Banff Forges Ahead with Ambitious Affordable Housing Plan

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The picturesque town of Banff is pushing forward with a bold and innovative affordable housing strategy. The hope? To significantly alleviate the ongoing housing crisis that has gripped the community.

Mayor Corrie DiManno candidly expressed the town’s predicament. She said, “Housing simply isn’t available or affordable in Banff. Witnessing residents struggling to survive is unbearably heartbreaking.”

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The housing deficit, as reported by town officials, presently stands at a pressing need for roughly 700 to 1,000 additional units. To make inroads into this shortfall, a project is under consideration.

The suggested project, specifically located at the Tatanga Ridge Benchlands site, would introduce upwards of 250 units to the community. With a combination of available rentals and homes for purchase, this undertaking aims to cater to multiple housing needs.

Spread across 5.8 acres of land already zoned for residential use. Plans hint at the construction of apartment buildings, row houses, and townhomes at the proposed site.

Embedded in this ambitious plan is an eye for dramatic action and innovative strategies, as summed up by Mayor DiManno.

Shawayne Dunstan, who came to Banff in May 2021 due to an internship facilitated by Humber College, shared his housing journey. He mentioned how fortunate he was to find an affordable place thanks to Fairmont, his employer. However, he also observed the precarious situation facing other community members and the painful choice forced upon them.

Moreover, Dunstan revealed that the living costs in Banff have skyrocketed, making every choice a hard decision, from securing parking to affording groceries.

On a recent Monday, the town council proposed an adjustment to the 2023-2032 capital budget. The amendment involved an additional CAD $300,000 from the Community Housing Reserve. These funds would facilitate a site analysis for the proposed project, including geotechnical investigation, slope stability analysis, and site pre-designs. Although the full cost is not yet determined, the town welcomes funding opportunities from all government levels.

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