Town of Banff issues demolition permit for McKay Residence

“The financial costs and logistical challenges associated with this continuing uncertainty and the imminent onset of winter are significant and entirely within the City’s control.

BANFF – The Town of Banff has issued a demolition permit for the more than a century old McKay Residence to make way for a new development of multi-unit townhouses on Muskrat Street.

Town of Banff officials say the demolition permit was issued last Thursday (September 15).

« We’ve had some movement with the applicant meeting the conditions…and so the development permit has now been issued, » said Kathleen Gallagher, development planner at the Town of Banff.

The City’s Planning and Development Department continues to review the development permit application for the 12-unit apartments at 216 Muskrat Street, which was filed July 29.

The proposed development includes one and two bedroom homes ranging in size from 535 square feet to 1,215 square feet.

« So far we’ve received it and are doing the initial review, » Gallagher said.

“We circulated it internally to other departments in the Town of Banff as well as Parks Canada for their feedback.

The McKay House, a one-and-a-half-storey Victorian folk residence on a double lot, was built as a summer residence and cottage for high-ranking Canadian Pacific Railway engineer and surveyor Alfred Sydney McKay in late 1880s or 1890s.

The Muskrat Street property, which is located in the MRC (Central District of Muskrat), is part of a neighborhood where higher density residential development is permitted under the land use planning by-law.

Owner Patrick Stiles said the town of Banff has been reviewing the official development permit application for nearly two months.

« I’m quite baffled as to why it’s taken so long, especially in light of the housing crisis Banff is facing and the fact that we ‘pre-submitted’ our plans in the spring, the City providing no comment other than to invite a formal submission we made in the third week of July,” he said in an email.

« The project falls entirely within the city’s guidelines for the Muskrat Control District with no waivers requested. »

Stiles said he plans to eventually build 12 townhouses, which will be offered for sale.

“However, until the Town of Banff issues a development permit, it is impossible to provide any indication of when construction will begin,” he said.

“The financial costs and logistical challenges associated with this continuing uncertainty and the imminent onset of winter are significant and entirely within the City’s control.

Stiles, who is a descendant of original owner Alfred Sydney McKay and a fourth-generation Banff resident, had offered to sell his home for a dollar — or give someone a dollar to buy it for a dollar — at the only condition is that it be moved from the Muskrat Street site.

Stiles said he was approached by the Banff Housing Corporation.

“I asked for a detailed proposal with a timetable to move the house so that I could be able to build before winter,” he said. « They refused. »

The McKay House is listed on the Banff Heritage Inventory, a document that lists properties of heritage value to the community but does not provide legal protection.
The Heritage Corporation of Banff opposed the demolition and raised concerns about loss of heritage integrity during relocation.

The Town of Banff is continuing work on a Heritage Master Plan, which aims to examine best practices and provide a set of new tactics or tools to preserve and protect heritage resources.

An outside consultant will be hired to help with this work and Gallagher said the deadline for a request for proposals for this contractor has passed.

“We are reviewing the proposals that have been submitted,” she said.


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