Candidates in other communities don't have such entertaining street names to work with.  Look at that list -- you could write a whole Beatrix Potter book with that cast of characters.

Another crisp fall day, great for walking.  I had interesting conversations about debt, about rules for municipal grants, and about sidewalk replacement.  Along Marten, I met lots of cheerful young Aussies -- they can't vote, but they all tell me they're having a great time working and visiting inCanada.

Yesterday, I visited the rest of Marmot, Pika Place, then Cougar and most of Squirrel.  It was a great day, with piles of crisp yellow leaves to shuffle through and lots of people doing yard work.

I was actually geared up and walking out the door this afternoon when I decided that it was not a good idea.  Although I thought that I was early enough to miss dinnertime, I could also imagine some people having an early Thanksgiving dinner, or being busy in the kitchen, and being interrupted by the campaign knock on the door.  I knew people would be polite about it, but I didn't think they'd be pleased!  This squeezes the schedule somewhat, but I'll hit the trail again tomorrow.

In spite of the heavy snowfall warning this morning, it was a sunny and pleasant late afternoon when I went door-knocking in the Marmot/Porcupine area.  I'm so impressed with how many people have been able to keep their flowers going -- everything from gorgeous hanging pots of petunias to a spectacular bed of snapdragons.

Lots of interesting conversations, including one about making it easier for citizens to have input into decision-making. 

 The person I was chatting with mentioned how much she had enjoyed the first open house of the Community Plan process, but found it difficult to have other, similarly meaningful opportunities for input.  We talked about how busy everyone is, and how hard it is for the average citizen to follow all the activities of the various levels of government and stay informed. 

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I think the town of Banff is doing an amazing job on its website these days -- it has become a tremendous resource for interested citizens.  We can supplement that with a range of information and opportunities to get involved, so that people who like using paper, people who like to respond online, and people who enjoy face-to-face meetings all have a chance to get involved with the town in their preferred way.

A pleasant evening stroll along the second half of Cave gave me a chance to chat with a lot of people about the council campaign and the issues.  I'm really delighted at how many people are pleased to see a paperless campaign.

The second half of Cave is such a lovely example of what a Banff street can look like -- so many properties have been careful to keep their mature trees across the front of the lot, so that when you look along the street, you just see trees, and don't realize how many housing units there are tucked in behind.  Right now, with the mix of dark spruces and brightly coloured deciduous, it's absolutely gorgeous.

Someone asked me today:  What is the role of the Town of Banff municipal government in enhancing and maintaining a positive visitor experience? 

As I say on my website, and as we said long ago in the town’s mission statement, I believe that the primary focus of the municipal government of Banff should be service to residents.  That doesn’t mean that we should ignore the visitors’ needs – we are in existence because we are a visitor service centre for the Park.  It just means that there are so many agencies and businesses out there whose focus is serving the visitors, while the Town is the only agency which has, as its primary focus, the needs of the residents, and we need to remember that. 

To enhance and maintain a positive visitor experience, we should first provide the safe, clean, and convenient physical environment that is so basic to happy residents and happy tourists.  Plentiful and clean public washrooms, litter and dust-free streets, plentiful benches and green spaces, a town that is low in crime and has good emergency services, well-built and attractive buildings, clear view-lines to the surrounding mountains, good trail connections, safe and convenient transportation routes and public transit – these are very basic ingredients to a positive visitor experience.   

Visitors need and want to experience a beautiful natural environment.  By preserving our environment, replanting trees, managing our wastewater, recycling, respecting wildlife corridors and so on, we are enhancing and maintaining what the visitors are looking for. 

Visitors also need good information.  I helped to make the Tourism Bureau a reality, and I still think that it is a good thing to have a marketing and information body to help the visitors.  Therefore, I believe the Town should continue to support the Tourism Bureau, and should rely on the Tourism Bureau for direct services to visitors.   

What does the positive visitor experience look like?  

At its most basic level, it is safe, clean and convenient, as I mentioned above.  But to be really positive, to stand out from the crowd, I think you need two things:   

First, access to an environment and experiences that are special and different – we have that with our surrounding national park and the many experiences available in it, as well as with our cultural resources here in town.    Second, opportunities for positive contact with people – for example, knowledgeable and pleasant information staff, competent and courteous wait staff and retail staff, friendly and outgoing locals on the trails.  This is where providing excellent services to residents pays off, because it helps keep people in town long-term, so that they become knowledgeable, competent, experienced, and are ready to welcome the world. 

There are two things that happy tourists comment on over and over:  “the scenery and wildlife were so amazing” and “the people were so friendly”.  In my mind, these sum up the positive visitor experience.