Free transit examined for Access Program members between Canmore and Banff
Council has asked for a report on expanding the Banff Access Program to include free Roam transit connecting Canmore and Banff this summer.
This came after the Town successfully obtained a grant from the province’s new Low-Income Transit Pass Program. The grant will cover the cost of free transit for residents on local Banff – a program that Banff Town Council previously funded from the municipal budget. The province will now fund the Banff Local Transit program from April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2024. This grant will fund up to a maximum of $1,433,830 over the two-year term. Council proposes to use the Visitor Pay Parking revenue that was previously used to fund free transit for locals to expand to the free route to Canmore for low-income transit users.
With this new funding, council has asked for the budget impacts and feasibility of expanding the Access Program to both Tier 1 and Tier 2 passholders. The Banff Access Program provides eligible residents living under the Banff Affordability Measure with discounts on classes, programs, transit passes, and purchases at participating businesses.
All Banff residents can currently get a free local transit pass. Details at https://roamtransit.com/banffresidentsfarefree/
Council has asked for the report to be presented by May 24, 2023. Details on the Banff Access Program can be viewed at https://banff.ca/access
Census postponed to 2024
Council has postponed the municipal census to 2024. The Town of Banff has held a municipal census approximately every three years since at least 2005. The census determines the number of people living in every residence and the total population for the community. The last municipal census was in 2017. A municipal census was scheduled for 2020 and 2021 but was postponed due to the global pandemic. It was scheduled to be conducted in 2022, but the software that was used in 2017 was not available.
The Province of Alberta provides many municipal grants on a per-capita basis. The per-capita population relied on reported census figures, either from the federal census or municipal census. In Banff, the experience has traditionally been that federal census under-reported the population and therefore a municipal census was needed to provide more accurate numbers.
In March 2020, the Province shifted to a population estimation model that relied on federal census, but has now agreed to once again look at municipal census data. New municipal census regulation is currently not available and is not expected for the 2023 census season. What this means is that any population count obtained from a municipal census in 2023 is expected to be unusable for the purposes of provincial population counts.
Council therefore has decided postpone the census this year and hold it again in 2024. Previous year’s census data can be viewed at https://banff.ca/census