Postings related to my campaign for Town Council.

It's been a very busy few days. 

Last weekend of the campaign

On Thursday night, the all-candidates forum was very successful, thanks to the sponsorship of the BLLHMA and the hard work of Darren Reeder, Eric Harvie and moderator David Bayne.  About 200-250 people attended.  If you weren't able to make it to the forum in person, you can read the Outlook's online coverage at this link:

It's a long link, so you may need to cut and paste it into your browser.

Friday morning, we met again at the high school for another forum, very well organized by social studies teacher Brad Skinner and the students.  It was great to hear the thoughtful and insightful questions from the students!  Friday afternoon, I did an interview for the Affecting You program of Park Radio.

And now it's the final weekend of door-knocking.  I had an interesting question today on Muskrat Street -- a resident was wondering whether your ballot is considered "spoiled" if you vote for fewer than the full six councillors.  My understanding is that you can vote for any number up to six.  However, with any questions like this that you may have, it's always a good idea to check when you're at the poll, as the people there are the experts.

The vote

And when will you be at the poll?  Anytime between 10 am and 8 pm on Monday, at Town Hall.

Remember to say thanks!

I hope that you'll take the opportunity over the next couple of weeks to thank the outgoing mayor and councillors, and all the candidates who put their names forward, whether they're elected or not.  These people have shown a lot of commitment to our community!

Vital chance for input

You've probably received the Town's Resident Satisfaction Survey in your mailbox by now.  This survey is extremely important.  It will give the new council a snapshot of what you feel is important, and how you feel the town programs and services are performing.  This will help council make decisions about their priorities for 2011 and beyond.  So please fill out that survey and turn it in!  If you'd prefer to do it on-line (which makes it easier for the town to collate, as well), you can do that at:

The deadline is October 31.

Council will be looking at the recommendations from the BHC working group over the next few weeks, and will be starting to vote on them on August 26.  There will be a public meeting on August 16 to receive input in person, and you can also provide written comments if that is easier for you.

You can read all about this process and see a copy of the recommendations at this link:

I hope you will take the opportunity to comment on these recommendations! 

Hello everyone:

 Hope you're enjoying this amazing summer weather!  I guess we appreciate it more when we've been a bit deprived.  Here are a few highlights of things going on at council and the Town of Banff.


In conjunction with some of the discussions of the Land Use Bylaw, you may have read or heard statements such as these:

  • “The impression of being in an authentic mountain not being achieved”

  • “Visitors cannot buy products which wouldn’t be available at home”
  • These statements come from summaries of the results of the Indexperience Survey, a major survey of how visitors rated various aspects of their experience in Banff and Banff National Park.  This survey was conducted in the summertime of 2008 and the winter of 2009.

    When I hear a survey being summarized, I'm always anxious to see the actual numbers behind the summary statements.  So let's take a look at these numbers, and you can decide for yourself whether the summary statements are justified.

    Authentic mountain community:  Visitors were asked to respond to the statement "In the Town of Banff you get the impression of being in an authentic mountain community".  In the summer survey, 20% of visitors (one in five) said that they either "totally disagreed" or "somewhat disagreed" with this statement.  80% of visitors (4 out of 5) either totally agreed, somewhat agreed, or were neutral on this statement.  In the winter survey, 15% of visitors (approximately one in seven) said that they either "totally disagreed" or "somewhat disagreed" with this statement.  The rest either totally agreed, somewhat agreed, or were neutral on this statement.

    So it would be fair to say that between 15% and 20% of visitors do not get the impression of being in an authentic mountain community, or that the impression of being in an authentic mountain community is not being achieved with 15-20% of the visitors.

    Originality of products:  Visitors were asked to respond to the statement: "In the Town of Banff, visitors can buy products they cannot find at home".  In the summer survey, 17.3% of visitors (approximately one in six) said that they either "totally disagreed" or "somewhat disagreed" with this statement.  82.7% of visitors (5 out of 6) either totally agreed, somewhat agreed, or were neutral on this statement.  In the winter survey, 16% of visitors (approximately one in six) said that they either "totally disagreed" or "somewhat disagreed" with this statement.  The rest either totally agreed, somewhat agreed, or were neutral on this statement.

    So it would be fair to say that between 16% and 17.3% of visitors felt that original/unique products were not available here, or that one out of every six visitors feels that original/unique products are not available here.

    Of course we always have lots of room to improve.  And of all the questions asked, these were a couple of our least positive responses, so we can hope to concentrate on improving them.  But, as we consider changes to our Land Use Bylaw, I do think it's important to understand the exact nature and scale of the visitor comments that we may be reacting to.

     You can see more of the summer survey numbers here:

    and more of the winter survey numbers here:

    And, of course, you can comment on the various ideas being proposed for Phase 2 of the Land Use Bylaw starting here:


    On Monday, council will meet as BHC shareholders to receive the recommendations from the BHC Working Group.  These recommendations cover everything from resale process to BHC board structure to communicating about policy changes.  You can see the full reports at this link:

    The reports recommend that we send the working group results out for people to look at, hold a public meeting for input, and then vote on the recommendations themselves sometime in September.


    You can see the full package here:

    A few highlights ...

    Subaru Triathlon banners?

    Council is being asked by the organizers of the Subaru Banff Triathlon to waive the $100/banner fee that our policy apparently dictates for "corporate" street banners.  My initial reaction is that I am uncomfortable with our street banners being used to provide multiple repetitions of a business name all up Banff Avenue, although I certainly understand the importance of sponsorship to event organizers.  I'm interested to hear the discussion at council -- and I'd love to hear your comments.  You can see the request letter and a picture of the proposed banner starting on page 9 of the package.

    Regional Transit Services Commission

    I'm delighted that Canmore and ID #9 have already voted to cooperate with us on applying to the Minister of Municipal Affairs for the creation of a regional transit commission for the Bow Valley.  Now it's coming to us for approval as well.  You can see the reports starting on page 30 of the package.  I will certainly be voting for this initiative -- I think that working with our regional partners and Parks Canada to provide transit is an important step toward a sustainable future.

    Municipal Election

    You can see a report starting on page 66 of the package, detailing plans for this fall's municipal election.  At present, advance polls are in the works for October 6 and October 13, followed by the election itself on October 18.  So you'll have three different opportunities to cast your vote, and I do hope that you will.  If you're thinking of running for election, and I do hope that you are, you can find out all you need to know at


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

    Hi everyone!

    Just a quick note to let you know that the Phase 2 proposals for the Land Use Bylaw are up on the Town’s website for your comment and input.  These are very much *proposals* at this stage – in spite of some of the news coverage you may have heard or read, these are *not* things the town has decided to do, they are ideas that are being put out there for us all to consider and discuss. Each proposal is explained in a brief web page, and then at the bottom there are one or two questions for you to answer if you wish to do so.  I strongly encourage you to take a look at the introduction to phase 2 here:

    and then work your way through the various ideas at your leisure. Why should you care?  Because the Land Use Bylaw determines what our town looks like in the future.  Buildings built next year under this bylaw will probably still be in place 50 years from now, and they will shape the look and feel of our town.  So, please, have your say! All the best - Leslie

    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!