I've now sent off my first ads to the Crag and the Outlook.  Huge, huge thank-yous to the folks who are helping out by sponsoring my ads!  I really appreciate your contributions -- and your willingness to put your names in the paper as supporting my campaign.

And, speaking of newspapers, I'm actually interested in quality services for residents, not "quality services for residence"!

A lot of people have been talking to me already about their concerns with some of the capital projects that the Town is considering.  As you probably know, I feel that we should undertake tax-supported debt only for essential items.  I also feel that we should think very carefully about alternative approaches before we consider adding new structures and facilities.  I hope you'll support that point of view on election day.

But even before the election, you can -- and should -- have your say on the Town's proposed capital projects by going to www.banff.ca and filling out the community satisfaction survey.  There's a whole section on capital projects such as the rec/community centre, the pedestrian bridge, another parkade, etc etc.  For each one, you get to say whether you "strongly approve", "approve", "disapprove", "strongly disapprove".

The survey is easy, even fun, to complete.  It will only take you 10 minutes!  And I know that the new council will be looking at the results with a great deal of interest as they plan for next year's budget and program.

The "chain store" issue is a heart and head issue.  From the heart: naturally, I'd like to have Banff be a place of small, unique, locally owned stores and restaurants.  From the head side of things, this is not so straightforward!  Here are just a few of the issues:

  • does the Town have the legal right to ban a class of owners rather than a class of uses? I know that we have been told that the town's lawyers say that it can be done. I find this surprising, so I'd like to see exactly what they said -- and I'd like to see what question they were asked.
  • Following on an excellent point made in council yesterday -- how do we define "chain store"? How did the lawyers define "chain store" during their deliberations? Are franchises the same thing as chains? The franchise operators are locals -- do we consider them a second class business because a nationally known logo is on their front door?
  • I've always been happy to have The Bay here in town, as a place to get clothes for the kids and practical household items. They're certainly part of a chain. What if they had been denied access to the town -- would locals be better off? Or would we be making more trips to Calgary?
  • the landlords are locals, too. Many of them have a lot of unfilled space. Are we going to tell them they cannot rent it to a perfectly legitimate business, maybe even one the town really needs, just because of the ownership of the proposed tenant?
  • why retail and restaurants, but not accommodations, gas stations, etc etc.?

In general, I think that it is advisable for the Town to regulate HOW business is done, rather than WHO does business.   In other words, concentrate on the size and design quality of buildings, the nature of signage, the requirements for parking and housing.   Regulating these things will discourage the Walmarts of the world.

Congratulations to Mayor John Stutz, who was acclaimed on nomination day.  This is great for John , and a tribute to his hard work in the past term.  It's also great for the 10 council candidates, because we'll collectively get more air time to discuss the issues than we would if there was a mayoral race going on. 

And congratulations to the 10 council candidates for making the decision to run.  This is a tremendous commitment of time and energy, and I think all these folks deserve our thanks for their interest in serving the community.   The official list will be available this afternoon on www.banff.ca

Lots of buzz at Town Hall this morning as candidates went in to hand in their nomination papers.  It was super to see the interest from the newspapers!  Everyone's anxious to know who the council candidates are, and whether Mayor Stutz has been acclaimed.