Council adopted the amended 2013 Recreation Facilities Master Plan as a guide for the development of recreation facilities in Banff over the next 10 years. Council had last reviewed the document in September, asking it be made available to the public for a final opportunity to comment. Since then the document was amended to include those comments and two changes to the draft. Those changes include:
• Under the Indoor category regarding the Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre, it now reads “Expand the dry floor uses, in both summer and shoulder seasons,” instead of “Expand the dry floor uses, possibly by shortening the curling season,” in response to public feedback.
• A number of detailed suggestions under Parks and Playing Fields regarding the Recreation Grounds were deleted, and specifics such as field reconfiguration will be considered as part of the recommended Recreation Grounds-specific master planning exercise.
Work on the Recreation Facilities Master Plan began in late 2012 with a working group of five town staff members. Facility inventory, data collection, community consultation, mapping and report formatting were all done in-house by staff. The plan process was then aided by Eric Lees and Associates of Vancouver, an experienced recreation planning consultant who has also worked with other mountain/resort communities such as Squamish and Fernie.
Some projects listed in the plan, like new flooring in meeting rooms at the Fenlands to accommodate classes and other programs, as well as the Recreation Grounds’ master plan, could begin as early as next year.
Council voted in favour of using provincial funding for flood remediation work in 40 Mile Creek, and to move up a capital project to decommission the dam on the creek to 2014. The June flood washed out 500m of access road to the dam as well as the water supply lines buried beneath it, leaving a section of pipe exposed to the river bed. But it allowed for the dam to be drained when flood waters subsided, providing an opportunity for the decommissioning of the site and clean-up work. Administration will proceed with design work and complete the project prior to June 2014. The dam supplied water to the town from 1946 to the late 1980s.
Council give three readings to Bylaw 329 – Sewer System and Water System Rates and Fees Amendment. Council voted to continue to phase in the water and sewer rate increases over 20 years from 2012 to 2031. Additionally, this bylaw will include an increase in the sanitary dump station fee from $25 to $40 to reflect the comparative volume and flat rate in nearby communities, and increase the sewer connection and disconnection fees from $25 to $100 to reflect the costs of requiring an inspector on site to perform the service. The average increase for a residential property is $21 or 4% for 2014, based on 2012 consumption.
Council voted to increase the number of members of the Banff Library Board to 10 for a three-year period ending in 2016. They also appointed Ben Berci to the board for a three-year term. The vote follows a request from the library to allow for more board members.
Council received a briefing on the upcoming Travelers All-Star Curling Skins Game that will be broadcast on TSN from the Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre January 10-12, 2014. Minor refrigeration plant upgrades were done to the facility and paid for by TSN to guarantee ice quality and planned curling rink heating upgrades have been underway and will be complete in time for the event. Bleacher seating for approximately 800 spectators will be constructed over two of the four curling sheets for the event.