council update, 27 June 2010

Hello, everyone:

I hope you're enjoying a pleasant weekend!  Just in case you have time to catch up on council news, here's what's going on ...


This group of Banff Housing Corp homeowners, members of the general public, and council representatives has been working hard since before Christmas to review and make recommendations on the operational changes proposed for the BHC.  At first, they met bi-weekly, then weekly, for three hours at a time.  The volunteers on this working group have put in a tremendous number of hours and a huge effort!  That's why I expect they'll be very happy folks on Tuesday night, June 29, when the group holds its last meeting.

Group recommendations will then be sent to the shareholders of the Council, who will then make them available to the public for review and comment before voting on them.  The vote will likely take place in September.

All the meetings of the BHC Working Group have been open to the public, and the one on Tuesday night (7 pm in Council Chambers) is no exception.  So do come and join us if you'd like to!  Or, if you know someone who has volunteered on this group, take the opportunity to thank them this week and congratulate them on the completion of this project.


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

Here are some of the highlights:

Mayor and Town Manager at Safeway July 6

As part of council's community engagement initiative, Mayor Stutz and town manager Robert Earl are taking a town tent and heading out to various busy locations in town to answer your questions and get your comments.  The next "town kiosk" will be on July 6 at Safeway.  I hope you will take this opportunity to chat with the mayor and town manager.

Wayfinding installation delayed again

As you can see on page 6 of the package, the installation of new signs was delayed by the bad weather in June.  Fair enough, but the update also says that we now plan to do no further work until September, even though all previous updates contemplated working through the summer.  I'll be asking why.

Water Services bylaw update

Starting on page 15 of the package, you can read the report and see the proposed new bylaw. 

The previous statement about not running water on any street or sidewalk has been replaced by a prohibition on environmentally inappropriate use of water, which you can see on pages 27 and 36 of the package.  This is great, because it specifically targets waste without affecting normal and appropriate use.

"Cross connections" are an important focus of this bylaw.  Without a functional backflow prevention device in place, it is possible for contaminated water from irrigation systems, boilers, etc. to be drawn into the main water system.  We all have a responsibility to ensure that this doesn't happen, and the bylaw -- especially on pages 24 and 25 -- talks about how such contamination can (and must) be prevented.

Inspections and education for larger buildings will be part of the annual fire inspection routine.  For smaller buildings, such as your home, next time you have the plumbers in for a repair or maintenance, you might consider also asking them to take a look at your backflow prevention device.

New budget format

To confirm with proper accounting practice as laid out by the Public Sector Accounting Board, the town is switching over financial formats.  On Monday, council will be asked to approve the 2010 budget (already approved in the old format) in the new format.  I am looking forward to getting an educational presentation on the new format from staff, because it's very different from what we're used to.  You can see the report starting on page 63 of our package.

A fourth Development Officer

Council is being asked to give a fourth member of the planning department the designation of "Development Officer" -- you can see the request starting on page 68 of the agenda package.  A Development Officer is the approving authority for projects that are permitted uses and meet various requirements.  For some time, the town had only one Development Officer, then two.  Very recently, a third was appointed.  I am baffled about why we now need four, given that our present year is the sixth busiest of the last seven in terms of numbers of development permits to date, and will be asking for some convincing evidence of need.


As always, this post represents my personal point of view, and does not purport to represent the point of view of the Town of Banff or its Council.  I welcome your questions or comments!