Rob Murray: I know there’s a lot of discussions about mandatory masks right now. Banff has just passed their bylaw that goes into effect here this weekend. There’s going to be a special meeting next week for council where masks are going to be discussed, is that correct?

Canmore Mayor John Borrowman: Yeah, we’ve called a special meeting for Tuesday at 1:00 PM.

The first thing I have to say is that it’s quite disappointing the province abdicated from their responsibility of managing public health issues and pushing it down to municipal governments to manage. We don’t really have the resources and it’s not part of our general business operation to manage public health issues. Regardless, within our town there’s a lot of concern and we have to do everything we can to stop the spread and reduce the likelihood of another shutdown.

Tanya Foubert: For Canmore/Banff, we have the City of Calgary coming into our communities in numbers that have far surpassed our expectations.

JB: One of the primary challenges for us will be enforcement. We have very limited resources when it comes to enforcement of bylaws and we’ll be exploring the best ways to manage enforcement, either through individual compliance or perhaps through compliance at the business level. I really believe that the majority of people in Canmore and the majority of visitors recognize the importance of wearing masks. On the flip side, I’m very concerned that we don’t and make things so much more onerous for business owners. It’s not going to be an easy discussion on Tuesday.

RM: Typically with bylaws there’s a process that council has to go through. It sounds like there is a draft bylaw right now. Is there a potential that council could approve something on Tuesday?

JB: That’s my expectation, yes. I’ll be looking for three readings of the bylaw on Tuesday. Of course, that’s my perspective and with seven of us it always comes down to the vote. Certainly the counselors I’ve talked with for the most part are quite supportive of at least having the discussion. If we are going to take this step, there’s not much benefit in my mind to say, okay, we’re going to put in place masking bylaws, and they’ll kick off in September. It has to be now, or what’s the point? It’s more a matter of what’s it going to look like and what enforcement might look like. Those are the details that I’ll be focusing on.

There still is a public health order in effect requiring people to stay at least two metres apart. People have to be following these instructions. We’re still in a pandemic situation and everybody, our residents and our visitors, should be taking this quite seriously.

Filed under: Canmore, covid-19, masks, Mayor John Borrowman, Mountain Insider