Kananaskis Improvement District (KID) council’s annual organizational meeting set the year ahead in motion with the formation of two new anticipated committees.
A Tourism Canmore Kananaskis (TCK) committee within KID will form should the non-profit tourism board decide to include a KID councillor as part of a newly proposed board structure at its annual annual general meeting Nov. 7. The creation of a transit advisory committee is also in the works, but is dependent on an upcoming report from administration exploring public transit options between Highway 1 and the Galatea Creek to Lillian Lakes trailhead in Kananaskis Country.
Council agreed to create the committees with future planning in mind, but also with an emphasis on the word ‘anticipated’ as neither committee's future is secured or may be necessary.
“Let’s appoint them and if there’s no business to do, then the committees just get wound down,” said Coun. Darren Enns in KID’s Oct. 25 meeting.
Enns, who would sit on the proposed transit advisory committee along with Coun. Erum Afsar, brought forward the motion of exploring a three-year public transit pilot project to administration in September. Administration is expected to release its report with budget discussions, set to begin in late November.
Sitting on the proposed TCK committee would be Couns. Darren Robinson and Claude Faerden, one of whom would serve as the KID representative on the tourism non-profit's new board. The board is currently comprised of representatives from the hospitality industry and the Town of Canmore, as well as a legal advisor, activity provider, financial advisor and retail provider.
The new board would remove one seat from the Town of Canmore and include another hospitality industry representative and an Indigenous representative, with the addition of one seat for KID.
In an Oct. 11 presentation to council from TCK CEO Rachel Ludwig, Afsar and others expressed support for the new position and the opportunity to engage in regional tourism opportunities and conversations.
“I think you need a KID representative on your board,” said Afsar. “Speaking for myself and maybe for other councillors, I support that and I do hope that it goes through at your AGM in a few weeks.”
A priority of KID's 2022-2027 strategic plan is to enable local efforts to support and grow tourism-based businesses with agencies like TCK, Explore Kananaskis and Travel Alberta to support a healthy business sector.
The opportunity to potentially work together as partners toward a common goal would be a welcome one, said chair Melanie Gnyp.
"We're excited about the potential to have one of our councillors as a member," she said. "I think this is a really fantastic opportunity for both of us and it just feels right to me."
Other internal KID committee appointments included the reassignment of Afsar and Faerden to continue their work with the telecommunications committee; Gnyp’s reassignment to the Kananaskis Country Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee, with Robinson as an alternative; Gnyp’s reassignment to the budget and audit committee, joined by Robinson; Enns to the FireSmart committee, with Robinson as an alternative; Coun. Anita Szuster to Alberta Municipalities, with Afsar as an alternative; and Szuster to Bow Valley Regional Housing, with Enns as an alternative.
The appointments were delivered in consideration with some canvassing of council prior to the organizational meeting to best achieve input from councillors based on skill, experience, interest and availability, in addition to council debate at the meeting.
In the same meeting, Gnyp was reappointed to her position leading council with Faerden joining her as vice-chair.
Afsar thanked Gnyp on behalf of the rest of council for her dedication to the role and for putting her name forward as chair for another year.
“I was in that role prior to you and I know how hard it is and how much work it is, and you make it look effortless,” she said. “You keep us organized and on track in these meetings. … Appreciation from myself and others on council for your hard work.”
Council also voted to continue meeting on a bi-weekly schedule with regular meetings occurring on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, starting at 5:30 p.m.
While previously tested daytime meetings received similar attendance from the public as evening meetings, most seemed to prefer the latter, noted CAO Keiran Dowling.
Of the 23 meetings scheduled from Nov. 8 of this year to December 12, 2023, the majority will take place at the Kananaskis Emergency Services Centre. Others will occur at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge or will be virtual only. One meeting is scheduled to take place in Calgary, but the exact location has not been determined.
In-person council meetings are prioritized for the first and last quarters of the fiscal calendar, where considerable attention is placed on finalizing the municipal budgets and rate of taxation.
For all meetings, council will endeavor to provide an option to join virtually in an effort to provide easier access to a location that may otherwise be beyond a reasonable traveling distance.
“The hope is that with the timing, location and frequency considerations that we developed, there will be some continuity to help enhance public participation, with the virtual option also trying to foster some greater public participation,” said Dowling.
The November 2022 to December 2023 KID regular council meeting schedule will be updated on the KID website and communication of regular council meeting notices will be posted to the KID notice boards throughout the district.
Jessica Lee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Rocky Mountain Outlook