Hello everyone!

Now that school is back in and we are all starting to think about fall plans, I hope that part of your thinking includes the October 21 municipal election.  It’s not far away!  So whether you’re thinking of running (and I hope you are!) or thinking of attending a forum and casting a well-informed vote, I hope you will mark these dates in your calendar right now:
• September 23 – nomination day
• October 15  -- Candidates’ forum, Banff Park Lodge
• October 21 – election day

So far, I have heard that the following have publicly announced their candidacy for the six council positions:  Grant Canning, Ted Christensen, Corrie DiManno, Stavros Karlos, Ken McMurdo, Chip Olver, Brian Standish.  Hats off to all of them for offering to serve the public, and to the others I know are considering this step!  So far, I have not heard of anyone planning to run against Mayor Karen Sorensen.


Council meets at 2 p.m. on Monday, September 9, and we’d love to see you there!  You can see the entire package for the meeting at the following link:

As always, there are two opportunities during the agenda for members of the public to ask questions about the meeting’s agenda items.

Here are some of the highlights:

Public Hearing on Railway Lands (CR zone) changes:

Council is being asked to delay the public hearing on this bylaw, as Parks Canada has expressed a wish to explore further some of the concerns they have.  You can see the letter from Parks, starting on page 2 of the package.  I understand the delay, but I’m sorry that I will not be at the council table by the time this comes back, as I take a keen interest in all Land Use Bylaw issues.

Notice of motion – employee housing as a distinct use in the Land Use Bylaw

At the last council meeting, I gave notice of the following motion:  “That council direct administration to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of a separate land use
category for employee residences, and bring a report to council with that information and a recommendation on whether this change should be made to the Land Use Bylaw.” This will be discussed and voted upon on Monday.  I believe it could help us write appropriate bylaw requirements for employee residences, without having the same requirements apply to other apartment buildings with very different types of residents.

Procedures Bylaw and Committee Appointment policy

Everyone who sat through the debate on these items at the last meeting was probably praying for lightning to strike the council chambers.  Yes, I know it was excruciatingly detailed and boring, but the rules on how council can (and can’t) do behave are important.  You can see the report starting on page 15 of the package.  Some of the amendments didn’t get picked up quite correctly, but a bit of tweaking should get us through third reading.

Retail doors open in winter

Following up on complaints received from residents and visitors, and after discussions with and letters from retailers, Council is looking at the bylaw amendment that would require retailers to have their doors closed when the temperature goes below minus 10 Celsius. This seems like a simple request, but anyone who has worked in retail knows that the open door makes a big difference in how many customers choose to walk in.  When you are selling items that may be a discretionary buy rather than a necessity, this factor is more important – for example, I note that pharmacies, grocery stores, and even restaurants rarely prop their doors open.  It appears from one of the letters we received that retail business owners would agree at minus 20 C, but not at higher temperatures.  I’d like to find a figure that people can agree on to get us started on this path – even the agreement that this practice is not always appropriate would be better than where we are now.  I’d love to get your feedback – should we regulate retail doors in winter?  Or is that an inappropriate interference with business?


Tuesday night, we have the final “fireside chat” for this term of council – an informal session at which we explore ideas and workload.  Wednesday at noon, I have the monthly board meeting of the Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission – can’t wait to hear how the extra hours on the Banff-Canmore run are working out!  Thursday at 1:30 p.m., the Community Housing Strategy committee meets to continue interviewing (via Skype) housing experts from other communities who have kindly agreed to share their expertise.


My apologies, but I will be away when the September 23 council meeting takes place.  In my absence, I know that all the other councillors would be happy to hear your input or answer your questions.  I’ll be back on duty with your next council update on the Thanksgiving weekend.


This is Issue 122 of my council update, with approximately one more to go.  (I might not be able to resist a few reminder emails during the election!)  Past issues can be seen as posts on my blog at www.lataylor.com/blog.  These updates reflect my personal observations and opinions, and do not purport to be official communications from the Town of Banff or its Council.  As always, I welcome your comments and questions. 

All the best until next time -- Leslie