Tuesday, May 11, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 19 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“I came back here to be free. I didn’t want to be treated like I was in Calgary and Lethbridge.”
- Craig Duncan  
- on the community   
standards bylaw   

 

Council tables community standards bylaw to consider input
 
Approximately 40 people attended a public hearing on the proposed new community standards bylaw on Tuesday, May 4 at the municipal office. In total, 17 people stood to speak in opposition to the bylaw, while seven stood to speak in its favour.
At the end of the night, council voted to table the bylaw to their next committee meeting, where they will take the public's input into account and make some adjustments before giving the document final reading.
Opposition to the bylaw was strongly voiced by several individuals, many upset about the prospect of themselves or others, such as the elderly and those on fixed incomes, being fined if they are unable to afford certain repairs to their property that the bylaw requires. Other concerns were expressed as well.
Jason Rossignal said that he didn't feel it's fair that people would need to have vehicles insured and registered just to park them on their own property. He added that he feels lots of people can't afford to do all the maintenance outlined in the bylaw, such as repainting their house, redoing their siding.
"Where are we living," he asked, "in Banff? My taxes keep going up, but my street ain't getting fixed."
Sasha Jaeger-Baird expressed anger at the idea that if she cannot afford to fix up her home, the municipality will do the work and charge it to her taxes, forcing her to pay money she doesn't have. "There's something wrong with this bylaw," she said.
"I will not pay the fine," said Peter Koci. "I'll go to jail. You can buy my house and I'll leave this dying place."
Craig Duncan told council that he couldn't believe some of the things in the bylaw, such as fining someone for faded paint. He said that council shouldn't be forcing people to make the Pass fit their image, but instead should work with people and encourage them to clean up.
"This is a ridiculous bylaw," said Duncan. "Some people are living paycheque to paycheque. I came back here to be free. I didn't want to be treated like I was in Calgary and Lethbridge. This used to be the freest place in the world."
He suggested that council should have gotten more public input, instead of trying to force the bylaw through as quickly as they could.
 
Teri Harrison said that she understood the purpose of the bylaw, but was opposed because she feels it forgets about the people and the community spirit in the Pass. She said that there are things that need to be fixed, but that the municipality should be looking at working with people to fix them as a community.
Others spoke in favour of the bylaw, though many acknowledged that there was room for improvement first.
Darryl Johnson said that council should clarify subjective terms in the bylaw, such as the word "significant", used in such clauses as "significant deterioration" or "significant peeling of paint". He went on to point out other areas that he felt council should clarify or adjust.
Shane Stewart, chairperson of the Crowsnest Advisory Committee, said he was in favour of the bylaw. He said that the bylaw was not intended to be mean spirited, but is meant to reinforce community pride in the beauty of the area and to put its best foot forward. He said that he believes enforcement will be reasonable, not draconian, but acknowledged that it could still be fine tuned.
Rick Breakenridge, president of the local Chamber of Commerce, also spoke in favour, saying that he supports its intent. He said that the majority of the community is already in compliance with the bylaw, and that its intent is to make sure the minority of non-compliant properties don't affect the majority.
He said that the community needs to take care of itself to attract investment and business. He said that he feels it's an insult to poorer people to say that they can't take pride in taking good care of their properties. "I'm totally in favour of this bylaw," he said. "Not literally, word for word for word, but in intent."
Local realtor Lowry Toombs said that as a realtor, he sees how the visual look of properties affects how visitors feel about the community. He said that there is an opportunity for the municipality to set policies for how enforcement would be carried out, to assure people that it wouldn't be to the strict level that they might be fearing.
Council will discuss the bylaw at its governance and priorities meeting on Tuesday, May 11.
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