Calgary

Banff affordable housing development approved by municipal commission

The town of Banff has got a green light from the municipal planning commission to build an affordable housing development as the resort community struggles with high rents and low vacancy.

Project still subject to appeal

Banff's town council has been hoping to have a number of new housing units built by 2018 as the resort community struggles with high rents and low vacancy. For example, this three-storey building being constructed by Birchwood Properties on Banff Avenue will have about three dozen new rental units. In early December, Banff got a green light from the municipal planning commission to build an affordable housing development on 14 lots that were released by Parks Canada in 2015. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

The town of Banff has got a green light from the municipal planning commission to build an affordable housing development as the resort community struggles with high rents and low vacancy.

Earlier in December, the commission approved a project being developed by the town for 14 lots that were released by Parks Canada in 2015.

The project is still subject to appeal. The town of Banff says two appeals had been received as of Wednesday afternoon.

Sharon Oakley, housing sustainability coordinator, says the lack of affordable housing has been a constant problem for the town, which has been constrained from growing by the fact that it's located in a national park.

Now that the municipal planning commission has approved the project, Oakley hopes to see some solutions for those struggling to find housing.

She says she's seen a single mother with two teenaged boys living in a makeshift apartment in a parkade filled with exhaust fumes, and a person who was living in the garage of a friend that had no plumbing or heating.

At the seniors' centre in town, Oakley says it was common to find mattresses stored under the ramp by women in their 50s living in their cars during the winter.

She says the economic downturn caused by low oil and gas prices has made things worse.

The town of Banff has been administered by the federal government for more than a century, and was incorporated as an Alberta municipality in 1990.

Still, the town remains a part of Banff National Park, meaning the federal government retains ownership of all land and the municipality is subject to the National Parks Act.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story reported that Parks Canada had released 14 lots for an affordable housing development in Banff. In fact, Parks Canada released the lots in 2015. The most recent development is that the municipal planning commission approved the affordable housing project being developed by the town on those lots. The project is still subject to appeal.
    Dec 14, 2016 4:28 PM MT

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