BANFF – In an effort to smooth out the disruptions experienced by businesses on and around Bear Street, the Town of Banff is pushing back a project to redesign the intersection of Caribou and Lynx Street to 2022-23.
The delay was suggested during Banff council's budget deliberations on Monday (Jan. 13) by director of corporate services Chris Hughes, who noted the capital project was only first proposed last year.
"We still believe it is an important project," Hughes said. "Administration has had discussions and believes the timing of the project as it currently stands may be challenging for the businesses in that area.
"They have been under almost constant reconstruction over the past two years and we still have plans for another season [of construction] with the redevelopment of Bear Street."
Bear Street is set to undergo a $9.5 million revamp this year to create a more pedestrian and cyclist friendly streetscape. For the past couple of years, Banff has piloted a woonerf concept along the roadway with in-street patios, landscaping and additional bike racks.
After a design process in 2019 to turn the woonerf into a permanent amenity, council voted in December to increase the project's budget by $3.1 million for improvements to stormwater management, additions to the front part of the surface parking lot and additional funds for communications.
The redevelopment of the complex five-way intersection that is at Caribou and Lynx was originally set for 2021-22 in the municipality's capital plan.
With council's approval, the design of the intersection will be completed in 2022 at a cost of $50,000 and there is $1.5 million in the budget for 2023 to complete the project. Final approval of changes to the operational and capital budgets is expected at the next council meeting on Jan. 27.
"I appreciate administration's comments and concerns for our residents and businesses in that vicinity," said Mayor Karen Sorensen. "I think this is a good call for that reason. I remember seeing this project for the first time last year and it was stunningly beautiful. I would love to get this done."
Councillor Peter Poole declared a conflict of interest on the matter as he has a financial interest in one of the properties that would be directly affected by the project. Councillors Chip Olver and Ted Christensen were not present for the meeting.