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LETTER: Residential streets should not become the new Banff Avenue

Editor: Congratulations to the mayor and councillors on their recent successful election. Please manage our beloved town for all citizens, not just businesses.

Editor:

Congratulations to the mayor and councillors on their recent successful election. Please manage our beloved town for all citizens, not just businesses.

There’s a disturbing lack of thought about the implications of closing the four lanes of the first two blocks of Banff Avenue and Wolf and Caribou streets to vehicles in the future. Do you think that will make the town more green, with less atmospheric pollution?

Grudgingly, residents of affected areas endured extra noise and pollution these last two summers and accepted traffic manipulation because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is no longer acceptable.

The exhaust and traffic noise were overwhelming. My deck, in one of the affected areas, was not useable. Air quality was likely beyond acceptable limits. Emissions from vehicles on Banff Avenue disperse in the air above. In contrast, trees and airflow patterns along our residential streets do not disperse offensive emissions.

Those emissions don’t stop existing because the vehicles aren’t on Banff Avenue. My property value was affected. Who will purchase a home, work and live in the mountains to experience gridlock and breathe pollution instead of fresh air? Will the town offer compensation to property owners for the loss of property value due to over-tourism?

We pay taxes to improve our quality of life. Why handicap our emergency services by making neighbourhoods and attractions inaccessible? Wasting taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars is not a good idea. I couldn’t even get my own vehicle out during times of gridlock.

How can some businesses gain commercial space while others do not, and how can some businesses profit from our public spaces and exclude the non-paying public from these spaces? Something’s wrong here.

The Town and Parks Canada need to work together and manage tourism for quality, not quantity. Do the most well-known town and national park in Canada really need incessant marketing? Why not take that money to build a parking lot east of the east gate, and create a transit system? At the very least, establish limits on tourism and vehicles.

Residents, please let your mayor and councillors know how you feel, especially since the service review and budget deliberations began Nov. 29.

Brenda Lepitzki,

Banff