New Ice Skating Rink at the Train Station Lot
A new outdoor ice skating rink will be installed at the Train Station’s west parking lot this winter and ice could be ready by mid-January 2022. The ice surface will be almost the size of an NHL rink, but without boards. An outdoor rink in the meadow at the northeast corner of The Fenlands Recreation Centre also opens this week. The rink at The Fenlands will be expanded from last year’s format, to almost NHL size. Both outdoor rinks will allow shinny hockey. The Fenlands rink will be open for use from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and the Train Station rink will be 10 a.m.-9 p.m. The two indoor ice rinks in The Fenlands will be available this year for hockey, shinny and public skating (see holiday schedule).
After a rink was cancelled at the high school field this year due to turf issues, and the Bear Street parking lot rink was not approved, council asked administration to find other locations for a potential rink where shinny hockey could also be played. Liricon Capital, the leaseholder of the Train Station and surrounding land, offered the use of the parking lot west of the Train Station as a spot for a rink. The main paved lot to the east of the Train Station will be operating as a parking lot this winter, and as an event site during SnowDays. The Town will invest about $29,000 in creating and maintaining the skating rinks, lighting and amenities such as warming shelters and portable toilets. A number of other locations were identified, but were discounted due to access to fire hydrant, ability for shinny to be allowed, and distance for the ice resurfacer to drive from The Fenlands. A rink is planned for the Recreation Grounds next winter season and the high school turf will be reassessed.
Work to cease train whistle at Norquay Road on hold
The Town of Banff will delay work needed to apply to CP Rail on ending train whistles from sounding at the Norquay Road crossings until a solution to pedestrian trespassing can be achieved. Council had received a request from a member of the public to ask CP Rail to stop sounding horns when travelling through Banff to reduce noise for residents and wildlife. Whistles sound to alert pedestrians and drivers to an oncoming train and are a safety requirement. CP Rail says the whistle is not just for people at Norquay Road; the loud horn is required to alert people who regularly trespass over the over the tracks between the residential area at the north end of town and the Industrial District.
CP Rail says they will not consider stopping the train whistle until the trespassing can be addressed. The Town of Banff has been working with CP and Parks Canada on options for an underpass, a bridge or ground-level pedestrian crossing for the past few years. A representative from CP Rail was scheduled to appear before council on the matter last month, but they were required to focus on the disaster in B.C. that has destroyed sections of railways. Until those discussions can resume and an engineering solution is provided to establish a safe pedestrian crossing, council voted to hold off seeking to end whistles in Banff. The rail crossing at Compound Road is outside the town boundary. Parks Canada would have to separately request CP Rail to not sound whistles at that controlled crossing.