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Banff moves ahead with tackling open doors in winter

“If there is a need for additional heating inside, it would suggest that an air curtain is not effective at forming that air barrier across the doorway to reduce heat loss."
Businesses in Banff are welcoming the announcement that the temporary foreign workers hired in the tourism industry for periods of six months or less are exempt from the
Businesses in Banff will now have to keep their exterior doors closed when the temperature dips below 10 degrees Celsius.

BANFF – In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the community, Banff passed third reading on a community standards bylaw amendment that targets open doors in the winter.

The amendment will require businesses to keep their doors closed in the winter, helping Banff reach its target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

In the past, air curtains were accepted as an alternative to closed doors at businesses.

“While air curtains can reduce energy losses, a closed door is a much more efficient solution,” said municipal energy coordinator Sally Biddlecombe.

Businesses have also been observed having additional heating inside while using air curtains.

“If there is a need for additional heating inside, it would suggest that an air curtain is not effective at forming that air barrier across the doorway to reduce heat loss,” Biddlecombe said.

Originally, the amendment required businesses to keep their exterior doors closed between Thanksgiving Day and May 1 each year, except when the temperature rose above 10 degrees Celsius. Coun. Grant Canning expressed concern over the dates and splitting the Thanksgiving weekend.

“Thanksgiving Day is a Monday on a long weekend in the fall, so Saturday, Sunday, you can keep them open but starting on the holiday you have to close them,” Canning said. “To me, the end of summer is Thanksgiving Day.”

Coun. Barb Pelham expressed the same concern for the spring date, asking that it be changed to the last Friday in April.

“It doesn’t make sense to break half the weekend. Half [the weekend] your door can be open, half it can be closed,” Pelham said. “Businesses are deeply dependent on weekend traffic and weekend business so if we could have an entire weekend included in this bylaw on both ends of the seasons, I think it would be extremely helpful.”

Council approved the changes to the amendment, requiring doors to be closed from the Tuesday after Thanksgiving Day to the last Friday in April.

All three readings passed unanimously and the open door amendment will come into effect after Thanksgiving Day 2022.

For each door found secured or propped open, the business will be fined $150.

Now that the open door amendment has been implemented, it will be reviewed by administration after the first winter season.

“We could get some feedback from the local businesses and talk to municipal enforcement to talk about how the first winter season went,” Biddlecombe said.

Mayor Corrie DiManno felt that the amendment was a step in the right direction for the community.

“I think it is important we all buy into the vision of being a model environmental community in a national park,” DiManno said. “That is going to take changes from all of us, whether it is residents, businesses, visitors and we all need to walk the talk and I think this is a simple way to demonstrate this leadership.”