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Banff considers new bus storage and parking site

BANFF – The Town of Banff is eyeing a lot in the industrial compound as the site of its new $7 million Roam bus storage garage and intercept parking lot.
Banff Dog Park
The Town of Banff is considering building a new $7 million Roam bus storage facility at 100 Hawk Ave. The site, currently home to the off-leash dog park, could also accommodate an intercept parking lot.

BANFF – The Town of Banff is eyeing a lot in the industrial compound as the site of its new $7 million Roam bus storage garage and intercept parking lot.

Council directed administration to begin an environmental review of the land it owns at 100 Hawk Avenue, which would house a new transit facility and potentially a 380-stall intercept parking lot.

The site is also the existing home of Banff’s off-leash dog park, but there are no plans to move it at this point. If the site were only used for transit storage and a park-and-ride lot, there would be closer to 500 parking stalls.

Town Manager Robert Earl said the municipality will now have an environmental consultant look at the site to determine what works best for the transit facility, intercept lot and dog park.

“It may be the case that an additional dog park is built either in Middle Springs area or the rec grounds area, which council will consider as part of this upcoming service review, that the pressure on this dog park or need for this park may diminish,” he said.

“But at this juncture the dog park is well used, well loved and we have no direction or desire to change it other than to best understand how to accommodate these three uses simultaneously from an environmental perspective.”

The proposal is to build a facility to store 12 Roam buses indoors with space for another 18 buses stored under a solar PV canopy.

Town of Banff officials say outdoor storage is no longer adequate for the expanding fleet, and indoor storage will prolong the life of the fleet, especially as Roam starts to move to electric vehicles, perhaps as early as 2020.

Although it is possible to store and charge electric buses outdoors in cold climates, they say their research with other operators determined that it is not the accepted practice and is not recommended.

“Electric buses are coming and for this reason this building needs to be ready for electric buses,” said Adrian Field, the Town of Banff’s engineering director.

The new building also has goals surrounding greenhouse gas emissions and environmental design.

Council has directed administration to proceed with developing a design that includes pricing for the facility to be certified LEED Silver.

In addition, administration will also look at other environmental performance options, such as meeting net zero carbon emissions from annual operations and meeting certification under the Canadian Green Building Council’s new zero carbon standard.

“I’m certainly interesting in seeing the pricing at this point,” said Mayor Karen Sorensen.

Michael Hay, the Town of Banff’s community energy advisor, said LEED certification is no longer unique; rather it’s the standard and expectation for transit storage facilities.

“But a green transit garage that is net zero, and has certification to go with that, that’s a really green facility,” he said. “There are almost no facilities in North America that have both. That’s the gold coin.”

The cost of a new transit facility is pegged at $7 million.

Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission (BVRTSC) has received $4.7 in provincial funding toward the project and the remaining $2.3 million would be debt funded.

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