Council update, April 7, 2012

Hello everyone, and happy Easter weekend!  The robins and the bluebirds are back, the snow is amazingly beautiful on the mountains (and a little daunting in our driveways) and --somewhere in the Bow Valley -- a prairie crocus is blooming.

Before I get to Council business, how about ...


As I’m sure you know, we go to the polls on April 23 for an election that looks livelier than any we have seen in some time.  If you’re having trouble deciding which party best aligns with your values and opinions, you might find Vote Compass helpful ( ).  And if you want a chance to compare the candidates for our Banff-Cochrane riding in person, there will be an all-candidates’ forum at the Banff Park Lodge on April 19th, 7 – 9 pm.  Hold the date in your calendar!


Council meets on Tuesday this week, because of the Easter long weekend.  The meeting is at 2 p.m. at Town Hall and, as always, you are very welcome to attend.  You can see the whole package for the meeting at this link:

Here are the highlights:

Sewer siphon/pedestrian bridge report

If you would like the straight goods on what the two options for the sewer/water crossing would cost, you can see the whole report starting on page 10 of the council package.  Page 34 of the report shows you, side-by-side, the costing for the sewer/water plus pedestrian bridge option (as per the firm quote from the successful bidder) plus all ancillary costs, and the costing for the directional drilling option that is preferred by a group of citizens (as per the budget prepared by the contractor recommended by those citizens) plus all ancillary costs.  That contractor has now seen all the geotechnical and engineering information that the Town has, and has therefore been able to prepare a better-informed figure. 

The Town had examined directional drilling as an option last summer when we looked at the four options for crossing the river, but we have gone back and re-examined this option as requested.

In summary:
What you get:  ped bridge option:  sewer/water crossing, emergency vehicle crossing, ped/cycle crossing
                               Directional drilling option:  sewer/water crossing

What it costs:  ped bridge option:  $6,723,595.56
Directional drilling option:  $6,477,000.00.  This figure does not include the release fee to Parks Canada to allow construction of a building on the south bank – that cost is, as yet, unknown.  The release fee to Parks for the rec centre addition, for example, was $400,000.

Offsetting grants from the province:       ped bridge option:  eligible for a grant of $370,000, bringing total to 6,353,595.56.  This grant, however, could also be applied to other projects (sidewalks, road overlays) in town.
                                                                                Directional drilling option:  not eligible, leaving total at 6,477,000.00

What you will see when it’s done:  ped bridge option:  a bridge across the river – see a rendering here:                                                                     
      Directional drilling option:  Nothing across the river, and a lift station building about the size of the Wolf Street washrooms on the south side of the river.  The directional drilling option would not be “gravity feed” – this is because the driller would have to go 9.5 metres below the river bed to find a layer that is geotechnically suitable.

Operating costs:  Similar for both.  Because of the 9.5 metre drop and gain for the directional drilling, both would be pumped systems.

But please, don’t just read my summary.  Take a look at the report.  Read the opinions of two independent engineering companies on the risk factors related to each option. 

And just a reminder:  Council is not choosing between this project and the Central Park/Rec Grounds ped bridge project.  No matter what happens on Tuesday with the sewer siphon/ped bridge discussion, the Central Park bridge project remains as is:  a project already approved by majority vote of Council, ready to go whenever the construction costs (in the range of $2 million) become available.  We cannot take money from the sewer crossing project and do the Central Park bridge with it, because the sewer crossing needs to be replaced.

Sponsorship policy

Starting on page 42 of the package, you’ll see an updated version of the draft Sponsorship policy for the town.  This update takes care of the concerns that I expressed in the last meeting.  You can see (starting on page 50 of the package) the list of the facilities and programs that would and would not be eligible for sponsorship opportunities.


This week, I have a workshop session on the transportation master plan on Tuesday morning, a meeting of the regional transit commission on Wednesday afternoon, and Banff Housing Corp on Friday morning.  Council is also doing its best to meet with the various candidates for MLA (if they wish to meet us), to ensure that they are up to speed on the municipal issues here in Banff.


As always, this post represents my opinion only.  This email is not an official communication from the Town of Banff or its Council.  As always, I welcome your questions and comments – and any new subscribers. 

All the best until next time -- Leslie