I hope you took the opportunity to enjoy Doors Open Banff today. I was being a tour guide in a beautiful heritage home, and got to show 129 interested folks around. It was great -- what a super chance to enjoy Banff's history!
HAVE YOUR SAY re the Park Management Plan
It turns out that the chance for input to the Banff National Park Management Plan is still available. It's a bit of a hassle to master the input website, but there are many interesting background information sheets available on the Park website: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/plan/plan5_e.asp#help as well as information on how to get signed in so that you can comment.
WHAT'S COMING TO COUNCIL TOMORROW?
You can see the overall council package by clicking on this link:
Quarterly update on staff work
Every meeting, there is an update on what is happening on council's key priorities, but once a quarter, there is also an update on the more extensive list of initiatives that staff are working on. This is one of those times -- you can see the update by clicking on the package link and scrolling to page 11. This will let you know which projects are moving ahead and which have stalled, and give you a sense of what work will be done in the next few months.
The pedestrian bridge proposal is coming back to council for two reasons: construction prices have dropped somewhat, and administration hopes to acquire a grant of $850,000 to support the project. Council is being asked to award the tender for construction in the amount of 2.55 million, contingent on receiving the grant. This includes the design money ($425K) which has already been spent.
In this scenario, the remaining money required would come from the following sources:
- $174K from donations
- $850K from the Recreational Infrastructure Canada grant program
- $900K borrowed dollars (this borrowing bylaw has already been passed by Council)
This bridge would definitely provide a good link between downtown, the rec grounds and Cave Avenue. However, I continue to believe that it is in the wrong location to accomplish the larger objective of encouraging pedestrian and bike travel from the south side of the bridge. The majority of people will hit the present bridge before arriving at the new bridge -- it is not human nature to bypass the existing crossing and go a few hundred yards out of your way to cross by the new one.
I am also very concerned about the amount of encroachment into Central Park. The park has already suffered a lot in the last few years, with the massive loss of trees, and now the approach to the bridge will cut almost a third of the way into the park, and a trail will diagonally cross the park to reach the bridge. The bridge approaches will substantially impact the riverside trail. You can see the proposed layout be going to this link:
and scrolling to page 55.
For the above reasons, unless I learn something earth-shattering tomorrow in the meeting, I do not expect to support this recommendation.
Second quarter financial results and forecast to the end of 2009
Starting on page 58, the package includes results to June 30, and expectations for the remainder of the year. The present information is a forecasted surplus of $123K. This surplus will help rebuild the town's budget stabilization fund, decimated by last year's results.
I have many questions to ask about the details of the forecast and results. It's important to remember that a lot of our activity takes place in July and August, so 3rd quarter results will be more accurate in predicting year-end.
BANFF HOUSING CORPORATION SHAREHOLDERS' MEETING
Council will also be meeting as BHC shareholders to review the reports provided by administration on "equity creep" and administrative fees. You can see the package for this meeting at this link: