Council briefs for September 8, 2020
“Banff Sign” will remain at current location
The Town will look for opportunities to make improvements to public safety at the “Banff Sign” site on Norquay Road. Council reviewed options that included moving the sign to a new location, but ultimately voted to keep the sign where it is as an entrance feature to the townsite, because the sign was found to not contribute to traffic congestion issues. First installed in 2017, it has become a very popular visitor attraction. Between 2017 and 2019 council authorized administration to implement a series of measures to help better manage visitor impacts in the immediate vicinity of the sign. These included:
- Changes to the location, size and number of planters in the median and other signage/road marking changes to slow/calm traffic and improve pedestrian safety;
- Improvements to the pedestrian crossing were made and adjusted in response to resident and visitor feedback and site observations. These improvements had the effect of improving pedestrian safety and slowing down vehicle movements; and
- Extensive video monitoring established that almost 90% of the backups to the highway were caused by trains blocking Norquay road.
Council has now directed administration to look for additional ways to improve public safety at the site.
Code of Conduct Bylaw approved
Council gave three readings to Bylaw 429, the Council Code of Conduct Bylaw. This bylaw provides standards for the conduct of council members relating to their roles and obligations. Code of conduct bylaws are considered a good governance practice as they show accountability and transparency for council members. Certain ethical principles should govern the conduct of council members in order to maintain the highest standards in public office and to faithfully discharge to the duties of that office. The bylaw deals with matters such as representing the town, respectful interactions, conflicts of interest and sanctions.
COVID-19 pandemic update as of September 8, 2020
Council received a verbal update on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Banff, and local initiatives to combat the spread.
To date, 53,000 masks have been distributed on Banff Avenue by Safety Ambassadors. The successful ambassador program runs seven days a week in the downtown pedestrian zone, and is scheduled to wrap up Sunday, September 18 with the return of vehicles to the 100 and 200 blocks of Banff Ave. Masks will still be handed out, this time on weekends by Bear Street Ambassadors. Residents are able to pick up a supply of masks from Safety Ambassadors until September 13, and after that masks will be available at the front desk at Town Hall starting September 14.
There have been no active cases in Banff in the month of August, however the province of Alberta has seen an increase in cases. The Emergency Coordination Centre encourages all residents and visitors to remain vigilant, practice good hand hygiene and stay home if not feeling well.
Council directed administration to discuss with Alberta Health Services, health providers and other stakeholders on options for strengthening a potential community integrated response during the pandemic, and bring back options to the next Governance and Finance Committee meeting on September 21. Council is also looking at options to keep masks mandatory outside on Banff Avenue after the pedestrian zone has closed and the 100/200 block reopens to traffic.
Peter and Catharine Whyte Residence could be next Municipal Historic Resource
The Peter and Catharine Whyte Residence on the Whyte Museum grounds could become the town’s next designated Municipal Historic Resource. Council authorized administration to issue a Notice of Intention to Designate the property at 130 Bow Avenue following an application from the Whyte Museum to recognize the home. A Municipal Historic Resource designation is to recognize the significance of a historic resource, protect it legally, and support the maintenance of its character defining elements in perpetuity. The Town of Banff currently has 14 designated Municipal Historic Resources. The Peter and Catharine Whyte Residence merits designation as a Municipal Historic Resource for its representative Rocky Mountain folk design and excellence in craftsmanship, as well as its association with Peter and Catharine Robb Whyte, renown artists, community members, and philanthropists. Should the property receive designation, it would be eligible for a grant-in-aid of municipal property taxes and a matching restoration/rehabilitation grant.
New dog park, picnic area construction starts this fall
Council voted to proceed with construction of new amenities at the Banff Recreation Grounds fall, including a new dog park, sports field upgrade/remediation, picnic areas, and ball diamond irrigation. The project budget has increased due to the discovery of contaminated soils within the sports field. The tendered projects (totalling $1.497M) have come within the overall approved budget for 2020 ($1.553M) but the tendered values are greater than the budgeted values for the individual projects by $632,000 with approximately $600,000 of this overage being attributed mitigation costs for the sports field and surrounding cinder track. Improvements at the recreation grounds are part of the overall Banff Recreation Grounds Redevelopment Plan, (https://banff.ca/948/Recreation-Grounds-Redevelopment-Project) adopted by council in 2015.