Council update, 8 January 2012

Hello everyone, and Happy New Year! 

Here are a few general-interest items:


Every now and then, I mention the action request.  On the town's website, at the very top of every page except the home page, you'll see a white band with a string of words in black.  Among those words is "Action Request".  If you want to let the town know about a backed-up storm sewer or a burnt-out street-lamp or a broken stop sign or your neighbour's dog that never stops barking, the Action Request is a great feature.  Clicking on those words takes you to a quick and simple online form, so that you can let the town know what the problem is.  If you request a callback, town staff will call you to let you know what action was taken.  Using the Action Request is a quick and easy way to make your concerns known.  It also lets us easily track complaints over time, so that we can identify areas that need more attention.

So here’s what’s changed:  on the town’s new home page, you won’t see “Action Request” at the top anymore, but the feature is still available.  You need to click on “Quick Links” and then look for the pencil and paper symbol to find it.


When the Friends of Banff wind up their operations in April, that could be the end of Park Radio.  But maybe not!  With the enthusiastic support of the Friends of Banff board, a group of interested and energetic folks are working together on the idea of running Park Radio on into the future as a community radio station for Banff and Canmore.  If you’re interested and would like to help, contact Joanna Croston at to find out the time and place for their next meeting.


We’re doing pretty well on the recycling front, but if you have items that are in good shape and could make a new owner happy, just a reminder of some options:
• Good quality, clean used clothing:  drop-off bin by the fire hall
• Items you’re willing to give away (furniture, appliances, etc):  Bow Valley Freecycle. Go to and click on "sign up."
• Items you’d like to sell:  Advertize in the Crag and Canyon, the Outlook, or on , or on 

And here’s what Council is up to on Monday ...


Start off your 2012 year of civic engagement by attending a council meeting!  The next meeting is tomorrow, Monday, at 2 p.m. in council chambers at Town Hall, and you are very welcome to attend.  You can see the whole package for tomorrow at this link:

A few highlights ...

Banff Ideas Bank

Colin Funk will be presenting the great ideas that have come from this group in 2011, plus the scheduled topics for 2012.  You can see the full report starting on page 3 of the package.

Businesses with outdoor speakers directed at the sidewalks

Banff has a bylaw prohibiting the use of outdoor speakers to attract people to individual businesses, but you may have noticed that some businesses are ignoring this bylaw.  Council is being asked whether we want to allow this, or to enforce reactively on a complaint basis, or to enforce proactively after a brief education campaign to remind businesses of the bylaw.  I’m in favour of the third option.  Council just updated the Community Standards Bylaw in 2008, including the prohibition of using outdoor speakers in this way, so I would hope that council’s intention here is pretty clear.  You can see the report starting on page 44 of the package.

Outdoor retail display

Back in early 2007, the people who were on council at the time asked Bylaw staff to relax enforcement on outdoor retailing during the construction period on Banff Avenue.  Now that the construction has been over for a couple of years, we’re being asked whether we want to enforce the bylaw that prohibits outdoor retail displays, or whether we want to change it.  Personally, I think that outdoor retail displays of clothing, shoes, souvenirs etc., lower the aesthetic look of the street.  However, I’d be willing to consider limited outdoor display of activity equipment that is for rent (skis, snowboards, bikes, skates), because I think that might encourage people to be active in the outdoors.  You can see the report starting on page 47 of the package.

Water bylaw update

Starting on page 50, you’ll find a report about one important item in the water bylaw:  Who is responsible for the cost of repairs if a house water service freezes up?  The clarified answer in the bylaw amendment is that the homeowner is responsible for any repairs caused by this type of freeze-up that originates with the house and its service line. 

Take these precautions to prevent your water pipes from freezing:

• Insulate crawl spaces and make sure that the air around your water service line is heated.

• Insulate exposed pipes where they enter the home.

• Install a “free flow bleeder” to allow a small volume of water to flow through your lines. It will prevent freezing, but can be wasteful, so it is important to size the assembly appropriately.


Temporary borrowing bylaw

Every year, council is asked to pass a temporary borrowing bylaw, to carry the town over until tax revenues for the year are collected.  You can see the bylaw starting on page 77.


At 4:30 on Monday, in the council chambers, council will meet wearing their BHC Shareholders’ hats.  This meeting is to hear public comments on a proposal to change the point system for the Registered Resale List – you are very welcome to attend and comment.  In brief, right now, potential buyers get one point per adult applicant for every year lived in the Bow Valley, and one additional point per adult applicant for every year he/she has lived in the Town of Banff.  For most potential home buyers, these residency points constitute the large majority of the points they have that decide where they sit on the Registered Resale List.

The BHC board, after quite a bit of discussion, is recommending that the total points per applicant be capped at 20.  So, for example, under the new system, a person who has lived in Banff for 10 years would be at the maximum, and would have the same credit for residency as someone who has lived in Banff for 20 years.  This change would come into effect after 18 months, so that anyone who is at the top of the list right now would have time to take advantage of that position before the change is made.
You can see the whole background report at this link:


As always, the opinions expressed in this post are mine alone.  This blog does not purport to be an official communication from the Town of Banff or its Council.  I welcome your comments and questions!

All the best until next time - Leslie