Hello everyone:

I hope you're getting a chance to enjoy the great skiing, and that you're also managing to stay warm!

Here's a quick rundown on what's been happening at council, and what's coming to the council table tomorrow.  As always, these items are presented from my point of view, and this message does not pretend to be an official communication of Council or of the Town of Banff.


If you're like me, you may be having a little trouble remembering to notice these new crosswalks.  The Town staff has put up some different signage to try to make them more visible.  Let me know what you think -- is the new signage working for you?


I've heard from a few people about the length of time that it took to clear the roads and sidewalks after the big December storm.  As I'm sure you know, that combination of a heavy snowfall, followed by a bit of rain, followed by very low temperatures, makes for a worst-case scenario for the folks that have to clear the snow.  Apparently, this was added to by the fact that a couple of pieces of key equipment, including the grader, had minor breakdowns and needed repairs.  Having said all that, the town staff is no happier than you are about the length of time the clearing took, and they're reviewing all their priorities and snow-clearing procedures to try to do the best job possible within the money available.  I'll keep you updated on this.


As you know, there's a bylaw in front of council, coming for 3rd reading tomorrow, to make family day homes and private babysitting services able to be licensed as home occupations in the town of Banff.  If you're not a parent of pre-schoolers, you may not know that the Banff Child Care Centre has a waiting list of 100 -- so it is urgent to try to encourage more private spaces in town.  Given the importance, a few people have wondered why I'm asking so many questions about the bylaw.  "Just get it passed!" is the message from some.  I certainly do understand the urgency, but I also think we need to make sure we do it right.  There are so many interests involved:

  • The children -- are we doing everything we are required to do in order to ensure their comfort and safety?
  • The parents -- are we having a comprehensive and transparent discussion of the bylaw, so that people will clearly understand what "licensed by the Town of Banff" means -- and what it doesn't mean?
  • The operators -- how can we be as clear as possible in the bylaw about what factors will be looked at in granting a home occupation permit, so that people will feel confident in applying?
  • The neighbours -- how can we best ensure that they have a chance to have input?

 For all these reasons, I'm asking lots of questions about this bylaw.  I feel that it's not unreasonable to spend a couple of extra weeks examining something so important.


The bylaw folks have been working very hard on this, and the combining of noise, nuisances, graffiti and similar items under one bylaw is a great idea.  We've made a few changes and there are some more recommended for tomorrow's meeting.  I've heard from several of you who are anxious to see the best noise protection possible (aren't we all!)

One contentious item is these 2 clauses:

63. No person shall be a member of an assembly of three or more persons in any public place or any

place to which the public is allowed access where an Officer has reasonable grounds to believe

the assembly will disturb the peace of the neighbourhood, and any such person shall disperse as

requested by an Officer.

64. No person shall conduct himself or behave in a manner that unreasonably disturbs other

persons in the Town or unreasonably interferes with their enjoyment of the Town.

I've suggested that they be combined to read like this:

No person shall conduct himself or behave in a manner that gives an Officer reasonable grounds to believe that such conduct or behaviour will disturb the peace of the neighbourhood or disturb other persons in the Town or unreasonably interfere with other persons' enjoyment of the Town, and any such person shall cease such conduct or behaviour as requested by an Officer.


That's because -- much as I want to have peaceful nights -- I also believe we should be doing enforcement based on what people are actually doing, not what we think they might do in future.  I'm also uncomfortable with reaching conclusions about people based on the size of the group they're hanging around with.

However, the bylaw folks and the RCMP feel otherwise, and have put lots of thought into their point of view as well  -- you can read their comments here:


(just scroll through to page 17 to see the report).

We'll see which way it goes tomorrow!


I've asked Council to consider three changes to election procedures tomorrow -- #2 is the most important one, from my point of view:

1.  that we clarify that, if necessary, there can be more than one advance polling day

2.  that we direct that at least one advance poll be held no less than a week before the election.  This is because I heard from a lot of you that the 4-day spread in 2007 was just not enough, since October is a time when a lot of people take vacations.

3.  that we run our voting station somewhere other than Town Hall.  This is because I observed during the election that there were pictures and text posted on the way into the voting station, and in the voting station itself, that related to particular candidates and to particular points of view on election issues.  This is not anyone's fault -- it's just something that is likely to happen in a Town Hall location.  So I'm suggesting we avoid that. 

The staff report to council can be seen here:


(just scroll through to page 11 to see the report).

As you'll see, staff agrees with point #1, disagrees with point #3, and recommends that we hold an advance poll on a weekend day. 


I had a look at an early draft of the wayfinding plan this past week -- this is the project that will install new directional signs throughout the town in 2009.  Although there are lots of things that need tweaking, I'm pretty excited about the overall look of the signage, and the fact that there will be more directional signs meant for pedestrians and trail users.  If you have any places near you where people (drivers or walkers) often get lost, please tell me about them, and I'll check to ensure that they are included in the draft plan.

Until next time, best wishes to you all -- Leslie

Hello everyone, and best wishes for a great year in 2008! 

Here are some quick notes on recent and upcoming happenings at Council.  As always, any opinions expressed here are mine alone, and do not represent the position of Council  or the Town of Banff.


There's a super new addition on the Town's website (www.banff.ca).  Along the very top of the screen, in the black and white part above the Town of Banff title, you'll see a string of text that looks like this:

Home | Contacts | Action Request | Feedback | Subscribe | FAQ | Privacy | Weather | Site Map 

If you click on Action Request, you go right to a simple form that lets you ask the town for what you need done.  Maybe you've noticed a sidewalk that needs clearing, a road sign that's been damaged, an intersection that needs some sanding, or an organics bin that's overflowing.  Just fill out this action request and send it in -- the  person who receives it will make sure that it gets to the right department, and they'll report back to you.  I tried out the system myself over the holidays, and it worked just great!


By now, you probably know that we ended up with a 5.27% overall property tax increase.  As well, the town is "occupying the taxing room" left by a decrease in provincial education taxes. 

In my opinion, there is good news and bad news here. 

The good news is that all the money from the education tax part goes to increasing the town's contribution to capital reserves.  Putting the right amount of money into capital reserves helps to ensure that we can replace infrastructure as needed, and that we won't find ourselves borrowing huge amounts in the future to do so.  It's the responsible thing to do.

The bad news is that I think we could have done better on the operating budget, to at least get the increase at or below the rate of inflation, rather than slightly above.  I proposed some areas to trim or change, but -- although some were adopted -- I wasn't convincing enough to get the majority of council onside for all of them.  I apologize for not being able to make this happen, and I hope to be more effective next year, once I have longer experience with the budget and more familiarity with each of the areas.


As you know from my previous emails, I was very concerned about the implications of the proposed parkade on Beaver Street, and so I am pleased with the result of the vote.  The Town is not going ahead with final design of the parkade, and instead will be exploring all the other alternatives for dealing with parking demand.  The debate was detailed and passionate, and everyone on both sides of this issue was trying to do what they felt was best for Banff.


The Community Standards bylaw is coming for debate and decision on Monday.  I've discussed this briefly in a previous email -- you can see the draft bylaw itself here:


There will also be a public hearing on Monday at 2 pm for a proposed bylaw to allow for Family Day Homes in town.  You can make a verbal presentation at that public hearing, if you have any issues or concerns with the bylaw.  You can read the draft bylaw here:


Also on Monday, Council will be looking at increasing the offsite levies (the fees charged by the municipality to developers – both for new development and redevelopment – to help with offsite (town) costs for upgrading or expanding the sewer treatment system, the water supply system, and storm sewer drainage facilities).  These fees have not been increased since 1993, and we are looking at an increase in line with inflation.  You can see a report on this by going to the agenda package at the link below, and flipping through to page 51: