Hello everyone:

It was great to see so many people at Connect 2013 the other day.  Thank you so much for coming out and having your say!  I loved the idea of having all sorts of information and input opportunities in one place at one time, and I hope that this will become an annual event.  I think the only improvement I could suggest would be to consider having a supervised “play and pizza” room for young kids to make it easier for parents to attend.


Council meets on Monday at 2 pm, and – as always – we would be delighted to see you there!  If you’re thinking that you might be running for council in the fall, it’s time to start attending a few meetings to get a feeling for the issues and the format.  If you’re not thinking about running, you’re still very welcome.  Remember, during every agenda there are two question periods in which people in the gallery can ask questions about the day’s agenda items.

You can see the whole agenda package for the meeting at this link:

Here are a few highlights:

Banff Ideas Bank

Kim Bater will be presenting the 50 best ideas from 2012.  You can see them starting on page 5 of the package – take a read, they’re inspiring!

Bylaw on Transferability of Commercial Development Allotments

As you know, we have a commercial growth cap here in Banff.  Every so often, a lottery is held to give potential developers a crack at some square footage that will allow them to do their development.  Right now, unused Commercial Development Allotments (CDAs) expire after five years, returning to the Town’s “kitty”.  Meanwhile, there are developers who have part of the square footage they need for their proposed building, but no way (other than the lottery) to acquire more.  The proposed bylaw would allow CDAs to be transferred from a developer who is not going to use them to one who will.  This bylaw is in front of council for First Reading.  Voting for First Reading does not mean that you support the bylaw, it simply gets the bylaw on the table for a public hearing (probably in late April) and further discussion.

You can see the report and the proposed bylaw starting on page 21 of the package.

Bylaw on Transferability of commercial gross floor area

The transfer of CDAs is a transfer of potential, un-built space.  This bylaw proposes transferability of previously built space.  So, for example, if commercial space is demolished, or if a building that was commercial is taken over for non-commercial purposes (a government office, let’s say), then this bylaw proposes that the commercial space represented by that building should be available for transfer to another site.  Just like the other, this bylaw is in front of council for First Reading.  Voting for First Reading does not mean that you support the bylaw, it simply gets the bylaw on the table for a public hearing and further discussion.

You can see the report and the proposed bylaw starting on page 27 of the package.

Closing retail doors in winter

This report (starting on page 37 of the package) asks Council to provide direction on the question of businesses leaving their doors open in the winter. Council gets comments from time to time about this environmentally unfriendly practice, and about how it affects our image as a town in a national park. The difficulty, of course, is that people who have worked in retail (I’ve asked quite a few now) agree that an open door brings noticeably more people in off the sidewalk. Weird, but true.  Another difficulty is that many retailers believe that the “air curtains” that they use at their doors result in an energy regime equal to having a closed door.  We’re having trouble understanding this, as it appears that the “air curtains” themselves must take up substantial energy to maintain.  However, it’s been difficult to ascertain the facts, until now.  This report proposes that we do an experiment with air curtains at our own public washrooms, where we have control over the doors and good, solid stats on energy use long-term.  You can see the report starting on page 37 of the package.

I’m not sure that I’m comfortable with this experiment.  After all, if what seems likely to be true actually is true, and air curtain plus open door still equals lots more energy use than closed door, then we will have used extra energy in order to prove that energy is being wasted.  And even if we have irrefutable proof at the end of our experiment, it’s not likely that that proof will lead to a massive wish for closed doors among the retail community.  I’m ready to listen to the discussion tomorrow, but I’m inclined to suggest that we should just go to work on what would be a reasonable temperature range for a closed-door bylaw.  However, the main difficulty would be the need for enforcement, as allowing a few businesses to flout the bylaw while everyone else complies would put them at a competitive advantage, and we would be creating an unfair situation.

Appointment of committee on council compensation

Ten kind-hearted, public-minded folks have stepped forward to volunteer for this committee, and council will be appointing five of them tomorrow.  Thank you so much to every person who volunteered!  You can see the report on page 39 of the package.


On Monday, we will be meeting with S.Sgt. Brunner of the Banff RCMP to learn about crime statistics and to discuss the policing plan and priorities for the coming year.  On Wednesday, I will be attending the first meeting of the Community Housing Strategy committee – a new committee to bring together some of the major players in housing in Banff, focus our efforts and look for duplications and gaps.

Best wishes until next time -- Leslie

Hello everyone:

The pussy-willows are out along the Vermilion Lakes Road!  Can the Canada geese be far behind?  I hope you have been able to get out and enjoy this beautiful weekend.


Several opportunities for public input are available right now.  You can see them all on this page:

... and here are the highlights:

Connect 2013

Just a reminder about this open house at the Rec Centre on March 14.  There will be lots of information and an opportunity to have your say on several major projects, including the Transportation Master Plan and Cave Avenue.  If you miss this, there will be online information and surveys available after March 14, but I think you’ll find the face-to-face opportunity more interesting and engaging.

Council compensation review committee

I see that the deadline for applying has been moved to March 20.  That often means that too few volunteers have come forward.  I hope that some of you will think about volunteering for this committee.  Council compensation will be one factor that will contribute to people’s decisions about whether to run next fall, and the committee is just a short-term commitment.  This is your chance to have direct input to this important discussion.

Economic prosperity

As you know, the town is working on an economic prosperity strategy.  Step 1 is to ensure that we have a definition of economic prosperity that is meaningful for everyone.  You can have input into this definition by going to the page I’ve linked above, and doing the online survey that shows at the bottom of that page.  I hope you will take the time – about 10 minutes – to fill this out!


Council’s meeting looks brief this week.  As always, you are very welcome to attend, and there will be two opportunities during the meeting to ask any questions related to the agenda.  You can see the whole package at this link:

There are two key items:

Voting on the formula business quota bylaw

This is the vote that was delayed from the February 25 meeting.  You’ll recall that I discussed it in my last council email update, so I won’t repeat all that here.  You can see the relevant material in the agenda package, starting on page 9.

Update on changes to the elections act

As you’ll recall, the municipal election will be held this October.  I do hope you’re considering running for council!  If you are, you’ll want to pay close attention to the briefing that starts on page 39 of the package.  Some examples of the changes include:
• Council terms change from three years to four years
• Candidates who haven’t provided their required financial disclosures from the last campaign will be barred from running in the next one
• Voters will have to have approved ID when they show up at the polls.  A driver’s licence with a Banff address on it will be a good thing to bring along. 


Bow Valley Regional Transit will have its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday afternoon, and a strategic planning meeting all day on Friday.  Banff and Canmore councils and the School Board will be meeting informally on Wednesday evening – we like to keep channels of communication open.  I’ll be interested to chat with School Board members about the suggestion to shrink the number of trustees.


As always, this post presents only my personal point of view.  It is not an official communication from the Town of Banff or its council.  I welcome your questions or comments!

All the best until next time -- Leslie