Town Takes Next Step with Affordable Housing Project
Council approved moving forward with pre-design work for a new affordable housing development at 338/340 Banff Avenue. Council committed $180,000 for geotechnical investigation, a traffic study, site survey and civil engineering pre-design for the project. Funding for this initial work is coming from the Cash in Lieu Housing Reserve and the Community Housing Reserve.
The project will create about 29 entry-level homes to be sold in a price-restricted model. The two plots of land on Banff Avenue were purchased by the Banff Housing Corporation in December 2013 for the purposes of a future housing development.
Affordable housing is a priority in the Banff Strategic Plan. This project follows the opening of the Ti’nu Apartments and its 131 rental units. The Town has a target rental vacancy rate of 3%. Last year, the vacancy rate increased from 0% to 0.6%.
Changes Give Flexibility to Snow and Ice Policy
Council approved several changes to the Snow and Ice Policy C108-1 to make it more flexible for staff to ensure safety during severe weather, while maintaining environmental responsibility. Snow and ice control can vary greatly from year to year, and each winter, changing weather may require different service responses based on snow, temperature and weather forecasts. The new policy allows, in certain circumstances:
- use of alternate products for increased traction and ice control while maintaining a balance between public safety and environmental impacts,
- use of Sodium Chloride or similar product for increased traction and ice control while maintaining a balance between public safety and environmental impacts, and
- altering the Snow Management Priority Schedule “A” during extreme weather events, including but not limited too; freezing rain, major snow storms and extreme freezing temperatures.
By allowing greater flexibility, a senior official will be able to determine if certain products are required to increase road traction, such as early winter freezing rain followed by snow. The flexibility also allows snow removal to deviate from the priority schedule in the policy. An example of this situation is when crews have cleared priority streets, such as the main arterial roads and hills, but a sustained snowfall is occurring before the crews have completed secondary routes, such as residential areas. In the previous policy, crews would have to shift back to primary thoroughfares. With the changes, in a sustained snowstorm, crews can take passes through secondary zones, such as residential roads, to ensure accumulations are not too great.
Fire Hydrant and Intersection No-Parking Markings Tested
Council received a briefing on the results of a test of on-road markings to better indicate no-parking areas near fire hydrants, intersections and crosswalks. Previous approaches to notifying drivers included discs on hydrants, signs and yellow painted curbs showing where parking was not allowed. The proliferation of signs and yellow curb markings were deemed ineffective and aesthetically distracting. Last year’s test of white triangles painted on the road to demark the endpoint of allowed parking proved effective. With increased compliance at initial test locations, the triangle road markings were extended to additional intersections for setback notification and improved site lines. Data was collected during the months of July and August 2018.
The sample data released this week shows the greatest effectiveness of white painted triangles:
- Beaver Street: 50% reduction in violations (fixed sign)
- Buffalo Street: 70% reduction in violations (yellow painted curb)
- Marten Street: 100 % reduction in violations (white painted roadway)
- 424 Muskrat Street: 33% increase in violations (disk on hydrant)
- 448 Muskrat Street: 50% decrease in violations (disk on hydrant)
Public Hearing Set for Road Closure Bylaw
A Public Hearing has been scheduled for Bylaw 417 – Road Closure Bylaw – 514 Deer Street, for Tuesday, October 15 at 2 p.m. at Banff Town Hall. This had been approved by council at a meeting in July, but due to a clerical error in the property title, a new bylaw and public hearing process was established. The bylaw proposes closing the roadway at 514 Deer Street, as there are risks associated with the operation of 514 Deer Street as a roadway. This parcel of land is leased by the Town. The lot has functionally operated as access from Deer Street to driveways in the back of the neighbouring six properties. The gravel road then proceeds onto Tunnel Mountain Road. However, this undesignated gravel roadway crosses the lots, on those private leaseholds. No agreements exist for the public to use the access on those private leaseholds. Without an agreement between all private leaseholds and with the Town for public access, the Town recommends a formal road closure for the Town’s leased property. By passing first reading of the bylaw, council enabled a public hearing to be held on the issue.