On this site, you can:

  • Find out about my consulting: as a facilitator, writer/editor and project/event manager.
  • Follow my blog, a series of diary entries describing my experiences and areas of interest and my previous work as a Banff town councillor.
  • Review a bio/resume page with my educational and work background.
  • Contact me with questions, comments or requests for proposals. 
Photo: Adele Frizzell -- Not Jane Doe Studios



Raised as an “army brat” in France, Germany, the USA and across Canada, Leslie graduated from the University of Guelph in 1973 with an honours BSc in fisheries and wildlife biology. She worked for fourteen years in provincial and national parks, capping her parks career as acting superintendent in Banff.

Leslie left Parks Canada in 1987 to pursue an interest in consulting work (facilitation, training and writing), and was elected as the first Mayor of Banff in the fall of 1989. She served two terms before choosing to return to consulting in 1995.

From 1998 to 2007, Leslie was associate director in the Mountain Culture division of The Banff Centre, heading up the mountain environment programs there. She retired from the Centre in February 2007, and now takes on a variety of contract work.  Leslie recently served two terms as a Banff town councillor, choosing not to run again in 2013.

Leslie has lived in Banff since 1981. She and her husband, Banff lawyer Gord Rathbone, have two grown children. They all enjoy hiking, skiing and travel. In early 2007, Leslie walked 850 kms from Chateauroux, France to Pamplona, Spain, following that up with 500 kms between Pamplona and Santiago de Compostela in March of 2010.




B.Sc.(Agr.), Honours Fisheries and Wildlife Biology, with distinction, University of Guelph, 1973. Kortright scholarship. Many additional short courses, including:

  • The Leadership Challenge
  • Advanced environmental conflict resolution
  • Systems project management


Councillor, Town of Banff, two terms, 2007 - 2013 .  Represented council on the Bow River Basin Council, the Bow Corridor Ecosystem Advisory Group, the Municipal Planning Commission, the Development Appeal Board, Banff Heritage Tourism Corporation, Banff Heritage Corporation, the Banff Housing Corporation, the Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission. the Community Housing Strategy Committee and the Banff Public Library Board, among other assignments.  Participated in and facilitated the 12-member consensus-based Banff Housing Corporation Mandate Review Working Group.

Mayor of Banff, two terms, 1989 to 1995. Responsible for the policy direction of planning and operations for a national park destination community with an annual budget of approximately $13 million. Chaired numerous committees and boards. Led the creation of the 1992 -1997 Land Use Bylaw. 


L.A. Taylor Consulting (Banff,1985 to present). Contract my services to clients in the energy, utility, tourism and public sectors, both individually and through associations with other firms.

  • Facilitate meetings and team-building, strategic planning and problem-solving sessions.
  • Design and present training seminars and workshops, primarily in the areas of management, presentation and communication skills.
  • Write or edit media releases, reports, plans, or funding applications.
  • Manage projects such as publications or events.
  • Prepare or coach presentations.



The Banff Centre, Mountain Culture (Banff, 1998 to 2007). Two positions: Associate Director, Operations (1998-2003), Associate Director, Mountain Environment (2003 to 2007).

  • managed finances, media relations, communications, marketing, legal and other centralized functions for a successful, entrepreneurial organization with an international profile. With two other senior managers, undertook strategic planning for this division.
  • created, planned, organized, presented and evaluated innovative programming on mountain environment issues, often in partnership with other organizations, attracting an international audience of mid-career scientists and senior decision-makers. Edited proceedings and other publications resulting from these events.
  • raised funds for these programs through foundations, government and corporations.
  • personally and through supervised staff, administered an annual grant program with applications for projects worldwide, an exhibition series, a speaker/seminar series, and a membership program.
  • secured and managed the North American node of an international online forum for sustainable development in mountain regions, served on the international board of the Forum.
  • represented the Banff Centre in the Mountain Partnership, an international UN/FAO-based partnership for mountain conservation and sustainable development.

Parks Canada (Various locations, 1977 to 1987). Held a range of positions starting as a seasonal interpreter and finishing as Acting Superintendent, Banff National Park.

  • led and managed various functions in Banff National Park with a substantial operating and capital budget.
  • led the final stages of the 1988 Park Management Plan for Banff National Park.
  • managed engineering and interpretive staff in a high-profile capital project, under tight deadlines
  • researched, planned, wrote and implemented interpretive media (signs, brochures, exhibits, radio scripts)
  • designed and presented interpretive programs

 B.C. Provincial Parks Branch (various locations, 1973 to 1977).

  • supervised a staff of up to twenty in Mt. Robson Provincial Park, responsible for campground maintenance, interpretation, fee collection, etc.
  • carried out a research study of hiker and horse impacts and wrote up results for publication



Past member of:

  • Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Board of Governors (chaired two sub-committees)
  • Banff Mineral Springs Hospital Board
  • Banff National Park Health Unit Board
  • Interpretation Canada, Alberta Section, Executive
  • Transportation Advisory Committee, Town of Banff
  • Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies Board (Vice-president)
  • Banff Community High School, school council
  • The Mountain Forum Board (North American representative)
  • The International Mountain Partnership (Banff Centre representative)
  • The Banff Centre Leadership Development Advisory Group
  • Advisory Group -- Mt. Royal University, Institute for Environmental Sustainability
  • Banff Community Housing Strategy Committee (Chair)

Present member of:



Lead editor of the following proceedings:

Governance and Decision-making in Mountain Areas (2006)
Interdisciplinary Research and Management in Mountain Areas (2005)
Mountains as Water Towers (2004)
Sustainable Mountain Communities
Ecological and Earth Sciences in Mountain Areas (2003)
Human Use Management in Mountain Areas (2002)

Have published articles in popular periodicals (Canadian Family, Skyline, Banff Crag and Canyon).

In September 2006, with Bernadette McDonald, I accepted the King Albert Mountain Award. The King Albert Foundation conferred this award on the Mountain Culture division of The Banff Centre, and cited us personally for “dynamic and effective leadership for this outstanding mountain institution.”

References available upon request.


Project/event management




Why use a facilitator? Whether you're holding a strategic planning session for seven, or an annual general meeting for seven hundred, a skilled and experienced facilitator can make your meeting run more smoothly. You'll achieve increased meeting efficiency and effectiveness, and you'll promote positive participation.

You choose the types of services that you want: before, during and after the meeting. Working together, we can make sure that your meeting accomplishes your objectives.

Advance preparation: Meeting preparation saves meeting time! Before the meeting, we can work together to do one or all of the following:

  • Set meeting objectives
  • Design a workable agenda
  • Choose room layouts
  • Arrange necessary equipment
  • Design readable and timely information packages

Meeting process management: During the meeting, I manage process, making sure that everyone is heard and that ideas are summarized and recorded. This leaves your meeting participants free to engage in the issues at hand. By using a range of different discussion and problem-solving techniques, I ensure that creativity is stimulated and energy is high. Your meeting runs on topic and on time, and meeting time becomes productive time!

Post-meeting follow-up: Prompt post-meeting packages remind participants of their decisions and action plans - and help get those action items rolling!

Typical recent contracts:

  • Facilitating 60 government, industry and science participants from across western North America in a 2-day workshop to find solutions to an environmental issue.
  • Facilitating a government consultation with affected communities regarding the presentation of a controversial historic event (multiple meetings, 15 participants from across Canada)
  • Preparing for, facilitating and following up on a 2-day strategic planning session for the staff of an international ENGO (12 participants).
  • Preparing for, facilitating, and following up on a 3-day federal government/industry collaboration meeting for 50 people from across Canada.
  • Facilitating and preparing the report for a 1 ½ day public consultation meeting for a round table of 20 members and a public gallery of 30 people.
  • Planning for and facilitating two 50-participant meetings of a collaborative land-use planning process (landowners, developers, city personnel from multiple departments, consultants) for a new 50,000-resident community
  • Facilitating a monthly community engagement series for a small British Columbia community




You need a media release, a web page, a brochure text, a procedure, a grant application or a report, and you just can't find the time to get it written. Why not contract it out? You provide the background information on your objective, your message and your audience, and I do the rest. You get professional text, written clearly and accurately. Best of all, you get to cross that pesky task off your to-do list!

Perhaps you've already done your best on a piece of text, but it doesn't jump off the page the way you'd hoped. You're concerned that it's not clear, not organized, not energetic, not interesting. Let me ask you a few questions, then edit your text. Together, we can make it into a piece of writing that will accomplish your objectives.

Typical recent contracts and projects:

  • Editing media releases
  • Writing event descriptions for a major public event
  • Writing a grant application
  • Copy-editing a 48-page magazine


Project/event management


When special projects come along, sometimes it's hard to fit them into your regular workload. Perhaps you're organizing an event, launching a new product, or putting out a new publication. You need someone to lay out a workplan and budget for your approval, keep it moving, keep all the players informed and help you bring your project in on budget and on time.

Often, you can find that help within your organization. But when you need more project management experience than you have available, consider talking to me about your project. Let's see whether we can work together to make it a reality.

Typical recent contract:

  • Managing editor for a 175-page book

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Hello everyone:

 Here are a few updates about community goings-on, plus information about what's coming to Council tomorrow.   


Parks Canada Planning Forum

 Parks Canada is having their annual planning forum this year on October 29 and 30 at The Banff Centre (in the Laszlo Funtek building Room 224, starting at 9 am on October 29).  This is a big year, because the management plan review is in full swing, so the sessions should be very interesting.  The whole event is open to the public.  Even if you don’t have the time to participate in the whole thing, you can find out what’s going on by going to the superintendents’ “fireside chat”, which will be held from 7 - 8:30 pm, October 29 in the Great Room at the YW.  This popular planning forum event lets superintendents Kevin Van Tighem and Pam Veinotte give a brief run-down of the year’s activities, and then the fun begins — audience members ask whatever park-related question they want, and the superintendents answer.  These have been very lively discussions the past two years!  I hope that you’ll take the opportunity to sit in on this one.

Parks Canada special events advisory group

A few of you have expressed interest in Parks Canada's decision-making process about special events.  The group that makes recommendations to the superintendent about this is SEPAC, and their meetings are open to the public.  If you want to have input into Parks' decision about a particular special event, old or new, you can do it through the SEPAC meeting.  To get yourself on the SEPAC email list (so that you'll know when meetings are scheduled and what special events are being discussed), just email catherine.vaillancourt@pc.gc.ca and ask to be put on the list.

Post Office changes

If you want to express your feelings about the recent changes in layout and service levels at the Banff Post Office, here is the phone number for making such comments:  1-800-267-1177


Council met for a second time with a group of homeowners last week.  MS2 and Riverview Court homeowners are holding a meeting this week, at which I hope they may choose their five proposed representatives to the working group.  I'm looking forward to getting this group underway.


Monday's meeting is at 2 pm in Council Chambers at Town Hall.  As always, the public is welcome to attend, and there will be two opportunities during the meeting to ask questions about items on that day's agenda. 

You can see the whole council package from this link:


Because of the bulky Land Use Bylaw reports, the council agenda package is broken up into several links this time -- all of which can be accessed from the above page.

Highlights of the agenda include:

2010 Council priorities

Each year, council has a strategy session in the fall to talk about what we need to focus on in the coming year.  This results in a short draft document, which then comes to a public council meeting for approval.  You can see this year's draft starting on page 11 of the council package.

Council's new priorities for 2010 include commercial space allocation (figuring out how we deal with the small amount of remaining commercial development allotment), community & economic sustainability and prosperity (responding to findings from the Indexperience survey, consulting with the community on long-term plans for a prosperous and resilient community), citizen engagement (reporting on community plan indicators, doing more "neighbourhood tent" events) and environmental initiatives (especially maximizing recycling in the commercial sector).  Council has also asked for several of last year's projects and programs to continue to be regularly reported to council.  You can see details of all these in the draft document.

2010 Financial Plan

This draft plan is coming to council for final changes and approval.  You can see the meat of it starting on page 30 of the council package.  In just 10 pages of fairly simple prose, written in language suitable for the non-financial-expert-type person, it explains the assumptions behind how the town does its budgeting and financial management.  For those of you concerned about taxes (and who isn't?), this is a worthwhile read.

One assumption in the plan does concern me, and I will be bringing this concern up  at council tomorrow.  We are starting our draft budget with the assumption that the Alberta Consumer Price Index change will be zero in 2009 -- in other words, that prices will neither inflate nor deflate in this year.  My personal take on this, looking at the track record for the first three quarters, is that the change will actually be minus 1%, or perhaps even greater.    I will be asking how quickly we can respond in the budgeting process if it turns out that the proposed CPI assumptions in the plan are incorrect.

Why does CPI matter?  Because it is the Town's starting point for assumptions about tax increases and about salary changes for Town staff. 

First reading of some Land Use Bylaw amendments

As you'll recall, the town planners brought these to Council for first reading at the September 28th meeting.  Voting for first reading doesn’t suggest that Council is approving these amendments.  It just gets them onto the council agenda, so that a public hearing can be scheduled.  However, the planners had received several concerns from folks who wanted a chance to look at the proposals before first reading, so council agreed to postpone the first reading until tomorrow's meeting.

You can see all the reports and proposed amendments by going to the page shown above, then looking at the individual links.

I commented on the contents in my September 28 update email.  I hope you will take a look at the reports, and that you’ll get involved when the proposed changes come for second reading.

Update on the Fleet Shop

This report (starting on page 41 of the council package) states that the new building at the compound will be ready for full occupancy and operation by November 30.  It also describes the causes of the delay from the originally expected date in July.  Staff report a cost overrun of $110,000, and recommend funding that from cost under-runs on two other projects.

Bow Falls viewpoint and washrooms

A background report, for information only, is provided about proposed improvements at the Bow Falls parking lot area.  This project will come back to Council as part of the capital budget, at which time we'll see what it's possible to do there, given the money available.


Any opinions expressed in this post, and in all the others on this blog, are published only to let Banff voters know what I personally think about the issues.  These posts do not purport to represent the point of view of the Town of Banff or that of its council.

What a difference two weeks make!  That was one of the most abrupt descents into winter that I can recall, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming warmer stretch to finish those fall yardwork items that just did not get done in time.  Meanwhile, I hope you're all enjoying the Thanksgiving weekend cozied up with family and friends!


 Parks Canada is having their annual planning forum this year on October 29 and 30 at The Banff Centre.  This is a big year, because the management plan review is in full swing, so the sessions should be very interesting.  The whole event is open to the public.  Even if you don't have the time to participate in the whole thing, you can find out what's going on by going to the superintendents' "fireside chat", which will be held on the evening of October 29 in the Great Room at the YW.  This popular planning forum event lets superintendents Kevin Van Tighem and Pam Veinotte give a brief run-down of the year's activities, and then the fun begins -- audience members ask whatever park-related question they want, and the superintendents answer.  These have been very lively discussions the past two years!  I hope that you'll take the opportunity to sit in on this one.


I apologize!  Between taking a 10-day vacation in September and all the workload related to everything else that is going on, I haven't been able to complete my door-knocking around town this fall.  I will try hard to pick up the pace in the spring.  In the meantime, please remember (and let everyone else know, too!) that I'm happy to make time to discuss questions and issues with any Banffite -- just call or email if you need to chat!


This week's council meeting is on Tuesday, because of the Thanksgiving holiday.  You can see the entire package by clicking on this link:


 Highlights include:

Community Art Committee update

There's a report from this hard-working committee (starting on page 18 of the package)  to tell us about their activities from the past year and their plans for the future.  Don't miss the great photos of their new plaques (placed to identify each artwork), the work on the "Mountain Camp" piece near Safeway, and the winning image of our pink buffalo in Central Park, which was published by Municipal World in their book called Cultural Planning for Creative Communities. 

 Employee housing policy

Like other employers in town, the Town of Banff has some rental staff housing units, which are allocated according to this policy.  It's being brought to council for some proposed updates.  You can see the proposed policy starting on page 37 of the package.

As well, a brand-new program is being proposed to council -- one in which the Town would provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to employees who want to make a first-time home purchase in Banff.  The loans would be repayable if the employee leaves Town employment, or after 10 years, whichever comes first.  This is similar to the innovative program developed by Caribou Properties for their employees.

I like the idea of taking action to encourage our employees to live where they work, but I do have some concerns about this proposal.  It worries me when the Town uses taxpayers' dollars to offer a benefit to town employees that the original taxpayers may not be able to afford to offer to their own employees, and I want to explore that question with council and staff.  I also wonder about "double-dipping" -- would Town employees be able to use this program to buy a Banff Housing Corporation home, thus benefiting from two municipal programs in one home purchase?  Somehow that doesn't seem quite right to me, but I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.  And, of course, what happens if interest rates go up?

Construction impacts on Rec Centre operations

Keen users of the Rec Centre will want to read the report that starts on page 51.  It lets you know how the recreation staff are going to maximize availability while construction is going on.  Of course, use will be constrained by the project, but every effort is being made to give users as much open time/space as possible.

Banff Housing Corporation report

Council will also be meeting as the shareholders of the BHC, to receive the amended report on "equity creep".  You can see the whole package by following the link below.


Fans of the BHC will need no introduction to the concept of "equity creep" but, if it's new to you, the report provides a definition and background information.

From the information provided, it appears that "equity creep" is more of an occasional attempt by particular vendors to get a higher price for their units, or a potential future problem, rather than an overall current systemic trend that is already inflating the prices of Middle Springs II houses.  Over a five-year period, non-BHC condos in town increased in average price by a factor of 1.98, non-BHC residential went up by 1.67, and Middle Springs II average prices went up by 1.66.  The author of the report provides some reasons why these numbers need to be interpreted cautiously, however.