The Town of Banff is proposing to rezone government services in the industrial compound to free up commercial floor space for that district.
The compound, known as the Commercial Services (CS) district, includes several parcels and structures associated with the operational facilities of Parks Canada and the Town of Banff.
As part of the Land Use Bylaw review, the planning team suggests these be rezoned to Public Service (PS) and have that floor space redistributed throughout the compound area.
The review team recommends the square footage contained within these structures be returned to the commercial development allotment pool and dispensed within the compound.
Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen said previous inventories of commercial use included government buildings, which are not commercial.
“This proposal is to remove the square footage of government buildings from the inventory and return it to commercial enterprise in the compound,” said Sorensen.
“The cap itself would not be impacted. The proposal’s intent is to more accurately reflect the commercial development in Banff.”
In Banff, regulations are in place to cap the total amount of commercial space permitted in the national park town, as well as the rate of development for the remaining square footage.
Commercial growth in the compound is part of the extensive review of the Land Use Bylaw – the document that regulates all use and development of land and buildings in Banff.
The review team is also recommending that servicing of transportation fleets be exempted from the commercial allotment process.
The Land Use Bylaw review team says one group particularly affected by commercial growth regulations is the transportation service sector. Presently, that includes Banff Airporter, White Mountain Adventures, Sun Dog Tours, Brewster and a taxi company.
“The tenants of the compound do not serve visitors directly, but rather act as support services for other sectors within the park,” they say. “This approach has resulted in zero investment in the CS District since the introduction of growth management.”
Under the proposal, any floor area dedicated solely to fleet servicing, such as wash bays and repair bays, will be excempt from the commercial floor space calculations.
All other parts of a building, such as office space, will remain subject to commercial growth management regulations under the proposal.
As well, existing buildings that already have fleet service floor area counted against the commercial inventory will be permitted to transfer this floor space within the compound.
“These structures play an integral role in servicing visitors to the national park,” according to the review team.
“By providing fleet operators with updated maintenance facilities, we can ensure that vehicles are serviced in modern, secure and environmentally benign facilities.”
Council will make decisions on proposed changes to the Land Use Bylaw, however Parks Canada is the ultimate authority on all land use issues in the national park townsite.
Mayor Sorensen said council is still getting feedback on the proposals.
“As we are still in the feedback stage, we are open to all comments on the proposal from any agency,” she said.