Last modified: 2011-08-20 by rob raeside
Keywords: banff | alberta | mountain | national park |
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image by Arnaud Leroy, 19 October 2006
Source: town hall
From the town website
The town of Banff is Canada's first incorporated municipality within a national park. Located in the country's most visited national park and within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it faces some exceptional challenges, constraints and opportunities. The town is both a service centre for park visitors and a home for 8,352 people. Banff was officially incorporated as a municipality in 1990, with the signing of an Incorporation Agreement by the federal and provincial governments. This agreement transferred most municipal government powers from the federal government to an elected town council. The Incorporation Agreement must be amended before any changes to provincial statutes affecting municipalities come into effect in Banff.
Compared to other municipalities not located in national parks, Banff is distinctive in its:
Because the town rests inside the national park, there is no freehold land available. The town pays $550,000 annually to the Government of Canada to lease the land within its municipal boundaries.
Fixed boundary with no option to grow outward
Banff is 3.93 square kilometres in area and its boundaries are fixed by federal law. The local government does not have annexation or expropriation authority to expand its land base.
'Need to reside' requirement
By federal regulation, people must demonstrate a 'need to reside' in any national park community, including Banff. Generally, individuals must be employed (or be a dependent of someone who is employed) in the park in order to live in the town.
Aggressive commercial growth management
Banff has one of the most aggressive and vigorous commercial growth management strategies of any Canadian municipality. The rate and amount of commercial growth is limited to 1.5% per annum, thereby restricting how much square footage can be constructed each year. A random selection draw for development rights is conducted annually when the amount of proposed development exceeds the maximum allowable growth. This type of growth management technique is the only one of its kind used in Canada.
The Banff Community Plan has implemented a population cap of 10,000 permanent residents for the town. Banff's population is expected to level off in 2006 as available commercial space reaches maximum capacity
Phil Nelson, 19 October 2006