the requirements for an entrepreneur to be granted a business licence for cannabis retail, and a fair method for awarding the business licences.

Bylaw Enforcement Software
Council approved budget amendments to purchase software to expand the functionality of bylaw’s handheld ticketing system. This will allow officers to more efficiently enforce and record the total spectrum of Banff’s bylaws. Specifically, this will allow officers to issue warning tickets for smoking or vaping cannabis in public places, and other minor violations in the future. This avoids the need to issue a ticket and fine on first offence. The software upgrade is estimated at $6,800, with a support fee of $445 per year after the first year.

Appropriate Bedrooms in Required Housing
Council approved Bylaw 362, Appropriate Bedrooms in Required Housing. The bylaw was in response to the Community Housing Strategy, which listed as an action: Ensure that required bedrooms provided by developers are appropriate. The Land Use Bylaw states the number of bedrooms required for the provision of newly constructed housing when commercial development is proposed, but does not indicate the character of bedrooms that are required. Bylaw 362 serves as an incremental step to improve the required housing provision in the Land Use Bylaw, thus ensuring that bedrooms are located in the most appropriate housing developments for the staff they are intended to serve. First reading of the bylaw was given July 16 and a public hearing was held on August 20. Second and third reading were given at this meeting.

Restrictive Covenants for Required Housing
Council received reports on restrictive covenants and the concept of a land use category for employee residences. Council voted to take no further action on these concepts. While restrictive covenants are a possible mechanism for ensuring credited bedrooms for required housing serve their intended purpose, the legal defensibility, administration, and enforcement of restrictive covenants are a drawback. The ideas come from the 2014 Housing Strategy. Since 2014, a number of initiatives and regulations have helped encourage housing development, and ensure credited bedrooms in private dwellings serve their intended purpose of providing housing for the community.

Apartment Housing Management
Council reviewed a report on on-site 24-hour apartment housing management, which was a suggested action in the Community Housing Strategy for new apartments built in town. The action had been suggested to foster neighbourhood acceptance and mitigate noise complaints. However, complaints tracked from 2015 to August 2018 show the majority of complaints were from single-family homes/duplexes. There are no Canadian examples where on-site management for residential development is legislated or mandated by bylaw, but voluntary on-site management is common practice across North America. Council voted to take no further action on the concept, and instead planned to review data being collected over the next few months to determine if other strategies are required.

Human Wildlife Coexistence
Council reviewed the Human Wildlife Coexistence Report and directed administration to return at Service Review with proposals to implement some of its recommendations. The report comes out of a technical working group that was established following the relocation and ultimate death of Bear 148, which highlighted challenges faced in the management of wildlife in the Bow Valley. Out of this unfortunate event, a Human-Wildlife Coexistence Roundtable was struck consisting of representatives from Federal, Provincial, and Municipal governments in the Bow Valley. The group met over six months and developed a report with 28 recommendations over six focus areas, including
  • Keeping wildlife out of developed areas
  • Removing natural and unnatural attractants in developed areas 
  • Enhancing habitat away from developed areas
  • Increasing the capacity for enforcement
  • Improving interagency collaboration
The report can be viewed at http://banff.ca/index.aspx?NID=740.

Sanitary Sewer Emergency Repair
Council amended the 2018/2019 sanitary sewer budget, moving $280,000 from 2019 into 2018 in order to conduct an emergency repair at the Banff Springs Hotel service connection. Following a discharge from a town-owned manhole adjacent to the Spray River below the Waldhaus Restaurant, further investigation revealed that private property infrastructure leading to this manhole was in need of significant repairs.

Additional Council Activity
Council directed administration to present an adjusted 2019 Service Review document to reflect 12 additional months of contracted services related to long range and strategic planning. The 2018 external market review of wages and benefits was presented to council for information. The report ensures Town wages and benefits are in line with local businesses and similar regional municipalities. 

Postponed Until Next Meeting
Due to time constraints, the following reports were postponed until the next meeting: Public Smoking of Tobacco Restriction Options, Review of Bylaw 317 Taxation of Student Dormitories, Pedestrian Bridge Lift Station Odour Update, and Sidewalk Asset Management & 2018 Inspection.
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