Council asks for alternatives to CP Rail crossing
The Town of Banff will work with Parks Canada and CP Rail to explore improvements to the route outside the town – a pedestrian/cyclist path down Banff Avenue and along Compound Road to connect the town with the Industrial District. Council also wants a report on costs and the feasibility of increasing year-round Roam Public Transit service to the Industrial District starting in 2024.
This direction came after council met with representatives of CP Rail to review the crossing many people use illegally to walk or cycle from the residential area to the Industrial District as part of their commute. The only legal crossing is over the tracks at Compound Road, but many people cross Whiskey Creek over an old wooden bridge to connect the townsite because the legal route adds significant time and does not have maintained and separated trails the whole route.
At the illegal crossing, the rail tracks are on CP Rail land, surrounded by Parks Canada land. A trail counter recorded approx. 130 people each day using the path, but that number could be more as there are multiple places to cross in that area.
CP rail determines what crossings are allowed over or under their tracks. They told council they do not support a level crossing as there are too many safety issues. The Town previously estimated the cost to build an overpass for pedestrians at $12.5 million. An underpass is not likely to be possible due to the environmentally sensitive area.
Council voted to look at other ways to improve access to the Industrial Compound, including improvements and increased bus service. Reports will be presented during the 2024 service review process.
Rotary Club asks for Town’s support for park upgrades
Council was asked to consider financial and staff resources to maintain upgrades being proposed for Rotary Park, near the north end of Banff Avenue.
The Rotary Club of Banff presented to council a new vision for the park, which includes a washroom building, a skating rink/summer courts, and updated playground equipment. The Town of Banff currently maintains the park, and the club has requested further contributions to maintain a washroom facility and servicing of the new amenities. The Rotary Club plans to fund the initial costs to build the new features and upgrades without requiring Town investment.
Council asked for a feasibility report on costs to return this spring.
Universal Design guidelines for Town projects
Council asked for the creation of new universal construction and design guidelines for future infrastructure projects to make them more assessable to people with different mobility abilities.
Issues around accessibility and building accessibility have been raised several times by delegations to council over the past years. The goal is to make it easier for people to move around outside and into private and public buildings, regardless of whether people are walking, using wheelchairs or walkers or pushing strollers, for examples. The design guidelines would look at requirements for ramps, lifts, door widths, and height and types of handles, buttons, sinks, and other accessibility issues.
Recent examples of Town of Banff capital projects that have addressed accessibility include the Bear Street reconstruction (fully accessible building face to building fac, without curbs), the Nancy Pauw Bridge (minimal grades on approach to address wheelchair accessibility), and the Recreation Grounds future pavilion (fully accessible).
Private property development must conform to the Alberta Building Code, which is the primary regulatory tool with respect to building accessibility in Alberta, but may not require as stringent design as some require. The work will look at private redevelopments, such as Park Distillery, Hello Sunshine, and the Moose Hotel, that became more accessible after construction.
This report will be presented to council during the 2024 service review process.