Jeff Mah is a candidate for Canmore City Council



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1. How long have you lived in Canmore? Where did you move here from?


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My wife and I were originally based in Calgary. In 2012, we purchased the Yoga Lounge, moved to Canmore and celebrated the birth of our first daughter – all within 6 weeks! Looking back, it’s hard to believe we’ve been almost here for 10 years.

2. What is your professional background and experience working with local government?

I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering (with a minor in Manufacturing). For the past two decades, I have worked as a dedicated entrepreneur and yoga teacher.

Several years ago, with the advent of Elevation Place, there was a significant conflict. At the end of the day, private fitness companies were being ousted. I spent many months working with the City of Canmore administration as well as Andrew Nickerson, Ron Remple and Hugh Simson to develop a set of guidelines that would allow both the EP and the private sector to be successful. . It was a difficult and passionate time, but we eventually came to a compromise that preserved the diversity within Canmore’s fitness offerings.

I have also spent the past 4 years working with Bow Valley Engage – a citizen action group dedicated to educating and encouraging the public to participate in key issues facing our city, such as elections and hearings. public for controversial development proposals.

3. Do you think the construction of the new intersection on Bow Valley Trails was a success? If yes, why? Some people in the community say that we are now having traffic problems because of this. How would you alleviate these concerns?


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I wouldn’t call the intersection successful. It has big intentions such as emphasizing safer rides for bikes and pedestrians, but there are design issues. For example, the placement of traffic lights should be across the intersection rather than directly above it. Not just for the ergonomics of the driver, but for the regularity of the traffic. I have seen dangerous situations where drivers are caught in the middle of the intersection without knowing what to do, resulting in speeding, confusion, etc. by the crossroads. There is certainly room for improvement.

4. A report from Canada’s Economic Development Strategy released in 2019 indicated that 30% of homes in Canmore are owned by non-permanent residents. This trend reinforces current perceptions about the problems associated with securing housing in Canmore. What is most important to Canmore right now: building more affordable housing or creating regulations that protect against the rising housing market to keep young families here to support the community? What do you think is the solution to the housing situation in Canmore?

Rather than choosing one technique over another, we will have to use all the tools at our disposal to resolve the housing situation in Canmore. Building more affordable housing is essential, but it takes time and land. Easing zoning for secondary suites could help – that way we are immediately working within our current footprint. When it comes to regulations, there is room to be creative – but we also need the help of the provincial and federal governments. Until the MGA (Municipal Government Act) of Alberta explicitly allows inclusive zoning, we have fewer tools. If affordable housing matters to you, be sure to put it forward in the next provincial election. Look at the platforms!


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Another part of the solution is compassion. While some homes sit empty for 50 weeks a year, I know of other second home owners who greatly contribute to our community. Let’s make sure we don’t fall into the trap of vilifying our neighbors with easy stereotypes.

5. We saw a lot of citizens getting more involved this year with the TSMV (Three Sisters Mountain Village) public hearing which lasted six days and had over 1,400 letters and 250 speakers. How do you plan to involve the inhabitants more in the decision-making process of our city?

As the Bow Valley Engage video presenter, I’m a HUGE fan of audience engagement. One of the most important elements of public engagement is to inspire citizens to participate. The old way of just putting an article in the newspaper or a flyer on the wall doesn’t work. There are several ways to get the message across, such as video etc. and we have to use them.

At a high level, I would push for another community vision process led by city council. Mining the Future was made in 2006, and a lot has changed in 15 years. It’s time to bring citizens of all walks of life to the table, come together and set a new course for Canmore’s future.

6. If elected, what three steps would you take to put Canmore on a stronger financial footing?

Until we achieve resort municipality status, we have to find ways for tourists to help subsidize our infrastructure. Much like Quarry Lake, it is not unreasonable to charge visitors for parking. When I visit Whistler as a tourist, I don’t consider these fees unreasonable if the experience is great.


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Regarding development, I want to focus on business development because it improves our tax base. We’re in our current conundrum because the vast majority of what has been built over the past 10 years is residential – which is a losing financial proposition over time.

For larger projects (like the intersection), I’d like to see more budget cuts and get it right the first time. For another example, the Legacy laces leading to the Nordic Center were ripped off to be remade a year later. It’s expensive.

7. The Three Sisters Mountain Village (TSMV) development proposal reflected a huge community divide and a response of deep concern. TSMV is now seeking judicial review of Canmore council’s decision to reject the Smith Creek area structure plan, if you were elected, and that decision was resubmitted to council, how would you vote and why?

To clarify, the biggest gap was actually between the community and the developer. Looking at public submissions, letters, etc., the vast majority of citizens rejected what TSMV was proposing. If TSMV came back to the table with another ASP, I would compare it to what’s best for Canmore. Ideally, our community’s needs would be clarified through a new visualization process and the developer followed these guidelines.

Personally, I believe that our wildlife corridors must remain functional and that development on mined lands puts Canmore in great financial danger. We also need to explore wildfire evacuation and ask if Stoney Nakoda’s wishes are fulfilled as we navigate the path of truth and reconciliation.


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8. What do you think of the transportation options currently available in Canmore? Do we have enough options?

Currently, I think we have enough options. The Roam bus is excellent and we are constantly working to improve the pedestrian and cycling culture. An innovative idea would be to explore ways for citizens to access e-bikes during the summer months. The initial cost of an electric bike is intimidating, but if we could find ways for citizens to “try before you buy” we could see more adoption.

9. Why are you motivated to run for the Board in 2021?

I think COVID has brought so many global issues to the fore. Climate change, affordable housing, social justice, inequalities, etc. look us in the face, but there is an appetite among the Canmorites to make courageous and daring choices. That’s exciting! In addition, I have done a lot of work in the community and I would like to bring innovative ideas to the public service level.

10. Why are you passionate about the future of Canmore and why do you think the residents of Canmore should trust you to make important decisions about the future of the City?

At the end of the day, I am motivated to serve. Those of you who have come across me in a yoga class or seen the work I have done with Bow Valley Engage know that I always try to be of help. A place worth living in is a place worth fighting for – and I love this place. Not just for me, but for all of its citizens and wildlife for generations to come.



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