Rob: Lots to talk about including what things are going to look like once some of these restrictions are lifted. Is this an opportunity for our communities to push the reset button and develop a new relationship between our communities, the tourists who are coming here and the businesses who cater to them? I think both of our communities are talking about that right now. In Canmore and interesting proposal put forward. The headline in the Outlook this week – Canmore considering pedestrian only main street for reopening.

Tanya: We do have the emergency coordination center with the Town of Canmore, and they have been responding to the crisis in terms of what we need in the moment. But there’s also been thought put towards what the future is going to look like and what reopening means. The town is working with a business alliance and they are considering all options. One is the possibility of a pedestrian only Main Street because it’s not just the distancing of people walking on Main Street and the fact that our sidewalks are inconsistently wide or narrow, but when customers are coming to our local businesses and you have to distance in line, and those lines may come out and onto the sidewalk , that kind of creates a different scenario. But the pedestrian only Main Street isn’t the only idea that’s on the table. It was also discussed possibly removing parking and extending the sidewalks out, kind of like they do with those wooden patios in the summer. So what Main Street will look like when we get to  that phase two of this reopening in Alberta is a really important factor. And all options are on the table there. There are unintended consequences  that are

Rob: One of those would have to be traffic flow, we definitely have a pinch point and only a few roads that bisect the community from one side of downtown to the other.

I find it interesting, council talking about town’s plans to collaborate with the business community and community groups to move towards a recovery as a coordinated and holistic way as possible. Basically it sounds like administration wants to have a community engagement initiative aimed at finding common ground between the tourism industry and the community, and working towards some sort of shared vision. That’s in Canmore, and from some tweets from Mayor Sorenson in Banff, she alluded to having that kind of conversation in that community as well. Is this an overall opportunity, even though it’s kind of unintended, to really focus on what we want to be and press the reset button to be able to achieve that?

Tanya: What we go back to will be determined by the conversations that we have now, as well as the supports that are in place at all government levels for, for our industry and businesses. This collaborative model really has to come into play because there’s so many different groups. And you can never forget that the most important stakeholder for a tourism based economy is your community.

Filed under: Banff, Canmore, covid-19, Mountain Insider