What a beautiful weekend! When you come in from enjoying the great outdoors, I hope you’ll be able to take a moment to check out what’s happening with Town Council.
HAVE YOUR SAY
There are two online surveys going on right now – I hope you will be interested in providing your input.
Housing Needs Study
At this link http://banffhousingstudy.com/ you can participate in the housing needs study, and/or comment on some of the topics that have been raised on the blog. This survey is really important to determine the future direction of the Banff Housing Corporation, and of Council’s policies on housing in town. Please fill it out, even if you’re already comfortably housed. We need input from the whole community in order to make the right decisions about future housing efforts.
Transportation Master Plan
The town conducted a survey about transportation issues early in the year, and this planning process is moving into its next phase. You can see the results from the earlier survey, add your thoughts about the issues, or *volunteer for a focus group* at this link http://www.banff.ca/town-hall/major-projects-banff/Transportation_Master_Plan.htm Yes, I know the website says the focus group will be in April, but on the next level in, you’ll see that the intention is to hold these groups in September, so you still have time to volunteer. From door-knocking, I know that lots of you are passionate about transportation issues in town – here’s a great way to get involved.
FINANCE MEETING MONDAY
Council will be meeting as the Finance Committee on Monday morning at 10 a.m. and – as always – you are very welcome to attend. You can see the whole package at this link:
http://www.banff.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=4218 and here are a couple of highlights:
Second quarter financial statements and forecast to year-end
You can see the entire report starting on page 5 of the package. Overall, staff are reporting that we are forecasting a deficit of $23K, down from a forecast deficit of $44K at the end of the first quarter, so things are being moved in the right direction.
Reserves for staff accommodation, transit, public art, heritage, parking, offsite levies and municipal reserve (green space)
This report, starting on page 30 of the package, tells you all about what amounts are held in these reserves and for what purposes. The key recommendation is that we need to increase the amount we are contributing to the staff accommodation reserve, in order to be ready to maintain and replace our staff accommodation as necessary. This won’t affect taxes, as the operation of our staff accommodation is funded by the rents paid by the occupants. Raising the reserve contribution means raising the rents to pay for it.
Council will be briefed on Monday at 1 p.m. about the progress of the Town’s website update. You’ll recall that we’re getting this revamping for free from a provider of municipal websites, because our staff did a great job of selling Banff as the perfect location for a showcase website for the company.
Council meets at 2 p.m. on Monday, and we’d love to see you in the gallery. As always, there are two opportunities during the meeting for public questions about items on this agenda. Here’s the link to the package:
Banff Volunteer Centre report
Didn’t we just have one of these, you say? Well, yes, but this update is more meaty and informative, with specifics about how the BVC is addressing the volunteer needs of the community, real numbers around effectiveness, and concrete steps they are taking and will be taking. You can see the report starting on page 4 of the package. Hats off to the BVC for hearing Council’s concerns at our previous meeting, and responding to them.
Public art project
The Public Art Committee has responded to Council’s concerns about their temporary art proposal by coming up with a project that costs less, that is more long-term, that is more publicly visible and that has a private partner. The new proposal will see art mounted on the east-facing wall of Town Hall and on the south-facing wall of the Bear Street Mall. Four different artists will be featured over the 5-year life of the installations, and the public will get input into the artist choice. The mounting hardware is reusable for future art displays. With these modifications, I now think this is a good project and will be supporting it.
BANFF HOUSING CORPORATION SHAREHOLDERS' MEETING
After Council is over, council members will be meeting as the BHC shareholders. You can see the meeting agenda package at this link:
A key piece here is the recommendations on user fees. Although most fees are recommended to stay at their present levels, the BHC board is recommending a change in resale fees for equity-share properties to 0.6% of the value of the home. You can see the whole report starting on page 5 of the package. The shareholder meeting will not make a decision on this report, rather, we will be setting a date for a public hearing on the proposed changes.
The package also includes the BHC’s report on the various housing benchmarks for Banff. You can see the numbers starting on page 25 of the agenda package.
THE FINE PRINT
As always, this update gives my personal point of view. This email is not an official communication of the Town of Banff or its Council. If you want off the list, just let me know – I promise not to whine. If you have friends who’d like to join the list, I’d love to hear from them.
All the best until next time -- Leslie
Box 2275 Banff Alberta T1L 1C1