Banff, Alberta: A Great Place to Live
In 1990, Banff was officially incorporated as a municipality with the signing of an Incorporation Agreement by the federal and provincial governments. Essentially this meant that most of the power that the federal government had was transferred to an elected town council. This agreement must be amended before any changes to provincial statutes affecting municipalities come into effect in Banff.
Banff is unique in its situation. Because it 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. Not a bad price for a town!
Fixed boundary with no option to grow outward
Banff is 3.93 square kilometres in area, and its boundaries are fixed by federal law. There is no way of even squashing an extra house onto the end of town. The local government does not have annexation 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. You have to show proof that you are employed or dependent on someone who is employed if you want to live in the town of Banff.
The Banff Community Plan has implemented a population cap of 10,000 lucky permanent residents for the town. Banff’s population is actually leveling off anyway as available commercial space reaches maximum capacity.
Environmental Management Program
Banff is also doing its part for the environment. As part of its commitment to protect and enhance the environmental integrity of the Banff area, the Town of Banff is developing an Environmental Management Plan for ongoing operations.