I've been enjoying warm hospitality on cool evenings in the past week, as I did 55 doors in the Marmot/Porcupine area.  The Hallowe'en decorations are really creative, as well!

Several people pointed out that - even though they may have a suggestion or two - they are generally satisfied with the services provided by the Town.  Particular positive notice went to the new recycling program, possibly top-of-mind because the blue bins have already been installed in this neighbourhood!  Three households mentioned the proposals for Rec Centre upgrades - they had all been happy to hear that the existing arena and location would be re-used in this project. 

Individual households mentioned being happy about:

  • the flourescent yellow crosswalk signpost markers and the new lighted sidewalk:  "They really make people notice!"
  • seeing Council thinking over and analyzing projects
  • having the speed control trailer sign visit their neighbourhood
  • Banff Avenue:  "It looks great!"
  • hybrid busses:  "What an improvement - no more black exhaust!"
  • improved snow-clearing in their neighbourhood
  • seniors' services, especially the bus:  "As seniors, we are very well-treated here in Banff'!"

Suggestions, ideas, issues and concerns included several mentions of Banff Live and several suggestions that Council should exercise tight control over spending, diminish debt and focus on core services and programs.  Two households mentioned a need for more downtown parking in the summer, and two households mentioned the proposed picture "icons" for the wayfinding project, and recommended that the Sulphur Mountain icon be the gondola rather than Sanson Peak.

Individual households mentioned:

  • a concern about community tidiness:  "dead cars and junk in the back alleys"
  • a suggestion for future town parties:  "Central park barbecue with local music"
  • a request to be notified when new town trees are planted in neighbourhoods:  "We'll take care of them if needed"
  • a concern about traffic and pedestrian behaviour in the downtown
  • a request for a traffic light at Banff and Marmot Cres:  "Let drivers know they're in town, off the highway, slow 'em down!"
  • a request for a concrete skate park
  • a suggestion for a ped-way over the railway tracks to provide safe access to the Rec Centre
  • a concern about the smell of the sewage treatment plant as it impacts golfers
  • a request for increased snow-clearing in residential neighbourhoods
  • a request for more paving updates
  • a concern about late night noise
  • a hope that the new car wash will open soon.

Monday will be full of housekeeping requirements, as it includes the anual organizational meeting of council and the annual general meeting of the Banff Housing Corporation.

Here are the highlights of what's coming to Council (you can see the whole package at this link  http://www.banff.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=1725 ):


The province has proposed to take over ambulance services and run them provincially.  On Monday, a representative of Banff Emergency Medical Services will come to council to talk about the implications of this transition.  So far, we know relatively little about how this would work, so I'm anxious to ask questions about the following:

  • I learned at the AUMA convention that this transition could mean that we would go from 30 dispatch centres in the province down to 9.   Naturally, I'm concerned that this may mean that people will be reaching a dispatcher who does not have a clear idea of our local geography.
  • I want to know about the funding for this new service model.  Would this be something that the province would fund from income tax?  or would it be more like the school tax model, where the province takes property taxes from local taxpayers, puts them into a province-wide pool, then redistributes the dollars as they see fit?
  • As well, I want to know about how much control we would have over quality of service.  As you know, we have a very high standard of service here, and that's essential because of the demands of our location and the activities that take place here.


These will come to council for approval on Monday.  At present, the draft includes:

  • housing
  • land use bylaw review
  • economic prosperity and sustainability (with input from various sources, build a long-term plan for the municipal government's role in this)
  • recreation centre (decide what is feasible and lay out an action plan)
  • environmental initiatives
  • citizen engagement
  • transit (in-town and regional)
  • parkade (re-examination of a parkade in a downtown location)
  • lands adjacent to the Town of Banff (look for ways to hjelp implement the LATB plan)
  • paid parking (re-examine)
  • alternative revenue


The Town can access $238,000 from the provincial program called Municipal Sustainability Housing and Capital Enhancement.  In my last update, I reported that the YW was asking the Town to apply for this money on their behalf.  At the time that I wrote that, I didn't realize that doing so would make it impossible to apply on behalf of the Banff Housing Corporation.  When the Y request came to Council, Council referred it to the Banff Housing Corp to find out whether they also had plans for this grant.  Not surprisingly, they did!

The proposal coming to council on Monday is that the bulk of the grant be directed to the BHC's next housing project, with $21,000 directed to the YW to assist with the debt from their affordable housing initiative.  This $21,000 is the portion of the grant that the province requires to be dedicated to accommodation for people earning less than the low-income threshold.  The Y's housing fits this requirement.


This is the meeting at which council appoints representatives to committees, and sets the council meeting schedule for the coming year.  I will be asking Council to consider an idea that I heard during door-knocking:  that we hold one meeting per quarter in the evening, to make it more convenient for people who work regular daytime jobs to attend.  I don't know whether there would actually be any interest in attending, but this would be one way to find out.


Council members act as the shareholders of the Banff Housing Corporation.  At this meeting, Council will appoint public members to the BHC board, and review the 2007 audited statements.

Over the past week, I've visited 65 more doors, finishing off Cave Avenue in crisp, cool fall weather.  The smell of woodsmoke fills the air, as Cave Avenue residents cozy up to their fireplaces!

What are people happy about?  The new look of Banff Avenue tops the list, followed by the recycling program.   The new hybrid busses, the proposed pedestrian bridge, and council's decision regarding the proposed bylaw amendment on Cave Avenue all received positive reactions, as well.

Individual households mentioned:

  • the library, and the fact that the town funds it generously
  • seeing council debate and weigh options
  • the plans for a new Rec Centre
  • the updating of our signage
  • the mayor (quote "I love our mayor!")
  • Banff Live ("a good idea")
  • the Town Page in the Crag 

What concerns, issues and suggestions came out?  Top concerns were Banff Live, coniferous trees obstructing sightlines at corners on Banff Avenue, and the level of spending. 

Individual households mentioned:

  • a request for more affordable housing
  • a request that we not build more housing on Cave
  • a suggestion for more special events, but run by Banff Lake-Louise Tourism
  • a hope for more day care or day home spaces, at a lower cost per child
  • a request to make recycling more convenient
  • a concern about street cleanliness in the early morning - bottles, etc.
  • a concern that we need more for young people to do other than go to bars
  • a suggestion of a late-night non-alcohol-focussed place to hang out after 11 pm - perhaps a late-night coffeehouse
  • a request to slow down construction projects, give everyone a breather
  • a suggestion that we install a railing between the sidewalk and the traffic on the bridge
  • a hope that the town will clarify its vision, and decide whether the municipal government's primary purpose is to provide a quality of life for residents, or a world-class visitor experience.
  • a concern about the bright blue colour of the recycling bins, and that they will look "ugly and obstrusive" in the residential neighbourhoods.
  • a request to "leave marketing to the marketers"
  • a request to synchronize/look at the timing of the traffic lights on Banff Avenue

Hello everyone:

I hope you're having an enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend!  I sure am - I meant to get this update out to you yesterday, but was overcome by a surfeit of turkey ...


These emails represent just my point of view; they do not represent the point of view of Town Council or of the Town of Banff.  I hope you will comment on or question anything I say that is unclear or that you disagree with.  I hope you’ll also check in with other members of council for their points of view.

You can get off this list at any time by just sending an email to lataylor@telusplanet.net and telling me that you’d like to unsubscribe.

Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you wish to.  If they’d like to sign up for the list, they can just send me an email and I’ll add them on.


The long-awaited summary report on Banff Live 

I know from my door-knocking that Banff Live is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of you.  To read the full report, just go to:


and scroll to page 11 (or jump to bookmark 5.1)

Here are a few highlights from the report:

  • copies of most of the print news coverage and letters to the editor, lists of broadcast and online coverage, copies of emails and letters received by the town, bullet-point feedback from the sponsors, bullet-point feedback from business owners, and the results of a survey conducted by the Small Business Association
  • a history of how the event was developed and promoted
  • staff's estimate of the dollar value of the media coverage:  $164, 984
  • lists the things the town would do differently for "a future event"
  • lists what the town did well in implementing the event
  • originally the event was expected to cost Banff taxpayers $67,500 (cash investment only), it eventually cost Banff taxpayers $121,700.
  • above and beyond the money, 516 staff hours and 1045 volunteer hours were invested in organizing and implementing the event.  Beer garden volunteers received an honorarium - between $50 and $150.

I will be asking quite a few questions, including:

  • clarifying whether we received national radio and TV coverage
  • asking whether the print coverage we achieved for Banff Refreshing could have been generated without doing the event -- it appears that the stories concentrate on the great new look of Banff, not on the concert
  • asking whether we have any "lessons learned" around mandate -- in other words, if an event is primarily aimed at the visitors, in future will it be presented by the Town or by Banff-Lake Louise Tourism?

Abbeyfield House purchase

More housekeeping work will be done tomorrow to help the Bow Valley Regional Housing purchase the Abbeyfield House building and add it to their seniors' housing portfolio.  Specifically, Council will be looking at passing two bylaws which let us borrow $150,000 for five years and then lend it to the Housing authority.  This is being done because municipalities get a more favourable interest rate.  All the municipalities served by the Bow Valley Regional Housing are being asked to make this contribution to the effort.

Wolf and Lynx Intersection Realignment

A brief report updates council on the status of this project.  It's expected to go ahead in the spring of 2009.  You can see the full report by clicking on http://www.banff.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=1714  and scrolling down to page 125 (or jumping to bookmark 8.2)


Council will be reviewing, amending, and approving the 2009 operating and capital budgets at a series of meetings, presently scheduled from November 3 through to December 3.  Any member of the public is welcome to sit in on any of these meetings to observe the discussion.  I'll keep you informed about how to find draft budget documents, and the dates of the meetings as they approach.

Moving right along, I visited approximately 55 doors this week.  What did people have to say on Glen Avenue, in Riverview Court, and at the downtown end of Cave Avenue?

First, here are the top items that people are happy about:  the new look of Banff Avenue, the recycling efforts, and the courteous and helpful reactions they get when they deal with Town staff.

Individual households mentioned liking:

  • everything!
  • the planned pedestrian bridge
  • the new Fox/Banff lighted crosswalk
  • the paving of Glen Avenue
  • the wayfinding plans
  • the Town's efforts on housing
  • the new posters that have been designed to publicize the fines for late night noise, vandalism, graffiti
  • Council meetings - "interesting and informative" (!)

The most frequently mentioned issue was traffic congestion on the bridge and on Banff Avenue, which came up in one form or another at several doors.  Several people also mentioned late night noise as a concern.  Issues, concerns and questions included:

  • a need for speed control on Cave
  • a need for controlling the speed of taxis on Glen, and the presence of taxis on Kootenay
  • a wish for more bylaw enforcement in general -- more "boots on the street"
  • a request to hold occasional Council meetings in the evening, to encourage public attendance
  • a request for the BHC to build more single family homes
  • suggestions to improve the existing traffic bridge:  a metal railing between sidewalk and traffic (to make the pedestrians feel safer), increasing support underneath so that traffic lanes can be increased
  • concerns about Banff Avenue:  sightlines related to the clump of conifers at Banff/Buffalo in front of the Beaujolais (this came up at two doors), the mid-block crosswalks (at four doors), timing of lights, use or lack of use of advanced arrows, the median in front of the Legion
  • a request to stop doing construction for a year and give everyone a breather.
  • a concern about driftwood piled up against the piers of the bridge
  • a request to be more careful with spending
  • a concern that Banff Live sent the wrong message, that we don't want to brand ourselves as a "party town", that the money could have been used to finish off the median in front of the Legion.
  • three requests not to go ahead with the pedestrian bridge project in the proposed location
  • a concern about busses idling near residences
  • a request for more downtown parking

Here's the word from the doorsteps of Glen Crescent ...

What do people like?  Several households mentioned the new look of Banff Avenue.  Individual households mentioned:

  • fixing the infrastructure downtown
  • the planned realignment of the intersection at Wolf and Lynx
  • the new wayfinding plan
  • keeping the town clean and tidy
  • the work to improve walking and riding for people at a variety of fitness levels
  • the skateboard park

What were people concerned about?  Three households mentioned the need to keep a handle on spending and keep the town staffing establishment lean and efficient.  Individual households mentioned the following:

  • the need for a vision -- what is the town about?
  • a request to not duplicate the work of the tourism bureau
  • a request to see the elected representatives quoted more often as the spokespersons of the town
  • a request for a downtown parkade
  • a suggestion to repurpose the horse carriage parking on Banff Avenue in the wintertime, and use the space at that time for a handicapped stall
  • a request for advance communication about upcoming decisions, to allow townspeople time to comment, coupled with a suggestion that this might diminish the need for consultants

After being away at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association annual conference in Edmonton, I was back pounding the pavement on Monday evening.  Here's what I heard at the doors:

What do people in last night's group like?  A few households like the look and feel of the new Banff Avenue, and they like what they've seen of the new wayfinding plan.

Individual households also mentioned being happy about:

  • the town's emphasis on reaching out to regional tourists
  • the success that town staff are having in accessing grants and funding from other levels of government
  • the trail system
  • the library
  • the extra housing now available at the YWCA
  • having more special events -- especially liked the Bike Fest
  • the lighted crosswalk at Fox
  • the new town buses

Individual households had the following concerns, ideas and issues:

  • a request to not go to a full pedestrian mall on Banff Avenue
  • a hope that we will look at alternatives to sand and gravel for winter roads, coupled with a concern that continued use of sand and gravel will abrade the new textured concrete surfaces on Banff Avenue
  • a concern about the effects on individual businesses of blocking patches of sidewalk, e.g. the effect of closing the east sidewalk on the bridge to do the repairs at one end.
  • a hope to see more happening on the new Rec Centre
  • a concern about the speed of taxis on Kootenay between Lougheed and Springs
  • a request to revisit the timing of traffic lights on Banff Avenue, especially at the admin end of the bridge
  • a concern about the intersection of Glen Avenue with the road down to Bow Falls:  lost drivers, U-turns, etc, and a suggestion that we put a planter in the intersection during the summer that could support stop sign/directional signage
  • a concern about speeding motorists on Glen Avenue
  • a suggestion that we bring back taxi stands on Banff Avenue
  • a request for an update on what's happening with the pedestrian bridge
  • a request for more parking downtown
  • a concern about Banff Live, coupled with a request to aim special events at the fall and spring
  • a request to be financially prudent, and pay as we go.

This is a quick "between councils" update, as there are a few items to let you know about that can't wait until next weekend.


My old friends at Mountain Culture are hosting a forum for the federal candidates.  This is your chance to talk TO the federal politicians, not just ABOUT them!  Remember, one of these people is going to be our MP in Ottawa.  So bring along your tough questions in the federal sphere:  national parks, environment, Afghanistan, agriculture, economics, climate change, child care funding, etc. etc.  Bob Sandford will be moderating, so you know the evening will be entertaining!

Wednesday, October 8, at 7:30 in the Margaret Greenham Theatre.


One of the questions I've been asked most frequently at the doors is "Will one of the new recycling set-ups be going in our neighbourhood?"  Well, now you can find out!  Click on this link: 

http://www.banff.ca/locals-residents/social-services-programs/recycling.htm  to read all about the new recycling program, including a lits of all the items that can go in each stream (more than you thought!).  Halfway down your screen, you'll see a link to a map:


which will show you the new "blue bin" locations. 


Councillor Chip Olver asked me to let people know about the opportunity to join an Ecoteam group right here in Banff, starting sometime in the next few weeks, and finishing in January.  This program is run by the Biosphere Institute.  Every couple of weeks, the group meets with a particular theme that relates to reducing your environmental footprint.  Then you carry out activities at home related to that theme, with equipment, etc. provided by the Biosphere Institute.  Chip participated in a pilot group and here's what she has to say about it:

"Sessions included transportation, garbage, energy use, consumerism, among others. 


I found the home energy analysis particularly interesting. I had a plug-in unit to attach to any appliance between the plug and the wall. I was able to move it from appliance to appliance to determine each appliance's specific energy use. There was also  a unit that hooked on the outside meter. I determined that my freezer used 20% of our home energy use.


I could turn appliances and lights on and off and watch the outside unit change to reflect how much drain things had.


It was also interesting to weigh-in on my garbage.


The EcoTeam did these things together as part of each weeks 'homework'.  I found the group discussions very worthwhile."

If you're interested in joining this group, please contact Bart Robinson:  bart@biosphereinstitute.org   Do not delay, as this program starts soon, and there is room for just four more participants!


I've done about 350 doors to date, so I have 600 to go in order to reach all the doors I did during the election -- more if I want to cover more of the town than I did last fall.  We'll see how the shoes hold out!  This is such a worthwhile exercise for me -- I really appreciate the warm and encouraging greetings I get at most doors, plus the thoughtful comments that people have about the work and future of the town.

You can track my progress and what people are saying by checking my blog:  www.lataylor.com/blog  and scrolling down.  I put up a blog entry each time I go door-knocking, so there are quite a few!