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Banff, the town, on the cusp of cap for building footage

MOUNTAIN NEWS: For the week of Aug. 29



BANFF, Alberta – A 175-room hotel planned in downtown Banff may be the last one. The resort community located entirely within Banff National Park is nearing its federally mandated cap on commercial development.

In 1998, Canada capped commercial development at 32,516 metres more than what then existed. The cap was provoked by concerns about the harm of rampant development within Canada's flagship national park.

This hotel didn't chew up all that space. It has the space in the recently demolished Swiss Village Hotel but will use additional space allowed under a random allocation awarded in 2013. Other commercial space in that same allocation went primarily to retailers and restaurants.

Four other sites in Banff were also awarded additional square metres in the 2013 allocation, said David Michaels, the town's manager of development services, and there are other medium-sized allotments.

Beyond that, Banff will not get bigger and taller, but it's likely to be redeveloped, Michaels said, using existing commercial floor area in "new and exciting ways that maximize the commercial potential of property."

Construction of the new hotel likely won't start for a couple of years. The Outlook described the hotel that was demolished as "aging."

"Seen better days. Would not return," wrote one reviewer on Trip Advisor, an opinion shared by many.

A good location, they agreed amid the many complaints, but that only goes so far.