Postings related to my campaign for Town Council.

Hello everyone:

I hope that you got a chance to see the two amazing community events yesterday! 

Huge kudos to the over 150 men who volunteered to walk around Central Park in high heels to raise money for YWCA programs to help women.  This was not just a super fundraiser, it was a fabulous community get-together -- well done, YW.  And the warden centennial ride down Banff Avenue ... well, I don't think I was the only one in the appreciative crowd with a major lump in my throat.  By the way, huge kudos to Bob Haney for still fitting into his 1972 uniform!

I happened to chat with two tourists who had chanced upon both events.  They felt they had had a chance to see the real heart of Banff, and they sure liked what they were seeing.


Just a reminder that Monday's council meeting is at 7 p.m.  If you have a question about an item on the agenda, or if you want to see what a council meeting is like (maybe you're thinking of running next year), here's an opportunity that doesn't require you to be away from work during the day.  Council is trying this evening meeting idea three times this year, to see if it is something the community would like us to continue.


You can see the council package by clicking on this link:

Water main and valve replacement

Council is being asked to create a new capital project to cover water main and valve replacement and repairs (report is on page 25 of the council package).  Repairs would take place at Squirrel and Lynx, Whiskey Creek, 300 block of Squirrel, 100 block of Cave and Marmot Street.  Valves would be replaced on Railway Street, Banff Ave 400 block, and Caribou Street (that work is already underway).  The idea is to take care of leaks and potential leaks, and cut down on the number of future emergency repairs.  The good news is that this can be funded from the money saved by not building a sixth well -- something we were able to postpone indefinitely because of people's and businesses' successful water conservation efforts. 

Two replacement garbage trucks

Council is being asked to move the money forward from a planned 2010 purchase to cover one of these trucks -- the other is already budgeted.  This seems to make sense, as $15,500 was spent on repairs in this year.  You can see the report on pge 27 of the package.

Banff Housing Corporation -- Peyto Place purchase

Council is being asked to confirm that we will guarantee a loan for the BHC while they purchase and resell 10 units in Peyto Place.  Since our last vote, I have been asked why I support a purchase that will not actually add new housing units.  While it's true that this purchase doesn't increase the number of housing units, it does increase the number of units available at bleow-market prices.  I agree that the ideal is to have units that are both new and below market, but our opportunities to do that are becoming fewer.  You can read the report on page 29 of the package.

Hello everyone:

What an amazing weekend this has been!  The weather was so fabulous, and it was fun to see all the WorldSkills groups in town.


Tomorrow is a light council meeting, with a Banff Housing Corporation shareholders' meeting to follow.

You will find the overall council package at this link:

Banff Community Foundation

The Foundation's Executive Director will be giving council an update on the activities of this important community organization.

Banff Sports Hall of Fame

Mark Starratt will talk to Council about the opportunities this organization sees in the upcoming Olympic year of 2010.

Urban Forest management plan

On page 27 of the council package, you'll see a report to council on the activities undertaken by the UFMP group this season.  Work in 2009 included specialist canopy pruning, removal of diseased or hazardous trees, and the planting, protecting and maintenance of approximately 150 trees and approximately 150 shrubs in 12 pods around town.

Olympic Torch relay celebration

Mayor Stutz has been working with a committee of enthusiastic folks on the celebrations that will take place as the Olympic torch is carried through Banff.  There are few details of programming, etc, to be made public at this time, but the report explains that the $40,000 budget of the event will come from federal and provincial grant programs, and from "residual funds from the Special Events corporation".  The report can be seen on page 30 of the council package.

Brochure release:  Walking through Banff's Nature

On page 33 of the council package is a brief report on this new brochure, which highlights the natural history of Banff.  7000 copies have been printed.

Banff Housing Corporation

You can see the BHC package at this link:

The big agenda item is a proposal for the BHC to acquire ten apartment-style condos in Peyto Place, and to include them in the BHC portfolio as home ownership, price-restricted units.  This would help the BHC towards balancing its portfolio of housing types, and allow them to offer some units that may appeal to a different type of homeowner than those in the previous developments. 

In order for this to go forward, the Town would have to guarantee the loan to the BHC, and would have to support the request to dedicate the 2007 and 2008 Affordable Housing Program provincial grant money to this project, rather than to one on Cave Avenue.


Next council meeting (September 14) is an evening meeting.  As you may remember, council decided to try three evening meetings this year, to try to make it easier for some members of the public who cannot attend council during the day.  If you want to know how a council meeting works (maybe you're thinking of running for council in 2010!), this is your opportunity.

Hi everyone:

I hope you took the opportunity to enjoy Doors Open Banff today.  I was being a tour guide in a beautiful heritage home, and got to show 129 interested folks around.  It was great -- what a super chance to enjoy Banff's history!

HAVE YOUR SAY re the Park Management Plan

It turns out that the chance for input to the Banff National Park Management Plan is still available.  It's a bit of a hassle to master the input website, but there are many interesting background information sheets available on the Park website:  as well as information on how to get signed in so that you can comment.


You can see the overall council package by clicking on this link:

Quarterly update on staff work

Every meeting, there is an update on what is happening on council's key priorities, but once a quarter, there is also an update on the more extensive list of initiatives that staff are working on.  This is one of those times -- you can see the update by clicking on the package link and scrolling to page 11.  This will let you know which projects are moving ahead and which have stalled, and give you a sense of what work will be done in the next few months.

Pedestrian Bridge

The pedestrian bridge proposal is coming back to council for two reasons:  construction prices have dropped somewhat, and administration hopes to acquire a grant of $850,000 to support the project.  Council is being asked to award the tender for construction in the amount of 2.55 million, contingent on receiving the grant.  This includes the design money ($425K) which has already been spent.

 In this scenario, the remaining money required would come from the following sources:

  • $174K from donations
  • $850K from the Recreational Infrastructure Canada grant program
  • $900K borrowed dollars (this borrowing bylaw has already been passed by Council)

This bridge would definitely provide a good link between downtown, the rec grounds and Cave Avenue.  However, I continue to believe that it is in the wrong location to accomplish the larger objective of encouraging pedestrian and bike travel from the south side of the bridge.  The majority of people will hit the present bridge before arriving at the new bridge -- it is not human nature to bypass the existing crossing and go a few hundred yards out of your way to cross by the new one.

I am also very concerned about the amount of encroachment into Central Park.  The park has already suffered a lot in the last few years, with the massive loss of trees, and now the approach to the bridge will cut almost a third of the way into the park, and a trail will diagonally cross the park to reach the bridge.  The bridge approaches will substantially impact the riverside trail.  You can see the proposed layout be going to this link:

and scrolling to page 55.

For the above reasons, unless I learn something earth-shattering tomorrow in the meeting, I do not expect to support this recommendation.

Second quarter financial results and forecast to the end of 2009

Starting on page 58, the package includes results to June 30, and expectations for the remainder of the year.  The present information is a forecasted surplus of $123K.  This surplus will help rebuild the town's budget stabilization fund, decimated by last year's results.

I have many questions to ask about the details of the forecast and results.  It's important to remember that a lot of our activity takes place in July and August, so 3rd quarter results will be more accurate in predicting year-end.


Council will also be meeting as BHC shareholders to review the reports provided by administration on "equity creep" and administrative fees.  You can see the package for this meeting at this link:

Hello everyone:


A couple of people asked me about this, so I'll take this opportunity to (I hope) clarify ...

Some of you may have noticed the letter in the paper regarding my comments about the proposed lane marking with "sharrows" (a new kind of traffic symbol with a bike silhouette plus two chevrons).  I was quoted as/criticized for saying something like "I'm concerned about anything that requires us to educate people".   That does make it sound like I'm opposed to educating people, which must have been a bit of a puzzle to those of you who know me.

 Well, yes, I did say that ... and the rest of the sentence was something like:  "about brand-new traffic safety signs, because our population of drivers turns over every single day and our job of educating them will never be done".  I went on to recommend, therefore, that we install signs at the entries to town that show the symbol along with the words "share the road", so that drivers new to town will get some indication of what the symbol is supposed to mean.  Council then agreed to that idea as part of the new sharrow program, which I and every other member of council voted for.

I tried to get hold of the letter-writer to answer him directly, but unfortunately couldn't find him in the phone book or on Facebook.  So if any of you happen to know him, please pass this info along!


Here are some highlights of tomorrow's council agenda (you can see the full package at ):

Water conservation and energy efficiency

Council voted at the last meeting to extend the rebate program for water conservation and energy-saving to include various new possibilities for both residential and business properties.  We're being asked to look back at that list and add support of energy audits to the business list (it's already included for residential).  I think this is a great idea and will be supporting it.  You can see the report by clicking on the link above and scrolling down to page 30.

Busking and other street use items

Council is being asked to consolidate and update some bylaws about the use of streets and public spaces.  Most of the updates centre around the busking permit process.  These come after a review by a committee that included reps from Parks Canada, the Small Business Association, and Banff-Lake Louise Tourism.  One of the great new innovations is that the town will soon be asked by Parks to regulate busking on Park-owned locations such as Banff Avenue Square.  This means that town regulations such as no amplifiers and no selling of merchandise will now apply there as well.  You can see the whole report by clicking on the link for the agenda package (above) and scrolling down to page 33.

Land Use Bylaw public input process

On page 70 of the package, you'll find a report summarizing the work that the planning staff have been doing on public input for phase 1 on the Land Use Bylaw review.  If you've visited with the planners when their tent came to your neighbourhood, you'll know that they have really been making an effort to make it easy for people to engage in this process.  Besides the tent stops, they've met with groups that have asked them to come, held an open house, provided the proposals on the website and given people a chance to comment online.  I think this is a great effort, and hope that you are all taking the chance to have your say.

Remember, you don't want to wait until a new building project starts up next to you -- that's too late.  You need to say up front what you want your neighbourhood and your town to look like, and the Land Use Bylaw is how we do that.

Banff Housing Corporation -- next steps for public process

Council will also meet as the shareholders of the BHC tomorrow, and you can see the package for that right here:

At the request of some homeowners, council postponed five "next steps" ideas and agreed to consider them at this meeting, to give people a chance to respond to them. 

The proposed next steps include:

  • confirming that the sublease agreement will not be changed:  I think this is premature, because council has promised to provide certainty on the price cap issue, and it is possible that a sublease amendment may turn out to be the best way to do this.
  • providing a "plain English" version of the key provisions of the sublease:  I'm very much in support of this, as discussions have shown that many people find the sublease difficult to understand.
  • structuring a working group to carry forward discussions:  I support this, but I'm open to various possible structures and members.

Happy solstice, everyone!

Here are the highlights of tomorrow's Council agenda.  (You can see the whole agenda package at  )


The towns of Banff and Canmore and the MD of Bighorn are working together to create a volunteer drivers program, to help seniors and the disabled get into Calgary for important medical appointments, etc.  The briefing to council (page 21 of the package) includes information on how this will be organized.


FCSS is trying out a new way for them to connect with the community:  taking to Town kiosk/tents out and setting them up in neighbourhoods, offering beverages and cookies, and chatting with people that come by.  This program is going to be piloted on Grizzly Street this week, and will be carried out in full in the fall.  You can see the full briefing on page 26 of the package.


You're probably familiar with the town's popular toilet rebate program.  On page 31 of the council package, you can read about a proposed revamping of the program to include rebates for more energy and water-saving devices (rain barrels, programmable thermostats, etc) and to introduce a part of the rebate program that will be open to commercial applicants.  The report also points out other rebates available from the feds and the provice -- just by reading it, I found out about a $100 rebate for my new energy-efficient washing machine -- so you'll want to check it out!


Council will also be holding a BHC shareholders' meeting on June 22, and you can see the agenda package for it here:

Council will be asked to vote on seven recommendations coming out of the discussions with the BHC homeowners on May 28.  These include confirming that the current sublease agreements are not changing, creating a "plain English" version of the main points of the sublease agreement, providing evidence that "equity creep" (a gradual increase in prices paid on the assumption that the community equity will be passed along) is taking place, providing information on administration fees and what costs they are used to offset, and recommendations for setting up a working group to deal with further discussions.