BANFF – Appointments of public members with ties to real estate and development to two municipal committees have been publicly challenged.
At the annual organization meeting Monday (Oct, 22), Councillor Peter Poole voted against the membership composition of the quasi-judicial development appeal board (DAB) and municipal planning commission (MPC).
Poole made it clear that his reservations were not about individuals on either committee, but about a broader issue of bringing in a diversity of voices in the community to these important committees.
“I think we have to work a little harder to solicit applications from members of the public who are interested in this type of board, but are not currently active in trading real estate or building developments,” he said, referring specifically to DAB with these comments.
“These individuals I admire. I am very glad we have strong people applying. I would just like to see a different composition for this type of quasi-judicial board.”
Nominated for a one-year term to the DAB are David Bayne, retired from the hospitality industry; Peter Eshenko, retired from a family-run pharmacy; Ray Horyn, a Realtor; Dak Kerr, a contractor; Doug Macnamara, management consultant; and Stavros Karlos, developer and businessman in the hospitality industry.
Mayor Karen Sorensen and Grant Canning also sit on DAB and Sheila Luey and Kendra Van Dyk are Parks Canada’s representatives.
On MPC is Adriana Calvo-Matos, a social media specialist; Richard Church, a contractor; Scott McElhone, who runs a retail business; Brian Smythe, owner of a retail store; and Amber Wanless who is in retail sales. Chip Olver and Corrie DiManno are the council representatives and Bryan Howie sits at the table for Park Canada.
Mayor Sorensen said her experience on DAB is that members are sensitive to declaring a conflict of interest as required. Councillor DiManno echoed those statements for MPC, also noting members get training on this issue.
“Not declaring conflict and then being suggested that you are in conflict, of course, can create a whole lot of other issues in terms of the hearing not being acceptable, etcetera,” said Sorensen. “I am very confident that the members elected understand that.”
Earlier in the meeting, Poole asked to remove long-time Councillor Chip Olver from MPC so he could take a seat at the table given his extensive experience in architecture and planning and his familiarity with the regulatory regime.
Poole said it’s no secret he’s pushed for councillors to argue publicly the merits of why they should be on a certain committees, particularly committees that are more technical such as MPC and DAB.
“I have great experience in doing work in development. I’m no longer doing that type of work, though,” he said.
“I think it’s worthwhile for councillors to speak to their technical abilities or interest in learning technical matters.”
Coun. Brian Standish said he wouldn’t support Poole’s nomination to MPC.
“This affects a councillor who’s not at this meeting,” he said. “To make a decision when she’s not here, I think is totally wrong.”
Councillor DiManno agreed.
“I believe that when you’re a councillor that is what makes you qualified to sit on these council committees,” she said. “I think that you represent the collective community and I am happy with the representatives.”
In addition, Poole nominated himself to sit at the table with the mayor on the intergovernmental liaison committee, a committee in which the mayor and town manager get together with Parks Canada officials six times a year – but that too got no support from his colleagues.
“This is a committee which in the past has not met in a transparent way. We have not presented the minutes of that meeting to the public through this council,” said Poole.
“I would like to see this committee is transparent as intended in my read of the Incorporation Agreement, and in order to provide such transparency, I would like to nominate myself to serve.”
Councillors appreciated Poole’s passion for the intergovernmental liaison committee, but Coun. DiManno said this issue was also brought up during review of council’s procedures bylaw.
“There was an opportunity to add minutes and representatives on this committee, and as a whole, we weren’t interested in that,” she said.
“I continue to hold that opinion. I think the mayor is our best representativs and I am happy with the way it is currently approached.”