Environmental Master Plan Adopted
Council adopted a long-term Environmental Master Plan to guide future planning and Town operations, and to set community goals for preserving and protecting the environment. Banff has demonstrated environmental leadership in a number of areas, but until now, Banff did not have an over-arching, comprehensive roadmap for adopting and implementing innovative programs and initiatives that advance the community’s protection and enhancement of the natural environment. This 10-year plan will guide actions focussed on achieving goals in key areas:
- Diverting the maximum possible amount of waste from going to landfill, and preventing waste from coming into our homes and businesses in the first place.
- Enhancing sustainable transportation, to enable more walking, cycling, skateboarding and using transit that is increasingly powered by renewable energy.
- Transitioning the supply of energy for our entire community away from sources that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
- Preserving the local ecosystems, by understanding and eliminating the impact our community has on the surrounding area.
- And in the future, programs to measure, understand and potentially better manage our air quality and water supply.
The Environmental Master Plan was shaped by Banff’s Community Plan and long-term pertinent plans and strategies, and supported by extensive research and a community engagement process through much of 2018. The Town of Banff will begin focusing on action and implementation plans in each main area over the next 10 years, starting with waste, energy, and ecosystems, and continuing work underway on sustainable transportation.
Support for YWCA Housing Project
Council indicated their support for the YWCA’s newest housing initiative, the Courtyard Project. Council directed administration to work with the organization to identify options for in-kind contributions, fee waivers, or direct financial support for council’s consideration at the February 11 meeting. The YWCA plans to build 33 new housing units in Banff, and sought the Town’s support to improve the potential to secure grant funding from the federal government. Housing is a council strategic priority, and supporting non-profits in developments that provide housing is an action identified in the Banff Community Housing Strategy.
Outreach on Development Permits
In an effort to increase public awareness about development proposals in the community, council asked for a report on options and costs for increasing notification to the community before decisions have been made on development permits. Council also directed administration to develop an education program to help people become more aware of development processes and requirements of the Land Use Bylaw. This comes after feedback from 37 stakeholders, including developers and people who appealed developments, who reviewed a proposed policy to increase public outreach. Council decided not to create a new policy that would have added steps for private companies to compile public input before they submit applications for certain developments. Instead, council wants administration to focus on how the Town can stimulate greater community awareness about proposed projects.
Adjustment to Waste Removal Contract in Lake Louise
Council directed administration to enter into a three-year Memorandum of Agreement with Parks Canada for solid waste removal services in the Lake Louise Field Unit. A five-year term was originally approved by council, but it exceeded the spending threshold of the local Parks Canada Field Unit, and they requested a three-year term instead. To accommodate the reduced time commitment, an additional $43,299 in revenues annually has been added to the contract which will be set aside to cover costs if the contract is not extended in 2022, and the equipment would need to be liquidated. Council directed administration to return with a report outlining the contract, and liabilities to the Town if required to sell the equipment after three years.
Council Approves 2019 Operating and Capital Budgets
After several weeks examining all Town operations, the number of employees in each unit and all service levels, Banff Town Council passed its 2019 budget, with $11.9 million in investments on capital and infrastructure projects. Council also set $44.8 million in spending to operate more than 100 programs across 73 service areas in the year ahead.
For a typical Banff dwelling valued at $399,200, the budget is estimated to result in a property tax increase of $102 for the year, or $8.55 a month for households on the monthly payment plan.
The final tax impact will be set in May after the Alberta government submits a requisition for the Provincial Education Tax.
Inflation accounts for 1.34% property tax increase, to provide the same 2018 services in 2019. New projects and service enhancements add 3.03%. The Provincial Education Tax, which the Town collects for the Government of Alberta, is estimated to increase property taxes by 0.54%. Factoring a seniors housing levy, the total property tax increase for 2019 is predicted to increase by 4.93%.
2019 projects include:
Town of Banff Seeks Input on Shared Street Designs for Bear Street
- additional trail lighting
- a new Fire Department pump truck, a trailer for equipment to protect houses from encroaching wildfire, and new “jaws of Life” for vehicle extractions
- landscaping and fencing was approved around a new parking lot being built at the Train Station this year, as well as a transit shuttle connecting the new lot with other Roam services
- 63 residential waste collection bins for food (over the next 2 years), and 20 residential 3-stream recycling bins for collection of mixed paper, plastics & metal and glass
- upgrades to the Banff Recreation Grounds; work to establish a new dog park; and a new public playground at the Banff Elementary School
- pre-design work to help plan a pedestrian crossing at the CP rails connecting Marmot Crescent and the industrial compound
- roadway overlay and sidewalk improvements in various locations through the town
- a study of wildlife corridors in the townsite and an education and awareness campaign to minimize attractants that can result in conflicts with bears, wolves, elk and other large animals
- equipment to live stream and video record council meetings to enhance transparency of Town Hall and to provide more ways for people to engage on issues that are important in our community
Council directed administration to seek public feedback on design options for permanent features to make the 200 block of Bear Street a shared thoroughfare that places pedestrian and cyclist traffic as important as vehicle traffic. After holding trials of temporary features over a few summers, the Town will design permanent changes for construction in the spring of 2020. All property owners and tenants on Bear Street, as well as any other interested residents and businesses, will be invited to information and feedback sessions starting in late February to provide input on the draft streetscape designs. An online survey will also seek input on the design options.
Certain design elements will be required as part of the project to follow Banff Refreshing standards, which were first implemented on Banff Avenue. Feedback will help council decide on other features, such as the number and location of public seating areas, the configuration of traffic lanes, seating for restaurant patios, the number of parking or loading stalls on the street, and if elements should change for summer and winter.
The summer trials were called “woonerf” testing. The origins of a pedestrian-priority street is a "woonerf," which is a Dutch term loosely meaning "street for living." Shared streets envision an integrated space to better balance the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and low-speed motor vehicles and typically lack signs and markings necessary for the operation of conventional streets, with users instead guided by the physical design of the street. The intended result is that the use of the street is more comfortable, and adjacent commercial businesses benefit from greater pedestrian and bicycle use.