Mariana and David Shackleton spoke to council as a delegation, requesting changes to the traffic bylaw to allow pedicabs on certain roads. The Shackletons are interested in opening a pedicab business to shuttle riders from The Fenlands to the IGA and from the Banff Springs Hotel to Banff Avenue Square. Pedicab operations are currently not permitted under the traffic bylaw. Council directed administration to return with a report on what amendments would be necessary to allow pedicabs on those routes. No timeline was attached.
Banff & Lake Louise Tourism president and CEO Leslie Bruce spoke to council as a delegation to provide January 2017 statistics on daily occupancy, room supply and the average daily rate in the destination. These figures will be provided on a regular basis to help the Town quantify the economic impact of the tourism industry, and they will also allow the Town to track how occupancy affects traffic congestion.
Council received an update on the progress made last year on the recommendations in the 2014 Banff Community Housing Strategy. The strategy has five areas of focus which include rentals, partnership and collaboration, regulatory and policy framework, accountability and monitoring, and public education/outreach and advocacy. Progress has been made in numerous areas, including providing access to a landlord/tenant dispute resolution service, working with the province to access funding for housing, enhancing public notice about developments, and more. A full list of progress updates is available at banff.ca/housing
Council received an update on the solar photovoltaic (PV) production incentive program and an update on the solar installation at The Fenlands. The 2017 solar PV incentive program is now accepting applications from property owners. An info session is scheduled for Thursday, April 6 from 7-8:30 p.m. at 101 Bear Street for anyone interested in applying. In 2016, 13 applications to participate were approved, however, only seven applicants completed construction of their solar installation and are now participating in the program. In 2015, 47 applications were received, and 16 selected, with 14 completing construction of their solar installation.
The Fenlands will soon be home to the largest solar installation in the Bow Valley. A 280 kW grid-tied solar PV system will be installed on The Fenlands starting in May, with the project estimated to be complete by the end of June. There will be 950 solar modules on three roof surfaces. The system is one-third larger than originally planned based on early budget estimates, as sharp declines in the price of solar modules over the past year allowed for a larger system for less cost. The Town was also successful in its funding application to the Alberta Municipal Solar Program. As a result, the proportion of the installation cost that will be paid for by the Town is approximately 23% rather than the 33% initially estimated, with the balance of the cost being paid through funding agreements with the Alberta Municipal Solar Program (provincial funding) and Western Economic Diversification Canada (federal funding).
Council received a progress report on year two of five of the Recreation Programs and Services Master Plan. The plan developed recommendations around three themes, including: increasing involvement, enhancing access, and strengthening capacity. Updates from 2016 include creating more introductory program opportunities, supporting gathering places for residents, customer service enhancements and more. Work will continue on meeting the recommendations and the next update to council is scheduled for the first quarter of 2018.
Council received an update on the Try-It program, an introductory recreation program piloted in part of 2015 and all of 2016. Supported by a grant from the Makadiff Sports Foundation, the Try-It programs were free or low cost and offered residents an opportunity to try out new sports and activities. Over 1,000 participants took part 26 different sports. While the number of programs offered in 2016 were supported through a grant, the Town intends to offer some Try-It sports within the existing budget and with volunteer support.