Hello everyone:

I must apologize off the top, as I’m having my knee fixed on Monday, and therefore will not be at council.  However, this council update will give you an idea of what’s coming up, and I will try to be back in action as soon as possible!


On Thursday afternoon (January 31) at 2 p.m., Council will be holding the public hearing for Bylaw 314 (Banff Land Use Bylaw Amendment – Land Use Bylaw Review Phase 2(b); Formula Business).  This is the bylaw amendment that would put a cap on the number of formula-based restaurants and retail outlets in Banff.  The public hearing is the opportunity for Council to hear input on the bylaw.  Voting on the bylaw will take place at a later date.

You can see the whole package for the public hearing at this link:

And you can see some FAQs about the bylaw at this link:

The package shows you who is scheduled to speak and who has provided written submissions so far.  You can speak at the public hearing by letting the municipal clerk know at the meeting that you wish to speak.  You can also hand in written submissions before the end of the hearing.  However, if you know you want to speak, or you know you want to hand in a written submission, consider providing your information to the municipal clerk sooner – it helps to simplify matters on the hearing day if she has things in advance.  You can reach the municipal clerk at municipal.clerk@banff.ca

The question of formula-based businesses has been a hot one in town for some years, with some people passionately supporting a quota, as is proposed in this bylaw, and others passionately opposed to this degree of intervention in the free market.  As is required by law, I’m going into this public hearing with an open mind, ready to hear every viewpoint and to consider what I’ve learned when this eventually comes to a vote at a later meeting.


I learn something new from other Banffites every day, and yesterday’s learning was thanks to an alert citizen letting me know about a town discount.  If you are 65 or over, and your name is on the title of the Banff home in which you live, you can apply for a seniors’ discount on your utility bill.  Ask at Town Hall front desk for an application! 

If you look verrrrry carefully, you can find a reference to this discount on this page of the Town’s website:


You can see the whole package for Monday’s council meeting at this link:

There are several sets of minutes for review, but only two reports requiring Council decisions.  These are about:

One-day business licensing

As you may remember, Council has been asked by out-of-town photographers to come up with a business licence fee that is aimed at their short-term type of work.  If they come to Banff once or twice a year to shoot weddings, they now have the choice of buying a monthly non-resident license for $280, or a yearly non-resident licence at $748.  The proposal before Council is to offer a daily option at $185.  So if you are an out-of-town photographer who shoots four or more weddings in Banff each year, the annual licence is your best option.  If you shoot many weddings, but just in July and August, two monthly licences might be your best bet, and so on.  The idea is that compliance might be increased if people had more choices, but staff questions whether that will actually be the case (and I think they are probably right, unless we are able to dedicate substantial enforcement time to this!).  You can read the full report, starting on page 42 of the package.

Snow and Ice Management

Starting on page 44 of the package, you can learn all about how snow and ice ploughing, shovelling and removal are managed in the town.  Council is being asked to consider several possible changes to the policy, including (among others):
• Simplifying the references to timing for different zones down to “within 24 hours”, “within 48 hours” and so on
• Noting the factors that lead to snow removal, such as narrowing of roads, visibility at intersections
• Making downtown alleys a high priority for clearing, because of their importance for deliveries and for pedestrian use
• Making school bus routes a high priority, regardless of location
• Doing a trial with a “washed rock” gravel product, to cut down on dust in the spring
This report includes the map of snow clearing priority zones.  Take a look to see how your block is prioritized on page 62 of the package.


As always, any opinions expressed in this post are mine alone.  This post is not an official communication of the Town of Banff or of its Council.  I welcome your comments and questions, and I’m always happy to have new folks join my email distribution list.  If you’re inundated with email and you want to be removed from the list, I will comply with regret but without whining.

All the best until next time -- Leslie

Hello everyone, and a belated Happy New Year!


2013 is a municipal election year – the election is on Monday, October 21.  Please give some thought to whether it might be time for YOU to offer your talent and energy in the service of your community.  Serving on council is incredibly time-consuming and it’s hard work, but it’s also an amazingly educational experience.  And local government is a place where you can actually make a difference, where you can propose something, bring it to council, and actually see it done, all within one term of office.  Please consider being a council candidate this fall!

If you’re considering running, I’m more than happy to take you out to coffee or lunch and to answer any questions you may have.


Parks Canada’s fee freeze ends this year, and they are asking for input on their proposed fee changes.  You can read all about it at this link:



It’s time again for one of my very favourite community events, the Jon Whyte Spelling Bee.  It’s fun and it’s free.  Gather five friends, sign up for your team of six, and challenge yourselves on spelling and trivia of all kinds!  Or just join the large and enthusiastic group of spectators at the Whyte Museum on the evening of January 22, and play along from the audience.  You can read about the Bee and find out how to enter at this link:



Council first regular meeting of 2013 begins at 2 pm Monday in Council Chambers at Town Hall.  As always, you are very welcome to attend.  There are two points in the agenda where anyone in the audience is welcome to ask questions about items on that agenda.  You can see the whole agenda package for Monday’s meeting at this link:

Here are a few highlights:

Council’s 2013 priorities and workplan:

You can see this item in every agenda package, but I’ll just highlight it, since we’re starting a new year.  Starting on page 2 of the package, you’ll see a report that shows what Council and staff will be working on this year, and predicts when you can expect these items to come to a council meeting.

Low- income residents and regional transportation:

For the past six years, the Town and the school board have worked together to provide low-income Banff residents with transportation to Canmore for medical appointments, to access government services, etc. This was done by letting people ride on the school buses on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Now that we have regional transit, the FCSS departments in Banff and Canmore are working with Roam to provide half-price trips ($3 one-way) for low-income residents.  You can read all about the service starting on page 16 of the package.

Community housing strategy:

Council is being asked to put together a new committee to prepare an overall community housing strategy for Banff.  There are many players involved in providing housing here, and this committee would work to ensure that everyone knows what everyone else is doing, and that we address both gaps and duplications.  You can see the draft terms of reference and the report, starting on page 29 of the package.


Also on Monday, starting at 2:45, Council is meeting as the Banff Housing Corporation shareholder.  There is only one item to look at – Council is being asked to approve a terms of reference for the relationship between the Shareholder and the BHC Board.  Because it is sometimes confusing for the public to figure out which body does what, it seemed like a good idea to get the Terms of Reference down in black and white, so that the document can be available on the website.


In this week’s Outlook, our transit general manager was quoted as saying that the new regional transit between Banff and Canmore was averaging 150 passengers per week.  What he actually said was 150 passengers per DAY.  The Outlook has acknowledged the error and will be printing a correction.  But the new system’s success is so important that I wanted to mention it here, as well.  Our biggest day so far was December 20, with over 230 riders.  Riding Roam to Canmore is a great experience – be sure to give it a try!


As always, this email reflects my personal point of view.  Any opinions expressed are mine alone.  This email is not an official communication from the Town of Banff or its Council.  I welcome new members for the email list, and I welcome your questions or comments.