Council update, 13 January 2013

Hello everyone, and a belated Happy New Year!


2013 is a municipal election year – the election is on Monday, October 21.  Please give some thought to whether it might be time for YOU to offer your talent and energy in the service of your community.  Serving on council is incredibly time-consuming and it’s hard work, but it’s also an amazingly educational experience.  And local government is a place where you can actually make a difference, where you can propose something, bring it to council, and actually see it done, all within one term of office.  Please consider being a council candidate this fall!

If you’re considering running, I’m more than happy to take you out to coffee or lunch and to answer any questions you may have.


Parks Canada’s fee freeze ends this year, and they are asking for input on their proposed fee changes.  You can read all about it at this link:


It’s time again for one of my very favourite community events, the Jon Whyte Spelling Bee.  It’s fun and it’s free.  Gather five friends, sign up for your team of six, and challenge yourselves on spelling and trivia of all kinds!  Or just join the large and enthusiastic group of spectators at the Whyte Museum on the evening of January 22, and play along from the audience.  You can read about the Bee and find out how to enter at this link:


Council first regular meeting of 2013 begins at 2 pm Monday in Council Chambers at Town Hall.  As always, you are very welcome to attend.  There are two points in the agenda where anyone in the audience is welcome to ask questions about items on that agenda.  You can see the whole agenda package for Monday’s meeting at this link:

Here are a few highlights:

Council’s 2013 priorities and workplan:

You can see this item in every agenda package, but I’ll just highlight it, since we’re starting a new year.  Starting on page 2 of the package, you’ll see a report that shows what Council and staff will be working on this year, and predicts when you can expect these items to come to a council meeting.

Low- income residents and regional transportation:

For the past six years, the Town and the school board have worked together to provide low-income Banff residents with transportation to Canmore for medical appointments, to access government services, etc. This was done by letting people ride on the school buses on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Now that we have regional transit, the FCSS departments in Banff and Canmore are working with Roam to provide half-price trips ($3 one-way) for low-income residents.  You can read all about the service starting on page 16 of the package.

Community housing strategy:

Council is being asked to put together a new committee to prepare an overall community housing strategy for Banff.  There are many players involved in providing housing here, and this committee would work to ensure that everyone knows what everyone else is doing, and that we address both gaps and duplications.  You can see the draft terms of reference and the report, starting on page 29 of the package.


Also on Monday, starting at 2:45, Council is meeting as the Banff Housing Corporation shareholder.  There is only one item to look at – Council is being asked to approve a terms of reference for the relationship between the Shareholder and the BHC Board.  Because it is sometimes confusing for the public to figure out which body does what, it seemed like a good idea to get the Terms of Reference down in black and white, so that the document can be available on the website.


In this week’s Outlook, our transit general manager was quoted as saying that the new regional transit between Banff and Canmore was averaging 150 passengers per week.  What he actually said was 150 passengers per DAY.  The Outlook has acknowledged the error and will be printing a correction.  But the new system’s success is so important that I wanted to mention it here, as well.  Our biggest day so far was December 20, with over 230 riders.  Riding Roam to Canmore is a great experience – be sure to give it a try!


As always, this email reflects my personal point of view.  Any opinions expressed are mine alone.  This email is not an official communication from the Town of Banff or its Council.  I welcome new members for the email list, and I welcome your questions or comments.