My computer, with all its resident files, has been saved, thanks to the technical brilliance of Ken Lee!  I will be able to resume my council update emails before the next council meeting, and continue on schedule.  A few people have mentioned seeing my ad in the Crag, so that's good, too.


I have very recently learned that the Mineral Springs Hospital is thinking of suspending its obstetrics services, effective almost immediately.  This is a shock, to say the least, but I'm not nearly as impacted as the several very pregnant young women who were at the protest meeting at the hospital today.  I have received lots of emails on this one -- many people seem to believe that this is a Council decision.  All I can do is keep on replying that we have no decision-making power over the hospital, and all Council can do is try to influence the decision -- I urge all concerned citizens to express your concerns directly to the hospital, not just through us.  Council has asked to meet with the hospital administration.


Unfortunately, due to a problem that flared up three days before my intended flight, I have to stay near an ophthalmologist for the next few weeks.  As a result, my trip to Spain is on hold once again, probably until this time next year.  So I won't be missing those meetings after all.


Unfortunately, my optimism on February 9 was misplaced.  My computer, having been cleaned up, promptly reinfected itself from some hidden reservoir of the virus.  I still have hopes of recovering my email lists and other key files over the next few weeks, but in the meantime, I'll continue to rely on this blog.  I placed an ad in this week's Crag to let people know why they're not receiving my email updates - sure hope that everyone sees it!

Yes, yes, I know that I should have kept everything backed up every day.  Alas, I didn't.  Believe me, I'm repentant!


By now, most people will be familiar with the recent motions passed by Council (acting in their capacity as the shareholders of the BHC), in consultation with the other members of the BHC Board.  In case you haven't seen them, they can be viewed at this link:

The working group that is referred to is being discussed now, with the intention of getting it structured and working soon.  It is supposed to report back to Council by June 15.

It is my personal hope that Council, the BHC board and interested homeowners and members of the community will work together to structure the working group and set its terms of reference.  My own suggestion (and this is strictly my personal thought) is that I would like to see a group made up of 3 board members from the BHC, 5-6 BHC homeowners, 3-4 members of the rest of the community, and a councillor or two.  I would hope that we could engage an experienced facilitator/mediator to assist the group with process.  I would also hope that meetings would be open to the public, with 2 to 3 chances in each agenda for members of the "audience" to ask questions or make comments about the items on the agenda.  

Some things are determined already.  Council and the BHC board will ask the working group to use as a resource the remaining recommendations from the BHC board, plus the many issues, solutions and ideas that were put forward in the public input to date, and to entertain additional ideas as well.  Council is also committed to a public open house once the working group reports back.

I understand from the Crag article that some people believe that the councillors are distancing themselves from Recommendation 6 and leaving the BHC board members to bear the displeasure of the BHC homeowners.  So let me put on the record that I was there at the meetings about the recommendations, I was part of the discussion, and I agreed with the decision to go out to the public with Recommendation 6.  If you're mad at anyone about this, be mad at me, too. 

Having read in detail the thoughtful analysis of the numbers around a 2% cap that several people provided to me, I'm now totally convinced that the price cap would have had more severe short-term and long-term effects than I had thought.  ! supported the motions that Council made on February 11, and will vote to re-affirm them at the meeting on Monday.


Rec Centre borrowing

Council is being asked to give first reading to a bylaw to borrow approximately $15 million toward the rfecreation centre redevelopment:  refurbishing the existing hockey arena, building new changerooms and lobby facilities, replacing 4 curling sheets, and potentially adding a second full-sized ice surface.  The intention is to pay this loan back over 10 years, using the Municipal Sustainability grant money that is committed to come to us from the province.  The Town also intends to apply for much more grant money, in the hope of diminishing the borrow substantially.

I will be asking again for reassurance that the provincial grant program is committed and will not be cancelled.

This borrowing bylaw will be advertized to the public before coming back to council.

As you know, I expressed concern during the election about the Rec Centre plans.  I'm fully in support of what is being proposed at present, however, because I believe that it prudently re-uses what parts of the existing building can be saved, replaces what can't, and takes full advantage of grant money available.  The whole process is moving quickly to ensure that we get to keep the $6 million already granted to us b y the province and the feds -- they require us to be in the ground with this project this spring.

Municipal heritage designation of the Crandell-Peck cabin

The Crandell-Peck cabin will be coming back to Council for the official designation bylaw.  This allows access for the owners to funding to help with restoration.  And it's official - the EH Crandell who built the cabin is indeed a major historic figure in southern Alberta -- owner of the Brickburn brick factory, a Calgary alderman, and a partner in the drilling of the first oil well in Alberta.  Crandell Mountain in Waterton is named for him.

Report on environmental incentives

Council will be looking at a report on the effectiveness of the toilet rebate program.  Banffites can apply for a $75 rebate for replacing their old high-flow toilet with a 6-litre model, and a $100 rebate if they go to a dual-flush 3 to 6 litre model.  74 rebates have been issued so far under this program.  The report shows that some people have achieved amazing water savings -- up to an astonishing 57% difference between 2007 and 2008 water use, with results averaging at a 17% improvement.  Of course, the toilets are just one factor in those changes, but obviously some Banffites are really making a big effort on water conservation and getting great results.

FCSS Annual Report

FCSS will be presenting their new "annual report to the community", in which they showcase their programs and describe their results.  This report will be available on the website and in printed form, and FCSS intends to do it every year from here on in, to increase their accountability to the community.  This report is a great way to become familiar with the amazing breadth of programs offered  by this dedicated group.


I'm leaving on the evening of February 24 to return to Spain and attempt once again to finish my walk to Santiago.  If all goes well, I will be over there until April 12.  This means that I will miss both council meetings in March -- I believe that these are the first regular meetings that I've missed since being elected.  Because I will be largely out of touch (email access is very sporadic along the trail), and therefore not very useful as a councillor, I will donate my two March paycheques back to the Town upon my return.  Please keep your fingers crossed for me -- I would really like to finish this walk this time!


As always, this blog entry represents only my own opinions and ideas, and does not purport to represent the official position of Council or the Town of Banff.  Thanks for reading it -- please feel free to comment here or by email to

Alas, my computer is down with a virus (great timing!) and my council update mailing list is down with it.  So I'm unable to do an email update this week.  I will admit that I've also been a little busy on my council laptop, answering emails from Middle Springs homeowners and a sprinkling of other folks about the Banff Housing Corporation recommendations.

Key items  coming to council this week include the taxi plates question (should we release more, and to whom?), a petition on the BHC recommendations from Middle Springs and Riverview Court homeowners, and a request to confirm the Peyto Pit as the future location for town composting activities. 

I will hope to be back in business by later in the week, and able to send an update to my email list.