As a frequent visitor to Banff, a veteran of many artist’s residencies at the Banff Centre, and an avid tourist in both the summer and winter seasons, I have followed with interest the recent statements of Parks Canada, and the actions of Banff’s town council around the area redevelopment plan (ARP) and proposed gondola, as reported in the Outlook (Aug. 26, Sept. 10, 13, 16), and discussed by the council in the public portion of its recent online meeting.
In their statements, Parks Canada has taken great care to point out that their role is not to preemptively dictate the elements of an ARP from a leaseholder before it is submitted, but rather to provide guidance as to the kinds of things which will cause problems, if included in a submission.
And yet Mayor Corrie DiManno, along with two of her colleagues, apparently believe that the absence of a preemptive prohibition from Parks Canada, a prohibition which would never be forthcoming, is reason enough to oppose the motion removing a gondola terminus from the ARP.
Sloppy reasoning aside, this strikes me as an extraordinarily passive stance for the mayor to take with respect to the role of town governance in working with Parks Canada towards eventual approval of an ARP. To paraphrase, if the developer wants it, and Parks has not explicitly rejected it in advance, we will not stand in the way.
A cursory reading of the record over the past several years strongly suggests that the gondola proposal, if submitted, will eventually founder on the shoals so kindly, clearly, patiently, and repeatedly pointed out in advance by Parks Canada to the town’s elected officials. One can hope that the subsequent damage will be confined to the credibility of those officials who, for whatever reason, were not able to understand that guidance.