A lively night at the BPL last night, with good speeches, good questions, and lots of audience participation.Â Huge thanks to the Banff Lake Louise Hotel Motel Association, and especially Darren Reeder and Eric Harvie, for organizing and promoting this event, to the Banff Park Lodge and Frank Denouden for generously hosting yet another key community event, to Ted Hart for a super job of moderating, and to the audience for hanging in there.Â The format of the evening was the best-planned of the forums I haveÂ watched and participated in.
There were generally positive reactions from all the candidates for support for the day care and the library, which was very heartening to see.Â There was an interesting discussion of late night noise, which pointed out the good progress that has been made, and explored ideas that can help even more.Â An impassioned plea was made for the needs of the 18-35 year old service workers.Â Candidates were quizzed on affordable housing, and some offered concrete ideas.
I found the discussions on the rec centre and on the commercial growth cap to be particularly interesting.Â Â Almost all theÂ descriptions of what types of events would be hosted in the new rec centre focused on national and international events, tournaments, etc., Â leaving me wondering where there will be room for the communityÂ that this centre is supposedly for.Â Â A fewÂ candidates proposed "revisiting", "reworking", "rethinking"Â the growth cap, while assuring us that that didn't necessarily mean attempting to raise it.
Here are a few words from my closing speech:
Council elections are about ideas and values.Â More than higher levels of government, a municipal council stays close to the people it serves, a municipal council can really get things done, and the ideas and values of the councillors you vote for will have a noticeable, meaningful effect on our community in the next three years.Â ...Â In a small town, we are very fortunate.Â We donâ€™t just hear about our council candidates at election time.Â We know them in their day to day lives, and we see how they interact with their families, their neighbours, their work, their community.Â We learn their values as they live them.
After listening closely to the candidates last night, I would say that we have some very different sets of values represented among the ten people who are running.Â It will be interesting to see which values the community wants to have reflected in their municipal government.