About John Borrowman
My wife Lynn & have been active members of the community since we first moved to the valley in 1975. We raised our three children in Canmore, have always loved this place, and are dedicated to doing what we can to foster a healthy and balanced community.
Although my time outside of the mayor’s job is limited, I continue to be an active business member of the community, owning the pottery studio ‘of Cabbages and Kings’ in the Elk Run district. The studio, which I first opened in 1991 in the downtown area, is now managed by my eldest daughter. Prior to opening Cabbages and Kings I shared studio space at Stonecrop Pottery on Main Street with several other artists and craftspeople. As well, I owned and operated The Avens Gallery on Main Street for 15 years, and The Quest Gallery on Banff Avenue for 5 years. Cumulatively, I operated my primary business in downtown Canmore for 35 years.
Prior to being elected in 2004, I volunteered on various Town committees - such as the Economic Development Committee and the Tourism Task Force, and as a parent volunteer with the Little League and the Jackrabbits programs. I also volunteered my time on the Board of two provincial associations – the Alberta Craft Council and Canadian Parents for French.
While serving as a Town Councillor from 2004-2007 and 2010-2012, and as the Mayor for the past 5 years, I sat on the following boards and committees:
- Canmore Community Housing Corporation, where I worked with the Board to plan and built 60 units of affordable housing (which is fully occupied), and more recently plan 49 units of affordable equity housing to be constructed this fall.
- Bow Valley Regional Housing Authority, helping to lay the groundwork to build a new wing for the Seniors’ Lodge in Canmore, with 62 units to be occupied in September, and another 60 units well into the planning phase. This 2 phased development will provide all level of care for seniors in the Bow Valley,
- Downtown Canmore BRZ – as a founding member of the BRZ, I was involved through Council to plan and deliver the major downtown enhancement project that revitalized Main Street and the downtown core in 2006-2007.
- Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission, where I helped lay the groundwork for the first inter-municipal Roam bus service between Canmore & Banff, and ultimately to initiate local transit within our community.
- Arts Centre Advisory Committee, where I championed the planning and construction of artsPlace as the first Town sponsored arts facility in Canmore.
- Canmore Business and Tourism, working with the Board to expand the involvement and influence of the Town of Canmore at regional and provincial levels, in order to have input to decision making that affects the Tourism industry in our community (which accounts for $350M in annual revenues locally.
I have also been a member of many standing committees and task forces, such as :
- Canmore Planning Commission, and the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, making difficult decisions on development issues, in the best interest of the community.
- Property Tax Taskforce, that for the first time put in place a property tax policy framework for the Town of Canmore. This policy has since informed many decisions of Council that collectively have resulted in a strong financial position for the Town – noted by an independent auditor to have amongst the healthiest financials of all the municipalities which his firm audits. As well, following on recommendations within the Taskforce report, Council and Administration has over the past term:
- After a two year process, approved the first Town of Canmore Long Term Financial Strategy
- Balanced the tax share between Residential and Non-Residential (Commercial) at a 65/35 split
- approved several new financial policies, and updated some older policies, such as:
- Tangible Capital Asset Policy
- Purchasing Policy
- Debt Management Policy
- Reserves Policy
- Investment Policy
- Asset Management Policy
- Budget Amendments Policy
- Purchasing Policy
- Emergency Management Committee, providing the perspective of elected officials into the recent revision and expansion of the Town’s Emergency Management Plan
As the Mayor I also sit on the boards of the :
- Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley, which a non-profit charitable society dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity of the Bow Valley for the well-being of the ecosystem and those who live here, through education, research and outreach. WildSmart is a program of the Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley, under which the Wildsmart committee operates a proactive conservation strategy that encourages efforts by communities to reduce negative human-wildlife interactions.
- Rocky Mountain Heritage Foundation, which is the organization that makes possible the existence of Quarry Lake Park, in partnership with the Town of Canmore. The park is jointly managed by the Foundation and the Town to preserve the area for the permanent enjoyment of our residents and visitors.
During this past term I had represented Council on the Board of the Calgary Regional Partnership, and was elected to the Executive Committee of that organization. I continue to sit on the Intermunicipal Committee that meets regularly with the MD of Bighorn. Recently I have volunteered to sit on an ad hoc Canmore Conservation Trust Fund steering committee - working through the Y2Y organization to explore various conservation opportunities for the Bow Valley.
Regionally, I have been working closely with Jasper Mayor Richard Ireland and Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen to advocate on behalf of our communities to the Government of Alberta, regarding our shared experience and requirements as tourism based communities.