council update, 21 January 2012

Hello everyone!

Council has two public meetings on Monday, the regular council meeting and a meeting of the Banff Housing Corporation shareholders.  As well, we will be meeting with one of the candidates for the PC nomination (we’ve been meeting with every candidate who asks us), we will be meeting briefly with MP Blake Richards, and we will be doing the official receiving of the grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (this grant is in support of the environmental standards of the Recreation Centre project).  A busy day!


You can see the entire package at this link:

The meeting starts in council chambers at 2 pm, and you are welcome to attend.  As always, there are two opportunities in the agenda for you to ask questions about items on the agenda.

Here are a few highlights:

Competitive Initiative proposals for après-ski experience

You can read the full letter starting on page 5 of the package.  I really like the idea of public ski racks near our bike racks, although I will want to make sure that the signs acknowledging the sponsors are reasonably sized and positioned.  I’m interested in the suggestion of an in-town toboggan hill – sounds like fun!  The proposal for outdoor music during the après-ski hours causes me concern, mostly about how the volume would be controlled – I’m looking forward to having a conversation about this.  The proposal for buskers and people offering samples out on the street in front of each business could create a huckster atmosphere that would be a bit wearing – I’m not in support of this at present, but I’m willing to listen to the points of view around the table.  I am, however, definitely opposed to the proposal for heaters to facilitate outdoor seating in winter.  To approve this would go entirely against our community plan direction to work on lowering our GHG emissions. 

Pedestrian bridge and utility crossing

You will recall my other posts about this project last year – this is the approach of replacing our water and sewer lines across the Bow by slinging them below a structure that would function as a pedestrian bridge and an emergency crossing for ambulances.  The report that starts on page 12 of the package shows you the recommended contractor and what the proposed structure would look like.  I will be checking to see whether the contractor that is recommended will be offering us a fixed price, but in general I think this is a good project and I continue to support it,.  However, I have received comments from Buffalo Street residents in the last couple of days, stating that they would prefer not to have this pedestrian/cycle route go by their homes, because of concerns about increased noise, litter and dog droppings.  I’d like to see if there is anything we can do to mitigate those concerns.

Closing doors in winter

In stark contrast to the proposal above to provide outdoor heaters, this report (starting on page 33 of the package) asks Council to provide direction on the question of businesses leaving their doors open in the winter.  Council gets comments from time to time about this environmentally unfriendly practice, and about how it affects our image as a town in a national park.  The difficulty, of course, is that people who have worked in retail (I’ve asked a few now) agree that an open door brings noticeably more people in off the sidewalk.  Weird, but true.  So, if council chooses to ask for a bylaw on this, we would have to enforce it very stringently to ensure that everyone is treated equally and fairly. 


You can see the whole package at this link:

There are two decisions to be made at this meeting:

Points for residency on the registered resale list

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.

There were no comments at the public hearing made on this proposal.  I will be supporting it -- I believe that people have demonstrated their commitment to Banff by the time they’ve lived here for 10 years.  You can see the whole report starting on page 3 of the package.

Moving into the 21st (or maybe the 20th) century

After much discussion, the BHC board is recommending that we go from a door-drop method to an email method of notifying BHC homeowners of matters that affect them.  The recommendation in the report (it starts on page 11 of the package) says “effective immediately”, but I’ll be suggesting that we ask the BHC board to undertake a reasonable transition, so that people who don’t do email are taken care of, and so that everyone has lots of notice of this change.  It will certainly be a timesaver!


As always, this post reflects my personal understanding of the issues, and my personal opinions.  It is not an official communication from the Town of Banff or its Council, nor does it purport to represent their opinions.  I welcome your comments and questions, and I love it when you send me the names of people who want to be added to the email list!

All the best until next time -- Leslie