Utility Surcharge for Out-of-Town Users
Council voted to continue the practice of charging a utility surcharge of 25% to users outside the town’s boundaries. The ‘out-of-town’ surcharge has been in place since 1997, and reflects the fact these users of Town water and sewer services do not contribute to funding future growth of utility infrastructure. The Rocky Mountain Resort, Juniper Hotel, Mount Norquay ski hill, Upper Hot Springs, Rimrock Hotel, Sulphur Mountain Gondola and Tunnel Mountain Campground are all outside the town’s boundary, but tie into town utility services.
Sulphur Mountain Sanitary Sewer Replacement
Council voted to pay for the replacement of the Sulphur Mountain Sanitary Sewer Main through debt financing. The sewer main belongs to the town, but is located outside the town’s boundary on Sulphur Mountain. It services the three businesses on the mountain – the Rimrock Hotel, Sulphur Mountain Gondola and Upper Hot Springs. Based on preliminary design, and given the engineering complexity of the project and level of uncertainty about ground conditions, the construction is anticipated to cost $2 to $4 million. The town will need to borrow to complete the work, and council decided to recoup the costs through utility rates from those using the system.
Relaxed Rules for Parking Stall Requirements on Right Track
A study of parking stall usage at apartment buildings that have been allowed to provide fewer on-site stalls indicates the recently implemented rules have not contributed to a parking shortage. Bylaw 380 was created (and it’s predecessor Policy C122) to reduce the amount of required parking for apartments to encourage new housing development in the community. Since the regulations were implemented in 2014, 208 units have been built and 29 are currently in planning or construction phase. Council had asked for the study to look at how relaxed parking requirements might have impacted parking availability. Eight apartments that made use of Bylaw 380 were studied, along with three “control” properties that did not make use of the bylaw. Observation of parking was conducted over four days in August between noon and 2 a.m., and residents of these buildings were also surveyed. Results include:
- Vehicle ownership rates and off-street and street parking rates appear to be lower with Bylaw 380 properties than control properties.
- Based on a survey of residents in these properties, and low occupancy in some off-street parking facilities suggests a preference for street parking in certain circumstance, due to factors such as the convenience of parking on the street compared to off-street, and the use of parking stalls for storage of non-vehicular objects (trailers etc.).
- Most (7 of 8) Bylaw 380 properties are within 200 metres of a street that generally has parking availability, and all Bylaw 380 properties are within 300 metres of a street with low parking pressures.
- The minimum parking requirement of 0.6 stalls per dwelling unit currently required in the Land Use Bylaw is similar to the observed use of parking facilities by Bylaw 380 residents (0.6 parked vehicles per dwelling unit). However, the surveys indicated Bylaw 380 property residents own 1.2 vehicles per dwelling unit and park 0.9 vehicles off-street, and 0.3 vehicles on the street.
- The household survey responses suggest vehicle ownership rates for two-bedroom units appear to be closer to that of three- and four-bedroom units.
Since the Ti’nu Apartment Complex had not yet been fully occupied during the study period, council voted to repeat the survey in 2019. They also directed administration to return with public policy initiatives to encourage residents to use available off-street parking, and for questions about vehicle ownership per bedroom units be considered for addition in the next municipal census.
New Transit Storage Facility Moves to Planning Stage
Council voted to proceed with environmental review of a transit storage facility to house the Roam Public Transit fleet in Banff’s Industrial District. Outdoor storage is no longer adequate for the expanding fleet, and indoor storage will prolong the life of the fleet, especially as Roam moves to electric vehicles. In addition, indoor storage is more environmentally friendly than outdoor lots. The Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission (which runs Roam Public Transit) applied for, and has received, provincial funding for a two-thirds contribution to a new $7 million bus storage facility. The Roam fleet currently operates three hybrid electric buses and is set to begin a migration to fully electric buses as early as 2020. Council voted to proceed with an environmental review of 100 Hawk Ave as the site for construction of the new facility, to develop an environmentally efficient design that will achieve LEED Silver certification, and to develop a design that includes the following environmental performance requirements as options:
- net zero carbon emissions from annual operations
- certification under the Canadian Green Building Council’s (CaGBC) new Zero Carbon Standard.