Hello everyone: 

As always, a quick reminder that everything in this email is my personal opinion – this is not in any way a message from Council or from the Town of

Banff.  Also, if you would like to unsubscribe at any time, just send me an email and I'll take you off the list. 


I got so many thoughtful and interesting responses to the discussion about potential pedestrianization of Banff Avenue that I’d really like to briefly summarize the ideas here, so that everyone can read everyone else’s thoughts.   

  • Almost everyone loves the idea of pedestrian-only zones in the downtown, but recognizes the challenges.
  • Several people pointed out that this is not just a discussion about 2 blocks of
    Banff Avenue

    , it is a discussion about the primacy of the automobile and how we have to change the way we think about transportation.

  • Several people said that this pedestrianization could only be accomplished in conjunction with a complete re-think of how we handle transportation in the town – intercept lots, frequent transit, etc.
  • Several people mentioned the traffic impact on
    Beaver Street

    and said they didn’t want people living there to be negatively impacted.

  • Folks on the south side of the bridge said that back-ups due to the closure had really affected their ability to drive across the bridge during this past summer.
  • Several people suggested occasional closures for festive events, or closures on a regular basis, for example:  on summer Sundays, or after 8 pm every day, or one day a month.
  • One person suggested changing the traffic/walk lights downtown so that our intersections become “pedestrian scrambles”:  this is a pedestrian crossing system that stops all traffic and allows pedestrians to cross intersections in every direction at the same time.
  • A couple of people suggested closing one side and making the other 2-way (ie one lane in each direction).
  • And a 15-year-old, thinking outside the box, said that what we should be talking about pedestrianizing is the 200 block of Bear!


As you will have read in the paper by now, Council has decided to look at some closures for special events in the summer of 2008. 


Council’s budget process starts tomorrow (Monday the 26th).  Here’s the schedule of meetings: 

Monday November 26 9 a.m. - noon
Monday December 3 9 a.m. - noon
Wednesday December 5 9 a.m. - noon
Friday December 7 9 a.m. - noon
Monday December 10 9 a.m. - noon
Wednesday December 12 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Council budget meetings are open to the public.  I’ll know more about the agenda for the overall process (for example, which departments will be covered at which sessions) after tomorrow.

Budget meetings are not the most thrilling things to sit through, so I don’t expect that many of you will come, although I’d be thrilled if you did!  But I hope that you’ll follow the coverage in the papers, and express your opinions to all the councillors. 


Apparently it’s now coming to Council on December 10! 


As you know, we have a cap on commercial growth.  Before we ran out of space to allot, people interested in doing a commercial development used to enter a random draw to see if they could acquire some of the limited square footage available for additional development.  However, if they didn’t use their allotment within 5 years, it reverted back to the town. 

This has happened recently, with a substantial chunk of square footage that had been allotted to Safeway coming back to the Town. At tomorrow’s meeting, the planning staff is suggesting that we might consider updating the rules for allocation, so that developments that provide essential services for locals would get priority.  I think this is a great idea, and I hope we can make it happen. 


Many of you filled out the town’s survey in September.  You’re probably interested in seeing the overall results – you can find them in this week’s council package.  Just click on:  http://www.banff.ca/town-hall/banff-town-council/council-meetings/dates-agendas/council_meeting_2007_11_26.htm 

then open the council package, and scroll through to page 40. 


Hello, everyone:

First off, as always, a reminder that these emails are very much my personal point of view, and do not in any way pretend to be the official word of Council or the Town of Banff.

Also, if you would like to unsubscribe at any time, just send me an email and I'll take you off the list.



Many thanks to all of you who sent me comments and thoughts about a downtown parkade. This concept is not coming to council on the 13th after all, so I expect we'll see it at the council meeting on the 26th of November. I will make sure that I re-read all your thoughtful comments before I go into that meeting!



The town commissioned an environmental study to compare the environmental impacts of building a new multiplex on the Elkwoods site with the impacts of building or redeveloping on the existing site. This assessment is being presented to council at the Tuesday meeting, and you can read the executive summary by going to this link:


and flipping through to page 12.

The study says that staying on the existing site would be the preference from an environmental point of view. In brief, the reasons are that the new site would cause a major constriction in the wildlife corridor, destroy white spruce stands that are more than 300 years old (yes, I was surprised, too!), increase impervious land surface, and that the new site would not be a good location to use alternative technologies such as rooftop solar, because of the shade lines from Tunnel Mountain.



There's a letter in the council package about turning the 100 and 200 blocks of Banff Avenue into a pedestrian mall. Many of you know that this idea has been around for a long time, and interest in doing it has waxed and waned.

What do you think? My thoughts are below ...

I'm all for an occasional closure for special events. But, contrary to what you might expect -- I don't think I'm in support of a full closure, because of what the changed traffic pattern does to Buffalo and Beaver Streets. As I mentioned in my last update, Beaver Street is still a real residential street, even though it's just one block from our main street. When I went door-knocking on Beaver, the folks there told me that the traffic this summer has had a real impact on their quality of life. It would be a real shame to turn Beaver into a street that no one wanted to live on.

I'm really hoping that what we'll get with the downtown reconstruction in the 100 and 200 blocks is the advantages of a pedestrian space (wide sidewalks, plantings, benches) without wrecking Beaver Street as a residential and historic space. We'll see!



Council spent 2 days in meetings Oct 29 and 30, going over a long list of about 150 project ideas and issues, and coming up with a short-term list to concentrate on over the next few months. Staff members met for a further day, and listed the projects they feel should be undertaken in the short term. These two lists are being collated and summarized, and we should see them coming for approval to the November 26 meeting.

I was really pleased with the meetings, not because I agree with everyone or they with me, but because I think that people came well-prepared and were able to discuss areas of disagreement in a constructive way. I think this bodes well for the functioning of the new council.



The Community Art Committee is organizing a national juried competition to choose another piece of public art for installation next summer (2008). Personally, I've been really delighted with their choices so far, and I look forward to seeing what comes of this. Everyone in town will be invited to comment on the semi-finalist entries at the Homegrown Art Show in late March. Almost half the budget for this project is coming from a provincial CIP grant.

All the best until next time! -- Leslie

Hello everyone:  Welcome to my first "email update".  I promise not to bombard you with these -- every two or three weeks would be about right, I think.  Just a reminder that these emails are very much my personal point of view, and do not in any way pretend to be the official word of Council or the Town of Banff. Here are a few quick items of interest ...  I'd love to hear your opinions on any of these.


PARKADE CONCEPT DESIGN COMING SOON  According to Council's long-term agenda, a concept for the proposed second parkade could be before Council as soon as November 13. 

I have a few questions about this parkade: 1.  Do we really need it? 

Parking is a multi-faceted issue.   First, it is an issue of way-finding.  If you have a situation in which I can almost always find parking within a block of my destination, but visitors cannot, then you have a way-finding issue.   

Next, it is an issue of balancing needs and demand.  It is unreasonable to expect that everyone will be able to find a parking spot within a block of his/her destination on July 1 -- but what about a normal summer day?  This summer, I watched the spaces indicator on the

Bear Street

parkade every time I passed it.  I saw it under 50 stalls of availability four times, and I'm told that the


Plaza parking garage was never even close to full, yet this summer was probably as demanding a situation as we are likely to face in the foreseeable future. Really, don't we need better directional signage to fill up the


Plaza parkade and the

Bear Street

parkade before we decide to build another parkade? 

2.  Can we afford it? I haven't seen a cost estimate yet, but the most recent figure that I heard was around $9 million.  Can we afford to pay this in order to provide a "free" service? 

3.  Will we be happy with the location? As I understand it, the proposed location is in the 200 Block of Beaver, in the general area of the parking lot next to the recycling bins.   

Let's look at the surroundings. 

First, Beaver Street -- just one block off our main drag, but still determinedly residential.  Across
Beaver Street, the most intact "historic district" in town, with a line of significant historic homes.  Next door, a spectacular fire hall building -- a combination historic building and sympathetic addition.  Behind the site, across the alley, a new downtown park, the most delightful feature of which is its open view.  Picture a parkade in the middle.  Will we be happy with that choice?


The latest report at council was that Banff Avenue should re-open to traffic in mid-November.  Next spring, there will be a bit of work to do on landscaping installation and a final lift of asphalt.  With good weather, the project should be complete before things get really busy.  Won't it be great to see those trees go in along Banff Avenue?



I thought you might be interested to know what committees the town is represented on, and who serves on which committee, so I've attached the appointments for this year.    Personally, I'd like to see a few more Town committees to review proposals and to generate good ideas for Council to consider.  What do you think?  Would it be a good idea to re-institute a Finance Committee to review financial forecasts and other money issues, or a Protective Services Committee to work on community policing and bylaw enforcement issues? An alternative approach that has been suggested is to just have project-based committees, like the one that worked on the Community Plan.


COUNCIL VERY BUSY FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS  It's time for the preparation of the 2008 budget.  We have a two-day strategic planning retreat this Monday and Tuesday, and many budget meetings between November 26 and mid-December.  These meetings are open to the public -- I'll be sure to let you know exact dates as they get closer.


Thanks for your interest in my council updates!  Remember, you can always unsubscribe if you want -- just send me an email to let me know. All the best until next time -- Leslie

After the election, I got back to everyone on my email list and asked if people would like to stay listed and receive occasional updates about council issues and hot topics.  To my surprise and delight, quite a few people agreed to stay on the list.  From now on, I'll add these "email updates" to this blog as soon as I write them.

Personally, I always think it's a good idea to keep track of what candidates said during the election.  To make this easy for you, the amazing and talented Ann Dahlberg Toohey has archived my election home page at this link: