BANFF – Banff council is looking at a potential trip to another tourist town to learn how they deal with similar challenges like affordable housing, traffic congestion, overcrowding and development pressures.
At a Dec. 9 service review meeting, council directed administration to research and identify a comparable mountain resort community, come up with a specific itinerary for a structured trip and report back to council with an option for consideration.
Councillor Grant Canning, who pitched the idea, suggested council could use the current budget allocated for councillors to attend up to two conferences a year, such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA).
“There are those who will view this as some sort of council party because we going to another resort community, but I disagree with that,” he said, noting Jackson, Wyoming is very similar to Banff.
“We are a mountain resort community that has specific mountain resort related challenges. If we are going to learn from others and what they have done to address their similar issues, we need to talk to a mountain resort community that has similar challenges to the Town of Banff.”
Having attended the Mountain Town Planners Summit for the past two years, Coun. Canning said it’s become apparent that Banff is not alone in dealing with challenges such as parking, congestion, transit, affordable housing, development pressures and over-tourism.
He said he would like an opportunity for councillors to visit a similar community in person to have an open dialogue about challenges and to identify what has worked for them, what didn’t and why.
“The Town of Banff has been very proactive in our initiatives, but other communities may have tried other ideas, perhaps more effectively,” he said.
Mayor Karen Sorensen voiced support to explore the idea.
“What I like is it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to take this budget and we’re all going to do this together; it will be a choice that each councillor would have to make with their own budget,” she said. “Doing the research and putting a proposal forward, I don’t think there’s any harm in that.”
Coun. Peter Poole was absent form the meeting.