Council update, 11 April 2010
Yes, I'm back! Apologies to a couple of you who emailed with questions during my absence -- I did my best, but my email access was very intermittent. For those of you familiar with my long-term relationship with the Camino de Santiago in Spain, I'm happy to report that I walked 513 kms this year, finishing up in Santiago de Compostela on Easter Sunday. This makes a total of 1350 kms since I started in 2007. The trip was challenging, rewarding, and all-round spectacular!
Because I was away for both council meetings in March, and was so generally unreachable, it is my intention to donate my March 19 and April 1 council paycheques back to the Town. I'm thinking of donating them to the Community Greenhouse project, but you may feel that it would be more appropriate just to give them back to the town's general revenues -- I welcome your comments.
MONDAY'S COUNCIL MEETING
You can see the entire package for Monday's meeting at this link:
Here are a few highlights ...
Community greenhouse sponsorship
Larry Bohn will be making a verbal presentation about sponsorship for the Community Greenhouse from the Bow Valley Credit Union. I'm looking forward to hearing about this!
On page 11 of the package, you can read a presentation to council urging us to declare Banff a Blue Community. This essentially means that we recognize water as a human right, keep the means of water treatment and distribution in public hands, and we don't sell bottled water at our municipal buildings or events. I certainly agree with these aims, and believe that we are pretty much on track already.
Water bylaw update
Starting on page 15 of the package, you can read about the recent review and update of the water bylaw, and see the bylaw itself, with the areas for changes marked in yellow. In general, the changes clarify who's responsible and accountable for what aspects of the water system, provide for protection from cross-contamination, add information about water conservation, and increase penalties for non-compliance. I have a few questions about how we can make wording clearer, and places where I'd like to see some right of appeal from an administrative decision. Council has already discussed this bylaw at the last meeting, so I look forward to getting up to speed with the questions they have already asked.
When is a taxi not a taxi?
Apparently, a bit of a grey area has been developing between taxis and "charter in-town sedans". You can see the report on this starting on page 48 of the package. Essentially, if a sedan is not actually pre-booked, but rather waits at a designated spot and can be hired on the spot by a customer, does it then become a taxi, or can it still be considered part of a limo/sedan service? This is the question being asked of council, and it appears that we may need to make some additions to the taxi bylaw so that there's a bit more clarity. Taxi bylaws and licences are always a hot topic of discussion in communities across the country.
I feel that councillors should be familiar with the full range of bylaws that are active in their community, so I asked administration to give us a list of the current ones, and also a list of how many have been reviewed within the past three years. I wanted to be sure that we are on track to review every bylaw at least once every 5 years, and it appears that we are at least close to that. It does still concern me, however, that a councillor can serve a full 3-year term without encountering all of our bylaws at the council table, and I'm going to suggest that a list and information on how to access the full texts be included in the council orientation package for new councillors after the fall election.
AND SPEAKING OF THE FALL ELECTION ...
Just a reminder that the September nomination date will come up very fast. If you're thinking that you might like to run, and would like any information or encouragement, please give me a shout. Serving your community as a councillor is educational, engaging, occasionally satisfying, sometimes exhausting ... the list could go on and on. But having a good pool of people to vote on is essential to the operation of a successful municipal democracy, so please, give it some thought, and also talk to others that you feel might be good candidates.
THE FINE PRINT
This post and all the others on this blog represent my point of view only, and do not purport to represent the position of the Town of Banff or Banff Town Council.