Here are a few updates about community goings-on, plus information about what's coming to Council tomorrow.
CHANCES TO HAVE YOUR SAY
Parks Canada Planning Forum
Parks Canada is having their annual planning forum this year on October 29 and 30 at The Banff Centre (in the Laszlo Funtek building Room 224, starting at 9 am on October 29). This is a big year, because the management plan review is in full swing, so the sessions should be very interesting. The whole event is open to the public. Even if you don’t have the time to participate in the whole thing, you can find out what’s going on by going to the superintendents’ “fireside chat”, which will be held from 7 - 8:30 pm, October 29 in the Great Room at the YW. This popular planning forum event lets superintendents Kevin Van Tighem and Pam Veinotte give a brief run-down of the year’s activities, and then the fun begins — audience members ask whatever park-related question they want, and the superintendents answer. These have been very lively discussions the past two years! I hope that you’ll take the opportunity to sit in on this one.
Parks Canada special events advisory group
A few of you have expressed interest in Parks Canada's decision-making process about special events. The group that makes recommendations to the superintendent about this is SEPAC, and their meetings are open to the public. If you want to have input into Parks' decision about a particular special event, old or new, you can do it through the SEPAC meeting. To get yourself on the SEPAC email list (so that you'll know when meetings are scheduled and what special events are being discussed), just email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be put on the list.
Post Office changes
If you want to express your feelings about the recent changes in layout and service levels at the Banff Post Office, here is the phone number for making such comments: 1-800-267-1177
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH BANFF HOUSING CORPORATION?
Council met for a second time with a group of homeowners last week. MS2 and Riverview Court homeowners are holding a meeting this week, at which I hope they may choose their five proposed representatives to the working group. I'm looking forward to getting this group underway.
HIGHLIGHTS OF MONDAY'S COUNCIL MEETING
Monday's meeting is at 2 pm in Council Chambers at Town Hall. As always, the public is welcome to attend, and there will be two opportunities during the meeting to ask questions about items on that day's agenda.
You can see the whole council package from this link:
Because of the bulky Land Use Bylaw reports, the council agenda package is broken up into several links this time -- all of which can be accessed from the above page.
Highlights of the agenda include:
2010 Council priorities
Each year, council has a strategy session in the fall to talk about what we need to focus on in the coming year. This results in a short draft document, which then comes to a public council meeting for approval. You can see this year's draft starting on page 11 of the council package.
Council's new priorities for 2010 include commercial space allocation (figuring out how we deal with the small amount of remaining commercial development allotment), community & economic sustainability and prosperity (responding to findings from the Indexperience survey, consulting with the community on long-term plans for a prosperous and resilient community), citizen engagement (reporting on community plan indicators, doing more "neighbourhood tent" events) and environmental initiatives (especially maximizing recycling in the commercial sector). Council has also asked for several of last year's projects and programs to continue to be regularly reported to council. You can see details of all these in the draft document.
2010 Financial Plan
This draft plan is coming to council for final changes and approval. You can see the meat of it starting on page 30 of the council package. In just 10 pages of fairly simple prose, written in language suitable for the non-financial-expert-type person, it explains the assumptions behind how the town does its budgeting and financial management. For those of you concerned about taxes (and who isn't?), this is a worthwhile read.
One assumption in the plan does concern me, and I will be bringing this concern up at council tomorrow. We are starting our draft budget with the assumption that the Alberta Consumer Price Index change will be zero in 2009 -- in other words, that prices will neither inflate nor deflate in this year. My personal take on this, looking at the track record for the first three quarters, is that the change will actually be minus 1%, or perhaps even greater. I will be asking how quickly we can respond in the budgeting process if it turns out that the proposed CPI assumptions in the plan are incorrect.
Why does CPI matter? Because it is the Town's starting point for assumptions about tax increases and about salary changes for Town staff.
First reading of some Land Use Bylaw amendments
As you'll recall, the town planners brought these to Council for first reading at the September 28th meeting. Voting for first reading doesn’t suggest that Council is approving these amendments. It just gets them onto the council agenda, so that a public hearing can be scheduled. However, the planners had received several concerns from folks who wanted a chance to look at the proposals before first reading, so council agreed to postpone the first reading until tomorrow's meeting.
You can see all the reports and proposed amendments by going to the page shown above, then looking at the individual links.
I commented on the contents in my September 28 update email. I hope you will take a look at the reports, and that you’ll get involved when the proposed changes come for second reading.
Update on the Fleet Shop
This report (starting on page 41 of the council package) states that the new building at the compound will be ready for full occupancy and operation by November 30. It also describes the causes of the delay from the originally expected date in July. Staff report a cost overrun of $110,000, and recommend funding that from cost under-runs on two other projects.
Bow Falls viewpoint and washrooms
A background report, for information only, is provided about proposed improvements at the Bow Falls parking lot area. This project will come back to Council as part of the capital budget, at which time we'll see what it's possible to do there, given the money available.
THE FINE PRINT
Any opinions expressed in this post, and in all the others on this blog, are published only to let Banff voters know what I personally think about the issues. These posts do not purport to represent the point of view of the Town of Banff or that of its council.