Council amended Policy C012 to increase the housing cash-in-lieu fee from $21,000 to $32,810. Requiring housing for commercial developments has been a Town of Banff regulation since incorporation. A cash-in-lieu provision was introduced for housing in 1992, which helped create funds for housing developments. Cash-in-lieu rates have not increased since 2003. In the last 10 years, cash-in-lieu payments through this program have varied annually from $0 to $78,120. The new fee was arrived at by using the Calgary Construction Price Index. The cash-in-lieu fee will be recalculated annually in accordance with the Calgary Construction Price Index, Table 327-0058, low-rise apartment building. Any funds received will continue to be forwarded to the housing reserve. Council also made a motion for the mayor and town manager to meet with Parks Canada on how the town can work with Parks on a policy of housing requirements related to business intensification in the national park.
Council approved a new incentive program for residential property owners looking to reduce wildfire hazards through the removal of conifer trees. The Town of Banff continues to implement FireSmart principles in town, and removing conifer tree that are too close to properties and replacing them with deciduous trees is another way to reduce wildfire risk. Recent amendments to the tree cutting permit process requires an onsite consultation by the Fire Department when residents indicate the reason for removing a tree is due to wildfire mitigation. Should the tree qualify, the Town can purchase a replacement at wholesale. It would be the homeowner’s responsibility to prepare the planting site and install the tree. Advice in placing the tree, including information on planting and care, would be provided to the homeowner. Up to $30,000 was committed to the incentive program, to be paid for through the budget stabilization reserve. Residents can request a free FireSmart assessment from the Fire Department at http://banff.ca/firesmart
Council adopted the Public Use of Municipal Facilities policy, which replaces older, outdated policies related to facility use. The policy supports the Recreation Facilities and Recreation Programs and Services Master Plan’s recommendations of increasing facility usage and enhancing access. The policy also supports industry best practices and encompasses recommendations received by contract user groups at meetings held over recent months for the purposes of reviewing allocation processes.
Council received an update on the Environmental Master Plan. After an open request for proposals in March-April 2018, Calgary-based Intelligent Futures was named as the lead consulting firm to head the development, stakeholder consultation and preparation of the plan. It’s intended the Environmental Master Plan will advance/expand on and guide the implementation of sector-specific plans at the Town, community, and industry scales. These would include waste diversion, water, energy, transportation/trails, wildlife coexistence, climate change/greenhouse gas reductions, air quality, etc. The initial phases of public and stakeholder consultation will take place this spring, with more feedback invited on a draft plan in September. There will be a variety of opportunities to provide feedback, including a wider stakeholder ‘data walk’ (format similar to open house) to take place at Town Hall in late June.