Change has been the one constant in the community since my wife and I first came to the valley in 1975, and there is likely to be continued change well into the future. My preference has always been to be involved in helping to shape the change, rather than standing to the side and being discontent with events that swirl around me.
The challenge for our community has been, and continues to be, to find and maintain a balance between:
• A healthy environment for ourselves and the wildlife that share the valley – with functional wildlife corridors and great recreational opportunities;
• Social inclusivity - with housing, services, and facilities that we can afford;
• And a strong and diverse economy that is not entirely dependent on our tourism based economy, but offers opportunity across other sectors.
Of course, it is equally important that the Town maintains our currently healthy finances, as reflected within the annual independent Audit Reports - and directed in the Long Term Financial Strategy.
This past term of Council:
This Council has tackled some difficult issues that have plagued previous councils. We have made (at times) very difficult decisions that will benefit the broad majority of residents.
This includes initiatives in such things as:
Affordable housing for working families, with 97 units of controlled affordable units (rental and equity)
Increasing the inventory of market rental apartments, giving approvals that should provide 250 new market rentals
New Seniors housing - working with our partners in the Bow Valley to see 120 rooms of seniors housing to allow for full Aging in Place in the Bow Valley
Regional and local public transit
Protecting our community from future uncertainty caused through climate change by conducting in depth analyses of the steep creek hazards, and planning appropriate long term mitigation projects.
A new Municipal Development Plan (MDP), after 10 years of discussing the need
Human Use Management – moving forward on the difficult task of learning to coexist with other species in the valley, through the Human Use Management Review (2015) - taking a lead now on initiating a regional Round Table on coexistence.
Building a Community Arts Centre (artsPlace) - discussed for 30 years in Canmore
Establishing full financial accountability through a comprehensive Long Term Financial Strategy, and a recently approved Asset Management Strategy - approving a Debt Management Policy and the Asset Management Policy, and updating several older financial policies.
My priorities FOR the next term will be:
- Building a more comprehensive understanding amongst residents and visitors regarding coexistence within the landscape - shifting the culture through clear information, delineation, and possible enforcement initiatives.
- Developing practices that will make the established wildlife corridors and habitat patches function as intended, after 20 years of talking about that goal.
- Working with Council, our planners, landowners, wildlife management experts, business leaders, and the community to try to reach consensus on high level development planning that responds directly to the needs of our community.
- Working with the Chamber of Commerce and others to diversify our economy in ways that reduce our dependence on the visitor based economy. Develop a hub of excellence (campus) that attracts and sustains both research based activity and practical applications derived from these activities.
- Continuing to plan for and implement solutions that will relieve
the growing pressures on our street and parking infrastructure and address the congestion that is associated with a rapidly growing visitor population.
- Continuing to plan and implement solutions that will relieve the serious shortage of long-term rental accommodation.
- Working with our housing corporation and the private sector to plan and build housing that responds directly to the community need for better housing availability and affordability – across the spectrum of employment and income status.