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Council Updates

Posted on: August 15, 2022

Council briefs for August 8, 2022

Remembrance of Ethan Enns-Goneau

Council held a moment of silence in honour of Banff resident Ethan Enns-Goneau, who was killed at a downtown bar the morning of Friday, August 5. The Town Hall flag was also lowered to half-mast as a symbol of collective grief in the community. 

Mayor DiManno spoke of Enns-Goneau, and his impact on the community:

“Even though the sun was shining down on us this weekend, a grey cloud of grief permeates our small community. Our hearts are heavy with sadness and anger and our minds cannot comprehend the senseless violence that robbed Banff of a son, a brother, a teammate, a co-worker and a friend.

“Ethan Enns-Goneau had a smile for everyone. From being a dedicated teammate on the field and on the ice, to being a good and gentle friend, he was a bright light in our community. Ethan made Banff a sweeter, more caring place. In these dark times, we must endeavour to be more like Ethan. Cherish your friends, treat others with kindness, and hold your loved ones a little closer.

“To Ethan’s family and friends: please know the community mourns with you and that we are here for you. We feel your unimaginable loss and are devastated. This is a horrible, difficult time, so it’s imperative you know that support services and counselling are available to you. You certainly are not alone in your grief. 

“In the last few days, I’m sure we’ve all had conversations where we’ve expressed a feeling of helplessness.

“But What we can do is come together to support one another, even if it’s hard to find the right words. Sometimes, words can’t express what we’re feeling, and that’s fine. As long as we’re together, we can get through this.

“We will always remember Ethan, and his memory will live on within all who loved him.”

 

Safety review of pedestrian bridge areas

The Town has conducted a review of Banff’s pedestrian bridges and the surrounding areas, using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).

The premise of CPTED is that “the proper design and effective use of the built environment can lead to a reduction in the incidence of crime, and an improvement in the quality of life.”

On June 27, 2022, council asked for a CPTED review to assess the overall safety of the two pedestrian bridges. Following a criminal incident in October that occurred at the Muskrat Street bridge, council was looking to improve safety at the location. The Town worked with stakeholders such as RCMP and the YWCA to assess concepts of security cameras for investigating incidents and the CPTED review identifies other attributes to enhance safety.

As part of the recommendations, council approved pruning foliage around the bridge entrances to minimize hiding locations. Council also asked for a report for options for a continuous illuminated path from the south end of the Muskrat Street bridge to both the YWCA’s main building and Spray Avenue to improve safety and comfort. A report will be coming to council on new trail lighting enhancements for the current and future pedestrian bridge. 

Council also asked for a report outlining potential locations, if any, for surveillance cameras within the townsite. They requested this be based on empirical evidence, and further consultation with the RCMP.

The safety and security of the Town is a priority for council. Following this CPTED review, council has asked for a report addressing the implications of implementing CPTED reviews on future Town infrastructure developments. 

 

Lot designated Public Parkland

Following a public hearing, council approved third reading of a bylaw to change the land use designation of 514 Deer Street from RTM: Tunnel Mountain District to PP: Parkland District. 

This lot has been within a residential Land Use District since the Town’s incorporation in 1990. However, in practice, the property has provided rear access to six homes on Deer Street from Tunnel Mountain Road since at least 1958 (according to aerial photos). The re-designation allows long-term functional access by the owners of the private properties, with the majority of the land remaining as naturalized green space. 

Should the use of the property for vehicle access end, another option allowed for within the PP: Parkland District would be to make use of the property as a parkette, similar in scale to the Jasper Way parkette. The leaseholders of the private property will continue to discuss agreements to maintain private vehicle access across each of the six private properties as a private alley. The Town closed the entrance to the private access on Deer Street.

 

Council travel options added to policy

Town council approved a change to their Council Remuneration Policy to allow councillors or the mayor to travel outside Canada, without requiring a meeting of council to vote to give permission for that travel. The change does not increase existing budgets for council members’ travel. The change was made to allow consideration of travel to a location, such as in the U.S., for a conference or other gathering, which may cost less than travel to Canadian locations such as in Central Canada, on the east coast or far north. For example, the next meeting of the Mountain and Resort Town Planners Summit is in Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado, whereas the next Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference is in Ottawa, almost 1,600 km farther away.

 

Dedicated Horse Trail Project

Banff town council has deferred a decision to construct a dedicated horse trail along Cave Avenue to allow evaluation of the summer shared use of the trail and to engage local residents and the horse ride operator about options.

A paved sidewalk runs along Cave Avenue from Birch Drive past Sundance Road to the town boundary. A multi-use trail runs parallel to the paved sidewalk, about 5 metres away through the trees. The Recreation Grounds redevelopment plan identified a need for another trail running parallel to Cave Avenue, just for horses. The horse-only trail was planned to be built between Sundance Road to Birch Avenue, to be used in summer by the horse ride operator as the dedicated path to walk unmounted horses twice a day between the Recreation Grounds stables and the Fairmont Banff Springs, where tours are operated. 

The master plan for the Recreation Grounds identified the need to remove equestrian activities from the north trail, which now runs beside the skatepark, the off-leash dog park, the basketball court, and the new end point for the Nancy Pauw Bridge. The area will become too busy for mixing of pedestrians, cyclists and other users along with horses.

In the spring, when the construction of the base of the dedicated horse trail was to begin, late winter conditions delayed work, and the time to remove trees before nesting season was missed. For the summer, the Town built connectors at Sundance Road and Birch Drive allowing the daily horse train to use the existing multi-use trail normally used by hikers, dog-walkers, pedestrians and cyclists. For two periods of time each day (8 – 10 a.m. and 4 – 7 p.m.), trail signs indicate the trail is closed to all users except horses.

During the summer, new information arising from an environmental impact assessment concluded that the trail would remove 1,680 m2 of intact wetland/riparian habitat, and a portion of 5,600 m2 habitat area surrounding the trail. As a result, Parks Canada required the Town offset this habitat loss by reclaiming/naturalizing an equivalent area elsewhere, most likely the wetland pond near the sports field. This work would cost of between $85,000 and $125,000 based on 2022 bids on similar reclamation projects, adding more than 50% to the cost of the project. 

Rather than proceeding immediately, council asked administration to evaluate the 2022 interim solution of closing the multi-use trail to all users except horses twice a day, and bring back a report during budget deliberations.

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