I've just been updating my website, thanks to the hard work of James Rout, who set it up so that I can change the text myself (thank you, James!!)

I hope you will take a look at my campaign platform for 2010 at http://www.lataylor.com/node/144 and that you'll let me know what you think!

New pictures will come soon, and I hope to keep updating my blog throughout the election campaign.

 

For questions, comments, or requests for proposals, I’m easy to reach at…

 

Phone/fax: 403-762-3926  Skype leslie.taylor.banff
 

Email: lataylor@telusplanet.net

 

Mail: Box 2275, Banff AB T1L 1C1

 

 

Congratulations to all the candidates in the 2010 election, and to my new colleagues on Council.  I'm leaving my election platform visible for future accountability.

 

2010 Election:  Why am I running for re-election?

In the past term, I have worked hard to bring ideas and issues to the table, to follow up on the promises I made in the 2007 campaign, and to communicate to residents about what is going on at council.  I'd like to continue that work on your behalf.  My key interests include:

  • Environmental leadership: I’d like us to embrace our growth limits and be a positive example of a town in a national park.
  • Financial fitness: I’m very concerned about imposing debt on future taxpayers, and want to help ensure that we build our capital reserves.
  • Quality of life for residents: To do a good job of hosting the world, residents need to be supported by top-notch municipal services.
  • Customer service and opportunities for public input: We need to ensure a range of opportunities for Banffites to access services and be engaged in Town of Banff decision-making.
  • Response to visitor needs:  Visitor surveys have identified some needs that only the town can supply.  Public washrooms, way-finding signs, and well-managed parking are examples. 
  • Long-term community resilience:  Peak oil and climate change control measures could change the nature of tourism.  How are we preparing for our long-term future?

Scroll down to find more details about each of these interest areas.  If you share these interests, I hope for your vote on October 18!

All the best - Leslie

What will I support?

No councillor can promise to deliver this program or that change.  If elected, I will be one of seven votes at the table.  But I can tell you what matters to me, and what I will support.

Environmental leadership

I’m proud of our place as a town within a national park. I think our limits to growth are a blessing, not a problem. I believe that our need-to-reside requirement helps to protect us from many of the pressures faced by other mountain communities.

We are and should continue to be a showcase for positive environmental practices. I will support:

  • improved environmental initiatives in the Land Use Bylaw
  • positive Town messaging about growth management and need to reside
  • building on our public transit success and continuing work on regional transit
  • recycling and waste diversion initiatives
  • urban forest management, and searching for funding sources to support it
  • improvements to our sewage and stormwater systems
  • trail work and interpretive signage to link town visitors to park experience

Financial fitness

I believe that councillors should be keenly aware of where the money comes from, and where it goes.  I believe that the size and range of our programs must connect to our ability, as taxpayers, to pay for them.  I want to ensure that future residents are not financially burdened by the decisions we make today.  I will support:

  • building our capital reserves to meet our infrastructure needs
  • ensuring we can maintain the assets we have, before we enter into new projects
  • minimizing borrowing
  • continuing to work on alternative revenue ideas, such as resort municipality status

Quality of life for residents:

The first job of the Town of Banff is to provide services for residents.  Our residents host the world -- if we help to make your town a secure, pleasant and supportive place to live, we are helping you to be good hosts.

Customer service and opportunities for input:

I believe that it should be easy for you to access municipal services and information, and that you should have plenty of opportunities to have input into decision-making.  I will support:

  • opportunities for the public to serve on boards and committees
  • rapid and meaningful responses to residents' requests and inquiries
  • opportunities for input through on-line surveys, public meetings, and kiosk-in-the-neighbourhood initiatives
  • continuing and expanding the town's online services

I will continue to provide email updates and blog entries to help you stay in touch with what's going on at council.  If you're not on my email list and would like to be, just contact me through this site to let me know.

Response to visitor needs:

Through the Indexperience survey, we have learned that way-finding, public washrooms and access to parking are significant issues for our visitors.  These are municipal responsibilities, and I will support:

  • installation of the new way-finding signs
  • improved service hours for public washrooms, and more information on how to find them
  • improved signage and parking management practices to help our visitors find parking spots
  • public transit to take the pressure off parking

Long-term community resilience:

Recognizing that global factors such as climate change regulation, energy price and availablity and economic changes have and will continue to have major effects on Banff, I believe we need to start thinking about how to increase our resilience as a community.  This could include discussion of how we could proactively prepare for changes in tourism, how we could reduce our dependency on the energy grid, and other long-term programs and projects.

What did I say in the 2007 campaign?

As you scroll down, you'll see my campaign information from 2007.  I believe that voters should hold politicians accountable for what they said when they were candidates, so I hope you'll read on and decide whether I supported what I said I would.

 

I’ve always continued my interest in the municipal government and town issues. Now that I’ve retired from The Banff Centre and gone back into consulting, my time is more flexible, allowing me to consider politics once again – but definitely as a council candidate, not as a mayoral candidate. My key interests include:

  • Environmental planning and management of the town: I’d like us to embrace our growth limits and be a positive example of a town in a national park. More details
  • Financial management of the town: I’m very concerned about imposing debt on future taxpayers, and want to help ensure that we build our capital reserves and avoid borrowing. More details
  • Quality of life for residents: To do a good job of hosting the world, residents need to be supported by top-notch municipal services. More details
  • Community input into decision-making: We need to ensure a range of opportunities for Banffites to be engaged in Town of Banff decision-making.
    More details
In my years at The Banff Centre, I was privileged to meet and work with scientists and decision-makers from mountain areas around the world. It was an inspiring crash course in mountain community issues and solutions. I look forward to bringing what I’ve learned to the council table in Banff.

 

I hope to have your vote on October 15!

– Leslie Taylor

What will I support?

No councillor can promise to deliver this program or that change. If elected, I will be one vote out of seven. But I can tell you what matters to me, and what I will support.

Our environment:

I’m proud of our place as a town within a national park. I think our limits to growth are a blessing, not a problem. I believe that our need-to-reside requirement helps to protect us from many of the pressures faced by other mountain communities.

Our town can be a showcase for positive environmental practices. Here are a few ideas -- some of these programs are underway and can be expanded and improved:

  • Development regulations that are clear and consistently applied
  • Positive Town messaging about growth limits and need-to-reside
  • Reliable, convenient, low-cost public transit
  • Convenient and comprehensive recycling programs
  • Support and maintenance for a healthy in-town forest
  • State-of-the-art management of storm and sanitary wastewater
  • Noise abatement program
  • Dark skies program
  • Opportunities to link the park and the town: education programs, trail connections

Our financial fitness:

When Banff was incorporated, we set up a system in which we put away an increasing amount of money for capital reserves each year, to the point where the town could undertake substantial capital projects without borrowing. The over-riding policy at that time was to borrow only for projects that had a guaranteed revenue stream that could pay back into the capital reserves over the relatively short term.

I believe that most Banffites were proud of our status as a debt-free municipality, and I think they would still like to pursue a prudent financial regime, saving money each year through our capital reserves for the capital projects we need. That's the approach I would support.

All municipalities may have to borrow from time to time for essential or emergency items. But every time you borrow, you're making a decision that narrows the options for the townspeople of the future. If you allow more and more of your annual taxation to be swallowed up servicing debt, you have less money to provide the services that give the town's residents a good quality of life, and provide a quality experience for the town's visitors. A future council might be faced with a spike in interest rates and the need to cut services, all because of the borrowing decisions made in the past. For these reasons, borrowing decisions should be made with the greatest reluctance, and only in situations of dire necessity.

Quality of life for residents:

We are a service centre for the visitors to the national park, and so there are many agencies, organizations and businesses here whose primary focus is to ensure a quality experience for our visitors. Our municipal government is the only agency whose primary focus is to care for our residents. If we do a good job on that primary focus, we make this a better place for residents, and for our visitors, as well.

While I was at The Banff Centre, I was very struck by something that one of our guests (a councillor from Grindelwald, Switzerland) said. She was asked about how the council of Grindelwald engages in providing services for visitors. Her answer? They concentrate on providing quality services for their residents. According to her, their overall philosophy goes something like this: "If we keep the villagers happy, they will keep the visitors happy." Grindelwald, as you may know, has been a successful tourism destination for centuries.

I’d like to support high-quality and convenient services, in order to contribute to a positive quality of life for residents. Things like waste management, street-clearing and cleaning, sewage treatment, bylaw enforcement, the management of development, building inspection, recreation programming, the care of our municipal parks and urban vegetation -- all these and many other municipal services make a big difference in the day-to-day lives of residents, and help improve the visitor experience.

I believe that effective municipal services require clear direction and consistent evaluation by Council, with constant input from the community at large.

Opportunities for input:

Everyone is busy, and it’s hard to find the time to learn about Town activities and to provide input into Council decision-making. Providing a range of options can make it a bit easier. Here are a few ideas:

  • Meaningful committee structure with public members
  • Well-organized volunteer opportunities
  • Two-way email communication with prompt, meaningful responses
  • On-line and hard-copy questionnaires with balanced, thoughtfully designed questions
  • Open houses and public meetings
  • Continuing the Town’s excellent website efforts