Happy spring, everyone!  The tulip greens are up two inches in the front flowerbeds.  I searched the high ground by Johnson Lake yesterday for prairie crocuses -- no luck there, but I did, to my utter amazement, see seventeen swans on Two-Jack Lake.  So I guess the calendar is right, and spring is on the way.


Karen Sorensen reminded me the other day that we are half-way through this term of council.  High time for a report card!  I have always felt that councillors (and all elected representatives) should be regularly reminded of what they promised at election time and, for that reason, I had my election pages archived.  You can see them here:


Before the next email update, I'll do a little self-assessment on how I think I'm doing.  But I'd love to hear from you as well!  Please take a look at the election page, and tell me what you think I'm doing well and where I should improve.  I value your feedback.


Two parallel streams of work are going on.

First, council, the BHC and others are working on how best to provide for the homeowners the future security that was promised in Council's motions of February 23.  The BHC directed a bunch of questions to the town's lawyer about different possible mechanisms, and has shared the response.  A local lawyer, volunteering his time to help a BHC homeowners' group, has proposed an alternative mechanism, and this has been sent to the town's lawyer for comment.  Once an idea has been found that seems workable to the various parties, it will need to be reviewed with everyone who needs to agree to it or will be affected by it.  Then we can implement it.

Second, a facilitator with substantial mediation experience has been hired to manage the working group process that will review the remaining recommendations and the many other good suggestions that have been made.  Many of you will remember Dave Gould, who worked here in town from the mid-70s until 1988.  Dave has already discussed possible process ideas with members of council, will be meeting with BHC homeowners on March 25, and will be working with a range of people to lay out a process that is workable for everyone.


Here are a few highlights:

Borrowing bylaw for the Recreation Centre renovation and addition of a second ice sheet:

Council will be asked to give second and third reading to a bylaw allowing for the borrowing of up to $15.6 million over a ten-year period to add to the $15.3 million in provincial and federal funding that is supporting this project.  This will provide for the renovation of the existing arena, the replacement of lobby/changeroom areas, the replacement of the curling sheets with 4 new curling sheets, and the addition of a second hockey-sized rink.

Administration is working hard on additional grants to support this project, in the hopes that we will not have to borrow as much as the full $15.6 million.  The intention is to pay back the loan over the next ten years with the money we expect to receive from the province's Municipal Sustainability Intitiative (MSI) fund. 

I support this borrowing, because I feel that the project is now a reasonable balance between saving what can be saved, replacing what needs to be replaced, and adding a rink that we know will be fully used.  I will be checking once again tomorrow for assurance that the MSI funding is going to continue, even though the economic climate has changed.  I will also ask for the references in the borrowing bylaw to be changed from "multiplex recreation facility" to "renovation and upgrading of recreation centre", because I want to be clear about the limits of the project we are voting for.

Land Use Bylaw review process:

The Land Use Bylaw controls aspects of the town that are very important to all of us:  density, building design, signage, bed and breakfasts, and so on.  The current bylaw has been in place for some years, and is due for review and - if n4ecessary - updating to meet the needs of the community.

This review will take place starting in April, and is designed to reach a conclusion before the next election in the fall of 2010.  There will be lots of opportunity for public input.  You can read about the proposed process by clicking on


and scrolling or bookmarking down to item 8.1 (page 60)

Lots of other items

To read minutes from the Banff Housing Corporation, the Library Board, the Public Art Committee,  to peruse a letter from an artist suggesting street vending in Banff, or to read any of the other items in the council package, just go to:


Hello everyone:

Well, it still feels like winter, but I was delighted to see pussywillows along the Cave & Basin Marsh loop today.  Although it's hard to tear yourselves away from the combination of long days, good snow and sunshine, here are a few items you might want to know about ...

Obstetrics closure at the hospital

The closure has gone ahead, and it seems to have changed from three months to indefinite.  Hats off to the community folks who are actively commenting and making their voices heard on this one.  The demonstration at the hospital on Saturday was polite, lively and well-attended, and I expect that we will be seeing lots of people at the council meeting tomorrow as well, as the hospital CAO will be there to discuss the closure with council.

I've attended the two demos at the hospital, and -- along with Councillor Karlos -- I also met with Dr. David Swann (leader of the Liberal opposition in the provincial legislature) when he came to Banff on Saturday to look into the situation.  Dr. Swann has been asking about this issue in the legislature.  You can see the government's response on YouTube ...


If you want to follow what's going on with this issue, and you're a Facebook user, you can join the Facebook group Bow Valley Residents Supporting Banff's Labour and Delivery Program. 

I hope that we can all work with the hospital to help them plan for re-staffing their present nursing shortage and re-opening the program.  Having babies born in Banff is an important part of the spirit of our community.

RCMP Community Advisory Committee

I know that many of you are interested in issues such as late night noise, and I hope that you may take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about what goes on, and to be part of finding solutions.  The Banff detachment is looking for volunteers to join a community advisory committee, to give them input on their priorities and to let them know the interests and concerns of the public.   If you're interested in serving on this committee, you can find out the details by chatting with Staff Sergeant Wayne Wiebe at 403-762-2228. 

It's great that they're reaching out to the community -- let's show them that we appreciate it by making sure they get the volunteers they need.  Please pass this info on to any of your friends who might be interested!


Here are some highlights from tomorrow's council agenda ...

Hospital delegation

As I mentioned, Cindy Mulherin of Mineral Springs will be coming to talk with council about the obstetrics closure.

Loan guarantee for Rocky Mountain Housing Co-op

Council will be asked to give second and third readings to a bylaw to continue providing a loan guarantee for the RMHCA -- these are the apartment-style buildings beside the Rec Grounds.

ROAM transit system changes

Council will be asked to approve some changes to the transit system - moving some stops, realigning some routes, and going to two routes year-round instead of two in the winter and three in the summer.  The intention is to provide a shorter interval between buses, and a longer service day.  You can see all the details by going to:


and scrolling down to page 38.

Water well #6

There's good news in the same package ...


... at page 59.  Because more Banffites and businesses have been conserving water, the town's demand for water has stabilized, rather than increasing as was predicted in the 2004 Water Master Plan.  As a result, it looks as though we won't need to go ahead with the proposed sixth water well, but have enough capacity in existing wells to meet our requirements.  And that's not just scraping by, either -- provincial requirements state that we must be able to meet our maximum daily demand (the amount of water drawn on the highest-use day of the year) even if our highest-producing well is out of service.  The engineers are telling us that we can do this now and for the next five years (given present trends), so we don't need an additional well.


As always, this post represents only my point of view, and does not purport to represent the official position of the Town of Banff or of the Banff Town Council.