Council update, 22 September 2012

Hello everyone:

What a glorious September we’re having – hope you’re taking full advantage of this wonderful weather!


Cave Avenue reconstruction

At Council’s last meeting, staff volunteered to put the plans for Cave Avenue up on the website, along with the opportunity for public comment.  This hasn’t happened yet, and a few people have asked me how to comment in the meantime.  You can either wait for the comment page to go up on the website, or you can email your comments to the town’s engineering department.  Here is their directory page:


You can see the full package for our Monday regular meeting at this link:

As usual, the meeting starts at 2 p.m. at Town Hall, and you’re very welcome to attend.  There are two opportunities in every meeting to ask questions related to the agenda for that meeting.

Here are some of the highlights from the agenda:

Library presentation

Our head librarian will be presenting information on the operation of the library – you can see the full report starting on page 4 of the package.  The library is showing 12% more visitation than this time last year and an increase in membership and – as always – their clients rate them highly on almost all counts (you can see verbatim comments in the report).  Patrons are concerned about a lack of evening hours, and I will be asking why the board distributes the open hours as they do.

Increase in the Town’s staff accommodation rental rates

Council is being asked to increase the rent paid by town staff in our staff accom by 4.43% in 2013.  The town’s staff housing is user-pay; it is not taxpayer-supported.  The proposed increase is to ensure that we are generating enough money to transfer to the staff housing capital reserve, for eventual major repairs and/or replacement of the staff housing units.

Parking and Housing policies

As part of our work on the Land Use Bylaw, some of the parking and housing decisions are being moved out of the bylaw and into policies, to make it easier to amend them from time to time.  (All Land Use Bylaw changes must be approved by the federal minister responsible for Parks Canada, so nimble changes to the LUB are not possible). 

I continue to be concerned about the low rate for parking and housing cash-in-lieu.  In case you haven’t encountered that term before, “cash-in-lieu” is money paid by developers in lieu of meeting their parking and housing requirements.  So, for example, if your development site is not appropriate for parking, then, instead of constructing your required parking, you can pay into the town’s parking reserve.  My problem is that our parking cash-in-lieu rate is $21,000 per stall, far less than it costs to actually create a parking stall.  Similarly, our housing cash-in-lieu is $21,000 per bedroom, far less than it actually costs to put an additional bedroom into the Banff housing market.  However, I debated these points at the first discussion of the policy with no success.

Of course, this under-payment problem is magnified when Planning recommends relaxation to the numbers of required parking stalls, so I am pleased to see that the proposed parking policy strongly discourages such relaxations.


Also on Monday, at 4:30, Council is meeting as the BHC shareholder.  You can see the agenda package at this link:

This meeting is not a decision-making meeting; it is an opportunity for public comment on proposed changes to user fees.  In particular, the BHC is proposing a change to the resale fee (which covers the cost of notifying potential buyers, showing the property, and preparing required documents for the Board) from a present flat fee of $2500 plus GST to a fee of 0.6% of the value of the property.  As part of this change, the BHC proposes to provide newspaper advertizing and website advertizing of properties for sale.

You’re very welcome to attend this meeting and have your say!


On Monday morning, Council meets with staff in a planning session to talk about priority focus areas for 2013. 

On Wednesday morning, I’m delighted to be participating in a tree-planting event at the elementary school.  This event celebrates the contribution of TD Green Streets to our Urban Forest management program.

On Friday morning, the BHC Board has its regular meeting.


I will be on vacation (Sicily!) from September 28 to October 20.  I hope that you will direct any questions or comments that you have during that time to another member of Council – you can find everyone’s contact information on this page:


As always, this post contains my personal opinions.  This post is not an official communication from the Town of Banff or its Council.  Please send me your questions or comments – I’m always happy to hear from you!

All the best until next time -- Leslie