Underlying the ARP are three key innovative, holistic strategies that balance and enhance both human and ecological dimensions of Banff National Park and the Town of Banff. While each of the ARP components individually enhance the Town and Park, they are designed to be complementary, so they collectively provide ecological and visitor experience benefits that are greater than the sum of its parts.
The elements of the ARP celebrate Rocky Mountain Parks heritage and provide an environmental gain both within the ARP Plan Area and across Banff National Park. This integrated vision returns the Banff Railway Lands to being the gateway to Canada’s flagship national park.
1. Creating an arrival centre for integrated, multi-modal, low carbon, green transit systems
The ARP addresses the impact of personal vehicles degrading the Town of Banff’s and Banff National Park’s ecosystem and visitor experience. The arrival centre is both environmentally and economically
sustainable and an efficient use of land. The Eco-Transit Hub will include free intercept parking, a shuttle centre, services that support passenger rail, a rental centre for micro-transit and self-propelled transit, and a terminus for potential aerial transit from the Town to Norquay’s base, all of which are adaptable and scalable.
These flexible systems will reduce the negative impact of personal vehicles on the Park, accelerate moving Banff National Park to net-zero emissions, increase visitor safety, tie into regional transportation networks and encourage active transportation, including walking and cycling. The arrival centre can serve as a platform in the future for the Town of Banff and Parks Canada to optimize transportation networks through reservation systems and demand management, including access restrictions and demand pricing.
2. Enhancing the Fenlands Indian Grounds Wildlife Corridor
Restoration of a fragmented and partial brownfield site. This rehabilitation provides an environmental gain, including creating a 5.2 hectare (ha) contiguous protected conservation area covering approximately two-thirds (63 %) of the plan area north of the railway tracks. For future consideration, there is the opportunity with partners to further restore the Fenlands Indian Grounds Wildlife Corridor outside of the Plan Area by removing and restoring the Fenlands Trail parking lot and creating a wildlife underpass north of Forty Mile Creek.
3. Developing a Rocky Mountain Parks Railway Heritage destination and community hub
Offer dining and hospitality opportunities, as well as accessible cultural, social, entertainment, and learning venues. Pedestrian focused open spaces will celebrate and promote the history of the site’s train station, landscapes and Indigenous connections integrating new and existings structures. In partnership with CP Rail, existing cultural heritage buildings will be conserved. These structures are iconic, authentic, yet modern and are all contained in a walkable space that emphasizes scenic viewscapes and can accommodate Banff’s four million annual visitors.