Council update email from November 11, 2007

Hello, everyone:

First off, as always, a reminder that these emails are very much my personal point of view, and do not in any way pretend to be the official word of Council or the Town of Banff.

Also, if you would like to unsubscribe at any time, just send me an email and I'll take you off the list.



Many thanks to all of you who sent me comments and thoughts about a downtown parkade. This concept is not coming to council on the 13th after all, so I expect we'll see it at the council meeting on the 26th of November. I will make sure that I re-read all your thoughtful comments before I go into that meeting!



The town commissioned an environmental study to compare the environmental impacts of building a new multiplex on the Elkwoods site with the impacts of building or redeveloping on the existing site. This assessment is being presented to council at the Tuesday meeting, and you can read the executive summary by going to this link:

and flipping through to page 12.

The study says that staying on the existing site would be the preference from an environmental point of view. In brief, the reasons are that the new site would cause a major constriction in the wildlife corridor, destroy white spruce stands that are more than 300 years old (yes, I was surprised, too!), increase impervious land surface, and that the new site would not be a good location to use alternative technologies such as rooftop solar, because of the shade lines from Tunnel Mountain.



There's a letter in the council package about turning the 100 and 200 blocks of Banff Avenue into a pedestrian mall. Many of you know that this idea has been around for a long time, and interest in doing it has waxed and waned.

What do you think? My thoughts are below ...

I'm all for an occasional closure for special events. But, contrary to what you might expect -- I don't think I'm in support of a full closure, because of what the changed traffic pattern does to Buffalo and Beaver Streets. As I mentioned in my last update, Beaver Street is still a real residential street, even though it's just one block from our main street. When I went door-knocking on Beaver, the folks there told me that the traffic this summer has had a real impact on their quality of life. It would be a real shame to turn Beaver into a street that no one wanted to live on.

I'm really hoping that what we'll get with the downtown reconstruction in the 100 and 200 blocks is the advantages of a pedestrian space (wide sidewalks, plantings, benches) without wrecking Beaver Street as a residential and historic space. We'll see!



Council spent 2 days in meetings Oct 29 and 30, going over a long list of about 150 project ideas and issues, and coming up with a short-term list to concentrate on over the next few months. Staff members met for a further day, and listed the projects they feel should be undertaken in the short term. These two lists are being collated and summarized, and we should see them coming for approval to the November 26 meeting.

I was really pleased with the meetings, not because I agree with everyone or they with me, but because I think that people came well-prepared and were able to discuss areas of disagreement in a constructive way. I think this bodes well for the functioning of the new council.



The Community Art Committee is organizing a national juried competition to choose another piece of public art for installation next summer (2008). Personally, I've been really delighted with their choices so far, and I look forward to seeing what comes of this. Everyone in town will be invited to comment on the semi-finalist entries at the Homegrown Art Show in late March. Almost half the budget for this project is coming from a provincial CIP grant.

All the best until next time! -- Leslie