Council gave first reading to Bylaw 393, a Land Use Bylaw amendment to update the Town’s fire risk zone map. A public hearing on the amendment has been scheduled for Monday, April 23 at 2 p.m. at Town Hall. The map was first adopted by council in 2006 and establishes fire hazard areas in the townsite, primarily to ensure wildfire risk mitigations through design management and recommended planting. Of the three factors that contribute to wildland fire – fuel, topography and weather – the factor that can be most easily influenced is fuel, through vegetation management and other mitigation measures. The risk to property and life posed by wildland fire can be reduced by addressing it through land use planning, and by using the tools available through municipal planning processes. In conjunction with ongoing efforts to continue to mitigate wildfire risks and make properties more fire-resistant, a review of the wildfire risk zones within the townsite was conducted and proposed map changes have been made to better reflect our increased understanding of wildfire management. The primary change to the map is the conversion of portions of previously designated Moderate Risk Zones to a High Risk Zones. The change does not impact the mitigation recommendations, as there was no difference to those recommendations between high and moderate. In addition to the public hearing, residents interested in learning more should attend the FireSmart Forum about wildfire protection and how to reduce wildfire risk to homes and properties on Monday, April 23 from 6 – 9 p.m. at the Max Bell Building, Banff Centre.
The Town is seeking public feedback on two proposals for on-road cycling/active mode routes—one on Tunnel Mountain Road and one on Buffalo Street. Council directed administration to gather feedback on proposals to slightly narrow driving lanes to add or widen paths for bikes and pedestrians. On Tunnel Mountain Road, the proposal is to create a new 1.5m painted cycling lane from approximately the 400 block of Otter Street to the intersection of Hidden Ridge Way by narrowing the driving lane. On Buffalo Street, the proposal is to widen the existing multi-use trail from the cemetery up to Surprise Corner. Details of both proposals and a comment box are available at http://banff.ca/trails
. Both proposals are actions within the Trails Master Plan, which was adopted by council in February 2015 after extensive public consultation. Council also directed administration to explore options for a Banff Avenue and Bow Falls Road cycling/active modes route.
Council approved new street type definitions and directed administration to use the information to develop a set of design principles and concept cross section designs for each street type. This is part of streetscape design guidelines project, which is being undertaken to address the growing need to answer individual design requirements based on a more holistic streetscape approach. A guiding document for how streets could be designed in the future will better inform many infrastructure replacements projects and roadway reconstruction plans. There is a growing trend in North America to re-evaluate the use of land within streets and roadway right-of-ways. There has been a shift towards streetscape designs that accommodate various active modes of transportation as well as vehicles. In this initial phase, eight street types along with broad definitions of the street’s function have been developed which will be used to create multiple street cross sections as a foundation for a streetscape design guideline.
Council authorized the transition to a new visitor survey program, to be conducted every two years, beginning in 2019. The previous visitor experience survey, called Indexperience, has been discontinued and the Town’s partners in this project, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism and Parks Canada, have implemented their own survey programs. By using the same contractor and survey inceptors as Banff & Lake Louise Tourism, the Town can conduct an intercept/online survey during the summer using similar tracking data as the Indexperience survey. Questions will be specific to the Town and can help guide council about future infrastructure and service investments. Past visitor surveys have guided developments; for example, the 2008 summer results indicated that public washrooms needed improvement; council approved an upgrade to the Wolf Street washroom in 2011 and replacement of the Central Park washroom in 2015. The survey is approximately $8,000 US and will be funded by the existing operating reserve.
Council received a progress report on the Banff Community Housing Strategy – Year Three. Some highlights include:
- The Banff Housing Corporation will significantly increase the size of its rental portfolio in the summer of 2018 with the opening of the 131-unit Ti’nu Apartment Complex.
- Town-wide, there are 195 units currently under construction.
- The vacancy rate in the Town of Banff remains at 0%.
- The Parks Canada Banff Field Unit realty office process approximately 400 eligible residency requirements a year for change in ownership of a residential lease, a renewal of an expiring residential lease, a new residential lease is issued, and when financing is required on a leased property (new or renewed). There are also instances of requiring proof of eligible residency when formal complaints are brought to Parks Canada’s attention.
The full update can be viewed http://banff.ca/housing
Council received a fourth quarter 2017 economic impact update. The overall province-wide economic impact from Banff for 2017 was $2.735 billion which is up from $2.245 billion in 2015. The average daily province-wide economic impact for 2017 was $7.5 million. Occupancy numbers provided by Banff & Lake Louise Tourism show July and August at 93% occupancy.