Christopher Wong

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Lawyer

I have been a practicing lawyer for over nine years in both private practice and for the Government of Alberta. I am also a consultant for a number of businesses in the Legal/IT and Healthcare fields.

Vice-Chair – Town of Banff Development Appeal Board (DAB)

Director and Treasurer – Banff Canmore Community Foundation

Director – Banff Child Care Centre

Five years

We need a change. Our Town needs competent leaders with a proven track record and a commitment to the community. We no longer have the pleasure of expending time and resources on ambiguous “trials” that lead nowhere and changes that are superficial (or even detrimental). We need to move forward and deal with the major issues in a clear, definitive, sustainable and scientific way. I feel I can offer some perspective based on my own successes and experiences. On a personal level, I love living in Banff and I’m looking for new challenges in my career and new ways to get involved and give back to our community.

I hope to continue growing my network within the Town and I hope that if you don’t currently know of me, that our paths will cross in the future – either on Council or in one of my other capacities.

I am very committed to Banff and I am proud of the change I’ve been able to make in the 5 years that I’ve lived here. I am comfortable working on a team to tackle complex issues, as evidenced by my experience on local volunteer boards. I believe in “change management” – changes should be incremental and well researched, and I have put that into practice in my various roles. I am a lawyer who is comfortable reading legislative and policy documents, and I also enjoy doing that. My legal knowledge proved helpful during our recent Development Appeal Board hearings. I am committed to giving back, and have done so by helping our young adults through starting a scholarship fund. I believe in transparency and questioning the ‘status-quo’ – I call things like I see them and if something doesn’t feel right to me, I will make sure to bring it up. Finally, I am a long-term thinker who practices what I preach – I feel I have been very successful in my personal life by separating needs vs. wants and prioritizing slow, long-term sustainable growth over fulfilling short-term desires, such as replacing things that work with “new and shinier” versions.

My platform focuses on some key philosophies more so than details of specific issues, which could easily change over a 4-year term. One of my goals is to prioritize the quality of life for our committed local population. As a corollary of that, I support affordable housing with adequate living space and parking, prioritized for committed residents. If any type of pay-parking scheme were initiated, I would press for a resident parking-pass system to ensure our core population of residents and workers would not incur any out-of-pocket costs to park their vehicle. I believe in easing vehicular traffic flow by increasing parking availability (either a downtown parkade or collaboration on the railway intercept lot), optimizing our crosswalk and traffic light patterns, and increasing speed limits where necessary. I believe in encouraging cycling and transit but not to the detriment of cars/buses. I also believe in directing more resources to organizations like the library and senior’s centre. Another main issue I have is a lack of transparency between the Town, Council, and the public. For example, the Town routinely fails to notify the community of road closures. Council sessions are not recorded, but easily could be which would increase accountability.

Council and councillors should be made more available for public input. Past Council’s decisions in relation to the Deer Lane development and changing of the Land Use Bylaw also left a number of residents frustrated their opinions were not being heard, and I know I can do better.

Banff is a vibrant, growing community that has very unique political, legislative and legal challenges. While we live in a Town within the Province in Alberta, we are also situated in a National Park. This results in a dizzying assortment of legislation and policies (some potentially conflicting) from the Federal, Provincial and Municipal levels. There are a number of areas where elected officials simply have no discretion, such as a commercial development cap and a need to reside requirement that’s imposed at the Federal level.

Ultimately, as Banff’s population continues to expand, we will have to continue to liaise and negotiate with other levels of government to continue successful growth.

The best way to get in touch with me is by e-mail at: chris@votewong.com

I’ve also listed my platform and philosophy in much greater detail on my campaign webpage at: www.votewong.com.

You can also find me on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/votewong

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