Rob: We were just talking about Banff and the May Long Weekend.  Canmore is in a different position. Banff is a lot more of a cohesive message from all levels. Parks Canada saying National Parks closed until June 1st. Banff can basically go along with that and say don’t come visit us at least until June because we’re still getting ready here.

When it comes to Canmore though, bordered by so many different provincial parks and the provincial government saying provincial parks are open for people to visit, yet we’re still trying to get the message out there that this is really not the best time to be visiting us. But there’s also some businesses that are opening their doors. So a lot of mixed messaging going on.

Tanya: What I’m hearing from the province is that going into a provincial park to recreate is essential travel, but coming into Canmore to access services is non-essential travel.

Rob: But there’s no services in the provincial parks because those are still all essentially closed down as well. So again, more mixed messaging.

Tanya: I think what’s compounding the stress for camera residents is this idea that because the National Park is still closed, the dispersal of people is being concentrated on the Canmore side of the valley and in Kananskis Country. Especially with the fact that Calgary is a city that has the highest incident rate of COVID-19 in the province right now, and their services have been delayed opening until the 25th. So when you add up all these factors, it doesn’t spell success for Canmore to me, and it makes it feel like no one’s actually considering how when you layer all of these recommendations together it’s putting this community in a particularly difficult situation.

Rob: Banff closed down one lane of Banff Avenue for a couple of blocks to allow for more pedestrian space there. I know Canmore has been talking about doing that with Main Street as well, closing that entirely to vehicles, making it pedestrian only for a couple of blocks. Where is that idea at?

Tanya: So the emergency coordination center is the body that will make the decision. I’m hearing concerns as well about the pedestrian flow on the sidewalks and being able to combine that with social distancing. I know that there’s been talk in the past about pedestrianizing Main Street and administration is taking the position that this is about public safety and about setting people up for success to be in our community because we know they’re going to come. But I think that this is also an opportunity for us to understand what it means to do something like that in the future.

Rob: With Banff, the decision actually came fairly quickly to close down a lane each way on Banff Avenue over the weekend. But that’s because they could do that. It’s a much wider street than Main Street. You can still maintain vehicular traffic while allowing some pedestrian access there. In Canmore, a bit of a different story. They can’t just snap their fingers and close Main Street. There’s some stuff that would have to happen, and they’re figuring if they did make the decision to do that it would probably take a couple of weeks to get all that in place.

Tanya:  That includes the intersection at the Bank of Montreal. That intersection has been a problem for a while and needed attention to make it more efficient. What’s being proposed if a pedestrian only main street goes forward is a scramble crosswalk in that location.  10th Street and 8th Avenue at the Flatbread Co would also likely turn into a three-way stop.

Filed under: Canmore, covid-19, Mountain Insider