Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year Cranbrook
This is what it looked like in Sydney Australia

Out and Around Cranbrook this Week

From the October like scenery at Elizabeth Lake to winter on Cranbrook Mountain

Mt. Baker from Hoo Doos Ft. Steele - photo Stewart Wilson

Snow shoeing up Cranbrook Mountain - photo Iwan Ruoss
Cranbrook and Baker Mountain from West Hill - photo Jenny Humphrey

Friday, December 30, 2011

Firemen Santa Sleigh Show Becomes Local Tradition

Perceptions by Gerry Warner

I don't know what your enduring memory of Christmas 2011 is going to be, but aside from the balmy weather, I know what mine is, especially as a new city councilor.

It must have been around 8 p.m. when I heard the familiar Christmas Eve wail of a siren alerting the Warner household that one of Cranbrook's oldest Christmas traditions was about to pass by our cozy, little bungalow. And there it was lights flashing, carols blaring and jolly old St. Nick beaming and waving from his trailer-mounted sleigh and eight reindeer pulled by a Cranbrook Fire Dept. truck and several of Cranbrook's finest inside.

And then a funny thing happened.

The old wooden sleigh was coming down 18th Ave. South and turning on 2A St. South kitty-corner to my house when the sleigh's trailer hit a pothole in our oft-criticized bad roads and poor Santa's beard fell off. Not quite off actually, but it slipped down below his chin and he had to hurriedly pull it back up in mid-wave, a well executed move on Santa's part.

I couldn't help but think it was going to be a long night for Santa and his supporting crew and this got me to thinking even more about how this unique Cranbrook Christmas tradition came about and how long it has been going on. So I put in a call to Clayton Murrell, president of Cranbrook Professional Firefighters Local 1253. He made several calls of his own and from this a fascinating tale of local history emerges that may not be exactly right in all the details but is pretty darn close just the same.

As it turns out, no one is exactly sure how long Cranbrook's fireman Santa has been making his rounds, but Clay is sure it's at least 30 years and could be more than 40. In the early days, an actual sleigh was used borrowed from a farmer or rancher in the Bull River area and pulled around, possibly even by horses, but no one is sure. Eventually, the firemen themselves built a wooden sleigh of their own and modified it several times over the years because our bumpy roads were hard on both the sleigh and Santa, Murrell says. “The poor guy would be bounced around for six hours. It was pretty tough.”

Other improvements were made too such as going from an old eight-track tape system with “terrible sound” for the carols to a modern system providing quality sound, Murrell says, who's been involved with the Santa sleigh show for 22 years.

And Murrell's length of service is typical of the fire department as a whole, he says. “Almost every guy in the department has had something to do with it over the years. We start getting calls as early as September and October about when the sleigh is going to run and the route.”

Getting ready for the big night is no small endeavour in itself because it takes about two days to set up the sleigh and trailer and plan the timing and the route. Up to eight firefighters volunteer to be part of the show and take turns during the sleigh's six-hour run around town so they can have time to be together with their own families on Christmas Eve.

Despite this, there is never a shortage of volunteers, Murrell says. “Even though they're off duty, they're happy to do it. It's so neat to see the excited looks on the kids' faces. Once you've done it once, you're hooked and eager to do it again.” In some cases, firemen doing the Santa sleigh show remember enjoying it themselves when they were children and now enjoy doing it as adults for the next generation.

“It's become a Cranbrook tradition,” Murrell says.

And yes, there are sometimes incidents during the Christmas Eve sleigh show that make the tradition even more memorable, he says. Apparently one Christmas Eve several years ago, a father, who had just finished showering was standing on the doorstep with a towel wrapped around him and holding his young toddler as Santa's sleigh went by.

The little tyke got so excited he broke free from his father's grip and ran towards the Santa sleigh. Dad got excited too and ran after his wayward son and had almost reached him when his towel fell off and he was left standing naked in the snow.

“The guys will never forget that one,” Murrell chuckles.

Happy New Year Cranbrook . . .

December Weather

On the 30th of December in 1968 the temperature in Cranbrook bottomed out at –40 degrees Celsius. The average snow depth for the month of December from 1971 to the year 2000 was 17cm. Although daily average for December in that thirty year period was milder at –7degrees C, Decembers were generally a lot colder than the one we have just experienced.

This December 30th 2011 our predicted high is 4 degrees C with a low of -4 degrees C and we’ll be lucky if we have much snow in town by the end of the day.  We have experienced mild December temperatures before as on the winter of 1975 when the high for the 9th of December was 12.2 degrees C. but this December must be shaping up to be one for the record books.

Does anyone out there remember such a brown Christmas before, as the one we have just experienced in town?

Stats according to:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

All Time Popular Posts

Our most popular stories:

As readership of our humble little blog has grown steadily in the last year we would like to thank all those faithful readers who check in once in a while to read those items we consider relevant or of interest to our special little town which is snuggled into one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Our articles are frequently not original but we hope they might present ideas worth considering for the enrichment, sustainability and development of our municipality.

It is interesting to look at our most popular posts over the last 18 months for most were items of local political interest. The condensed version of the Growth Management Study also was certainly a popular page feature that we added (and are still working on) but despite the seemingly high interest in local municipal government, the turnout in the November election was still a mere 33% of the eligible electorate.

Our piece on The Passivhaus which contained several links to sustainable building technique sites consistently generates interest from all over the world, as does anything about our North Star Trail which is usually searched for and discovered under Rails to Trails. The Holiday Train generated a lot of interest in December mostly because the interest comes from the entire country.

Readers may find these stats interesting:

What's Happening....

Saturday December 31st
New year's Eve Dance
Country Roundup
Senior's Centre

New Year's Eve at Durango's
limited tickets

Sunday January 1st
New Year's Day Wagon/Sleigh Ride
Fort Steele
11:00am - 3:00pm

Wednesday January 4th
Elizabeth Lake Art Challenge deadline
Key City Theatre

Get Yor tickets now for
Banff Mountain Film Festival Saturday Jan 7th
Noises Off January 19, 20, 21, 26,27,28
Rankin Family January 23rd
Tickets at Key City Theatre Box office

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bridging Urban-Suburban Divide

Project Calgary: Bridging urban-suburban divide

Community debate reflects values more than property

By Theresa Tayler, Calgary Herald December 25, 2011

Read more:

Paul's suburban friends seem less engaged in their community in terms of supporting local business. They also seem to interact less with their neighbours than his urban friends do.

"This could be because suburbanites seem to spend more time in their vehicles getting to and from work, so there's not as much time to interact with one another," Paul says. "However, those in the suburban areas tend to champion their own amenities and green spaces. They often live in closer proximity to nature, so they have that to be proud of."

According to McCready, the dynamic between the urban and suburban Calgarian reflects the youth of our ever-growing city.

While hubs across the globe, such as Paris, London, New York and Montreal, have had centuries to develop culturally and architecturally, Calgary's only been at it for 136 years.
Due to Calgary's boom-and-bust economic history, McCready says the concept of urban sprawl has come into play as the city has struggled to build quick housing for people who arrive in times of prosperity.

"We have to realize we're not Europe. What I find interesting about the North American setting is the lack of patience that we have for building up a city. It takes a century or two for a city to gain its full character," McCready says.

While McCready applauds groups such as the Calgary Downtown Association (a group that works to promote the city's inner core) and Imagine Calgary (a partnership between the city and various private arts and community groups to envision how Calgary could look in the future) for their commitment to building the city culturally and economically, he worries the common discussion between Calgarians is focused primarily on rejuvenating the downtown areas.

There is less emphasis placed on helping new suburban areas become viable communities, as well.

Read more:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Civility and Quality of Life

This is the title of a report from the Young Foundation in October of 2011. This report is relevant internationally and it states, “Wherever they lived, many said civility was the single most important contributor to their quality of life.”

“Experience of incivility shapes the way people feel about their communities and general social health more than crime statistics, according to new research, ” it goes on.

It argues that civility acts as ‘glue' in holding communities together and that when this breaks down it causes hurt, stress and deeper social problems. The research, co-funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council, found that long-term trends make civility harder to sustain but even more important.

The trends that make civility harder to sustain include:

· Pressures on time; people feel that their working lives are more pressured, exacerbated by commuting times and that incivility is more likely to occur when people are hurried.

· Mobility, diversity and density; people feel that shared codes of civility are harder to maintain as they have more interaction with strangers and less interaction between the generations.

· Technology: a common complaint was people speaking loudly in public on mobile phones or overhearing music from headphones. People are also concerned about incivility online.

For the full article:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Another Way to Enjoy Your Brussel Sprouts

Our National Game or the National Shame? by Gerry Warner

The Cranbrook Guardian feels honored to introduce a new, regular column by former columnist but newly retired, Gerry Warner. Gerry’s last position before retirement was with the Cranbrook Townsman and we are delighted to accept his volunteered essays, opinions and items of general interest.

This topic has no doubt provided some heat around Cranbrook ice surfaces.

Our National Game or the National Shame?

How would you like to be the best in the world at what you do, but broken up and finished at the age of 24 and never knowing – nor the world ever knowing – how good you might have been?

That's the sad scenario facing Sidney Crosby, the hockey phenomenon from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, the player that scored the “golden goal” for Canada in the 2010 Olympics, who is now out “indefinitely” with another concussion thanks to the thuggery that passes for “hockey” these days.

And it isn't just Crosby who's fallen victim to the “rock' em, sock' em” hockey popularized by Don Cherry from his bully pulpit on CBC's “Hockey Night in Canada” every Saturday night. In addition to “Sid the Kid,” NHL leading scorer Claude Giroux is also out with a concussion along with several other players, including Philadelphia Captain Chris Pronger who's out for the season.

Pronger, however, is 37 and has had an illustrious career as an all-star defenceman. Crosby barely got started on what could have been a Gretzky-like career and now even a Vegas bookie wouldn't give you odds on Crosby ever winning another scoring title. Or even completing another season for that matter. And this is tragic, not just for Crosby – the “face of the NHL” as is often said – but for the future of Canada's national game, which is rapidly catching up with the RCMP as one of Canada's most criticized institutions.

Small wonder when you consider a stunning series in the New York Times two weeks ago on former NHL goon Derek Boogaard, or “the Boogeyman” as he was otherwise known, who once went almost five years between goals but pounded on other players' skulls almost every game until his knuckles literally started to peel off. He died at 28 of Traumatic Encephalopathy, his brain basically a vegetable from the blows he endured and the pain killing drugs he took to dull his suffering.

In some ways, the titles alone of the three-part series tell you all you need to know about the Boogaard tragedy – “A Boy Learns to Brawl,” “Blood on the Ice” and “A Brain Going Bad.” Did I say the Boogaard tragedy? I really should have said the “Hockey Tragedy.” But when it comes right down to it, the best title would be “The Canadian Tragedy” because Boogaard was a big, tough Canadian boy from Melfort, Saskatchewan – son of a Mountie, no less-- doing what far too many Canadian boys have to do to succeed at our National Dream, a dream-cum-nightmare that is now ending careers at a tender age and cutting lives short in what is now a vulgar National Spectacle acted out on living room screens and in arenas coast to coast including our own.

A tad harsh, you say? If that's what you think then I challenge you to Google the New York Times series and read it for yourself. In this short space, I can only give a few highlights, but here they are:

- After countless bare-knuckle fights, chunks of scar tissue would flake off Boogaard's knuckles. The knuckles themselves would be driven back into his hand almost to his wrist and the team's trainer would have to pull them out again.

- Despite his monstrous reputation as a fighter, off the ice Boogaard was more like a gentle giant, always volunteering for charity work and eager to speak to children, who he would talk to after getting down on his knees to their level.

- In the fall of 2009 during a concussion checkup, a doctor asked Boogaard how many words he could say that began with 'r.' The veteran NHL brawler couldn't think of any.

I could go on, but I think you get the drift. NHL hockey today, and sad to say the three top junior leagues, including the WHL, which provide about 40 per cent of NHL players, is becoming a Roman-like spectacle of violence and thuggery more akin to a night of UFC mixed martial arts fighting than the fastest game on ice. Careers are being cut short, players are dying of concussion-related issues before they hit 30 and two former NHL enforcers committed suicide in a ghastly two-month period last summer.

And while making a lot of noise about cutting down on so-called “head shots,” the NHL establishment including managers, players and fans remain conspicuously silent on banning fighting or violent body hits that can also cause concussions by shaking the brain inside the skull.

Have we gone mad?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Maximizing the Recycling

Many Thanks to the RDEK, the Townsman and the Advertiser for publishing a Recycle Guide for Cranbrook at this time of year when it becomes especially challenging to keep waste to a minimum.  Those pages are well worth clipping and keeping for reference.  They are large, however and so we are are republishing an updated condensed version  that we first made available during Waste Reduction Week last year.
It looks like this but can be downloaded at:

What's Happening ...........

Saturday December 24th
Social DanceSenior Centre
7 - 11:00pm
For more information call Flo at 250-489-2720
 or email

Tuesday December 27th
Turkey Run Off Race
Cross Country Sking and Snowshoe Race
Kootenay Orienteering Club
Lois Creek Trails Kimberley
Registration 11-11:45am
Mass Start at noon

Wednesday  December 28th
Fort Steele
Annual Sleigh or Wagon Rides depending on snow conditions
11:00am - 3:00pm

Get your tickets now for
Banff Mountain Film Festival - Saturday January 7th
The Rankin Family - Monday January 23rd
Noises Off - January 19, 20, 21, 26,27 and 28th

All tickets at the Key City Box Office

Elves and Reindeer off Duty

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Aspire Dance at Joseph Creek Village

A number of students from the Aspire School of Dance put on two mini performances at Joseph Creek Village this week.  Dancing to Christmas music and demonstrating their skills in tap, ballet, hip-hop and stage theatre they entertained the residents and spread some Christmas cheer.

Recycling the Christmas Packaging

As we enter the gift giving season when mountains of packaging quickly pile up, planning how to divert all that waste from the land fill would be an environmentally friendly thing to do.   We have many yellow bins around Cranbrook where cardboard, glass, plastic and paper can be binned for recycling and we have a curbside recycling business for which we must pay. (It is worth every penny and an article will be forthcoming)Wood Buffalo Municipality which includes Fort McMurray Alberta has made recycling much easier with the help of their own website:

Here is a great little project from that site for the kids or adults to bide away some creative time - making Christmas gift boxes from old Christmas cards.

The whole of the Wood Buffalo Municipal site is worth a look.  One of the facilities is the ability to watch previously recorded Council Meetings.  Considering the sometimes unreliability of our Shaw broadcasts, this may be something for Cranbrook to consider.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Around Town and Looking Good

Christ Church Anglican, Cranbrook's oldest church

Solar Power in Delta

Kimberley is working on its sun mine and our new mayor Wayne Stetski has 'using more solar power' as one of his goals for the sunniest place in BC.  Campbell River was named one of B.C.'s highest users of solar power in April of this year.    Considering it is part of the wet coast we have a lot of catching up to do! This is Delta's newest project.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Delta Installs Solar Power System at Boundary Bay Airport

By Corporation of Delta

DELTA - Mayor Lois E. Jackson, Delta Council and Alpha Aviation Inc. are pleased to announce the installation of a solar power system at the Boundary Bay Airport terminal building. This innovative system brings the terminal building a step closer to a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rating.

The leading edge solar technology, which was developed by the Alpha Group, converts light energy captured by 60 solar photovoltaic panels into DC power. The DC power is stored in batteries and once the batteries are fully charged, it is converted to AC power that can be used to power a portion of the requirements of the terminal building. The project was accomplished through collaboration of businesses.

“Our system was designed and built by a true collaboration of the Alpha Group of Companies including Alpha Technologies Ltd in Burnaby, BC; Alpha Energy and OutBack Power Technologies,” said Lyle Soetaert, Boundary Bay Airport Manager. “This team pulled the system together to help us provide a renewable energy solution for our facility. As we continue to expand at the Boundary Bay Airport, we will continue to find ways to use technology to help us increase our use of renewable sources of energy.”

Delta was named a Solar Community by the Honourable Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum on May 29, 2010 and is a leader in environmental stewardship with such initiatives as the green fleet for corporate vehicles and energy retrofits at Sungod Recreation Centre and Ladner Leisure Centre. Delta is currently well on its way to reaching the goal of reducing corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below 2007 levels by 2015.

“This is a great example of Delta businesses leading the way on green technology,” said Mayor Lois E. Jackson. “We continue to see businesses throughout Delta follow the lead of the municipality in adopting green energy alternatives and Alpha Aviation’s solar power showcases ingenuity in practice.”

For more information on this media release, contact the Mayor’s office at (604) 946-3210 or email

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Do You Know This Shoplifter?

On December 13th $1700 worth of merchandise was stolen from Walmart.  The full release from the RCMP with photo is available here:

Slaterville Receives Attention at Last

by Jenny Humphrey

What a great Christmas gift for the residents of Slaterville to see the progress of Slaterville’s neighbourhood plan and the work that has been put into this by city staff. I don’t live in Slaterville, nor do I own property there but my interest in that neglected part of town began long ago when I was introduced to a lovely walk, which led out of town from the end of 6th St NW. In August of 2010 amid the lively discussions of densification, Smart Growth and the East Hill, a rezoning application for Slaterville came before Council and I recalled a Brown Bag Lunch from April of 2009 when Steve Lehman had appeared to talk about the lack of services and apparent neglect that this area of our community felt. I refreshed my memory with a slow walk around Slaterville and its quaintness of character and its historical significance once more struck a chord.

The Cranbrook Guardian posted:

After a few phone calls I discovered a facebook page that exemplified the connection and fond memories Slaterville residents have for this historical part of Cranbrook.!/group.php?gid=2363610675&v=wall

After a discussion with Councillor Whetham about what could be done, Councillor Whetham undertook to meet with some residents and put the wheels in motion to formally request that a Neighbourhood Plan be initiated. It was and the results were revealed at an Open House on Wednesday December 14th 2011.

The determination of residents, their council representation and city planners has resulted in a plan for some definite improvements to this forgotten part of Cranbrook. Maybe once again Slaterville will take its significant place as an equal and important part of Cranbrook.  I look forward to seeing the improvements take place.
Just one of the suggested  plans presented at the Open House for the Slaterville Neighbourhood Plan.  This map showed areas for potential sidewalks, a direct trail to Pinewood School, speed bumps and intersection improvements.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Vancouver Sun - Logging War on Pine Beetle

The Vancouver Sun has launched a series of articles. They began Dec 2 2011 and can be found at:

The environmental costs of B.C.'s logging war on pine beetles

FIRST IN A SERIES: The plan was simple: Log and sell as much dead pine as possible before it decayed or burned. But the environmental costs of the large-scale salvaging of Interior forests are still being tallied

By LARRY PYNN, Vancouver Sun

THE INTERIOR PLATEAU -- The province sold the epidemic as unprecedented in North American history.

Biblical plagues of mountain pine beetles sweeping across the Interior landscape in dark clouds, leaving a dead zone more than five times the size of Vancouver Island in their wake.

This was war. And the government fought back with an equally aggressive salvage-logging strategy, initially to try to stop the beetle’s spread, and then to harvest as much dead wood as possible before it decayed or burned.

The result? Massive clearcuts with no upper limits, faster approvals for cutting permits, more logging companies taking ever more timber, with industry in charge of conducting its own affairs.

It’s been a full decade since the B.C. government started increasing the annual allowable cut of lodgepole pine stands by an average 80 per cent — in some areas, much higher.

The province promised that salvage logging of Interior pine forests would respect “other forest values” — the environment — but is that what happened?

A lengthy investigation by The Vancouver Sun shows that large-scale salvage logging has had wide-ranging negative environmental impacts that extend well beyond the death of pine trees due to beetle attack.

Salvage logging has hammered biodiversity on the landscape, affecting everything from smaller predators such as fishers and marten to plants such as mosses, liverworts and mycorrhiza fungus, which lives underground in the root system and plays a critical role in transferring nutrients to trees.

The removal of vast stands of forest has also increased the risk of flooding, leading to more erosion and sedimentation, which can affect everything from roads, bridges and culverts to fish and other aquatic life and even to dyking systems in the lower Fraser River.

The landscape has been so radically altered that provincial forests officials have provided maps to Emergency Management BC and others showing where dead pine and salvage logging are most heavily concentrated — and where the potential for flooding is greatest.

Salvage logging also increases hunting pressure both by humans and wild predators — due to a proliferation of logging roads — while increasing greenhouse gas emissions by opening up the forest to rot and by removing the green trees that absorb carbon dioxide.

All this during a decade of provincial cutbacks that included a dramatic decline in funding for forest research — $2.5 million in 2010, down from $38.8 million in 1997.

From Vancouver to Prince George, researchers are decrying B.C.’s failure to address the cumulative impact of salvage logging and fearing there is insufficient oversight of a deregulated, “results-based” system that puts the onus on forest companies to meet government objectives.

Looking at the big picture, these researchers say the mountain pine beetle represents a unique opportunity for the province to rethink the management of B.C.’s forests in the face of climate change — a key reason behind the epidemic.

Revisit the way logging and reforestation is done, they say, and strike a better balance between biological and commercial values.

“We have to value it differently,” said Suzanne Simard, a professor of forest sciences at the University of B.C. “Right now, we value two-by-fours. We don’t put a market value on the other things.”

B.C. and its beetle-killed forests are part of a global community grappling with issues of deforestation, climate change and biodiversity.

“The whole picture has to transform, not just here but around the world,” said Simard, who supports maintaining a greater natural diversity in B.C.’s forests.

And if we don’t address the issue?

Kathy Lewis, a professor of ecosystem science and management at the University of Northern B.C., confirms that a diverse forest is the best way for B.C. to meet the uncertainties of climate change, and fears the public doesn’t realize their importance to clean water and their ability to store carbon.

Read more:

New Skills Training Programs Announced

Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
From a News Release of December 9th

The B.C. government is investing over $13 million in new employment skills training in regions throughout British Columbia.

College of the Rockies will receive:

· $87,120 – Introduction to the Trades Program, 12 participants. This 10-week program provides participants with certification required to gain employment in a trades-related position at an entry or apprentice level.

· $269,332 – Forestry Boot Camp Training Program, 24 participants. This three-week program provides the certification needed to gain entry-level employment in the forest industry.

· For more information about ESA training programs at College of the Rockies, please contact Bonnie New at 250 489-2751 ext 3440 or:

As part of ‘Canada Starts Here: The B.C. Jobs Plan’, over 50 skills training programs are being delivered by 20 post-secondary institutions throughout the province under the government’s Employment Skills Access Initiative (ESA). This project is funded within government’s existing fiscal plan.

Training programs are expected to be at least three weeks in duration, to a maximum of 12 months, with an emphasis on programs that provide participants with provincially or industry-recognized credentials. For occupations with established provincial standards for training and certification, training programs must follow and meet those standards.

Participants in programs must be unemployed individuals who have not established an Employment Insurance claim in the past three years, or five years in the case of maternity/parental leave.

The Employment Skills Access Initiative is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement (LMA).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Mystery of Santa's Golden Bell by Kerry Ries of Cranbrook

This is the link to Kerry Ries's story as heard on CBC radio yesterday morning.

Click on the page, scroll down to click on the sound clip of Chris Walker reading the story.

Thank you to Kerry Ries for this lovely story and to the magical and abundant Hospital Thrift Store.  You never know what you might find in there.  Kerry Ries is looking for the previous owner of the music box bell which is not the same as the photo above.

Chris Ayling Named Citizen of the Year

Chair of Cranbrook's Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) for Cranbrook, Chris Ayling, was named citizen of the year by outgoing President of the Chamber of Commerce, Sean Campbell, at yesterday's Chamber Luncheon.  The ICSP or Cranbrook Connected as it it is better known is a long term and broad in scope strategic plan that will give our community and City Council a shared vision of our future to work towards. The plan has been praised by many and the City is currently advertising for a coordinator to assist in implementation of the plan's 8 Big Ideas for Sustainability

Our Congratulations to Chris Ayling for this well deserved award.

What's Happening...

Thursday, December 15

Affordable Art
Last day of the Affordable Art Exhibition
at the Key City Gallery. All pieces under $300

Friday, December 16

Christmas Cantata
LDS Church on 2nd St. N.
7pm, Everyone is Welcome

Sunday, December 18

Sleigh Rides at Fort Steele
If there isn't enough snow wagon rides will be substituted
Also skating on the skating rink
Childrens Christmas Crafts and photos with Father Christmas
11:00am - 3:00pm
Lambi House

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Climate Change Affects Us All

An interview with Banki Moon, UN Secretary General

Although this interview discusses several topics which affect us all, the Durban Conference on Climate Change is the first topic of this video and worth a listen even if you do not have the half hour to listen to the entire interview.

The UN secretary-general shares his views on the climate conference in Durban, the situation in Syria, gay rights and the issues behind the Goldstone report.

Health Outcomes Influencing Planning Decisions

Many people have a misconception that those people who live in the country are healthier than those who live in cities. In fact sometimes the opposite is true. Country residents are often more likely to be obese, smoke and be sedentary.  There are many studies that demonstrate country living is not always more healthy than living in a city.  If you live in the country you have further to travel for medical care, you walk less and drive more. In cities you have more opportunities to walk - our children are able to walk to school for example.  Modern urban planning recognizes the importance of green space, creating walkable cities, higher density housing, and improving air quality as contributors to more healthy living.

So it is interesting that this past week, the East Hill Development was not sent to a second reading, but referred back to staff at the Regional District of the East Kootenays. This was the result of a letter from the Interior Health Authority about these type of rural subdivisions and how they are not particularly healthy. The letter stated how urban sprawl has a negative outcome on physical activity opportunities which can lead to increased occurences of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. It also went on to state that this particular development was too remote from public transit to be a viable option. Interior Health will increasingly be making comment on introduced bylaws such as this rezoning application as they are trying to "link public health to the built environments."

Given what we now know about rural living, should Interior Health be making comment on this type of development? What do you think?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Air Quality Study Results

In the early part of this year, collaboration between provincial and federal agencies, Wildsight, the East Kootenay Citizens for Clean Air, the University of Victoria, the College of the Rockies, and the Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook conducted a three-week study
to a mapping exercise that plotted levels of PM2.5 (particulate matter, 2.5 microns or less in diameter) in the Kimberley/Cranbrook area. PM2.5 is an air contaminant that has serious health impacts, especially to people at risk (the elderly, the very young, and those suffering from chronic cardio-respiratory conditions); and to anyone when concentrations are high.

The study took place during the peak of the heating season when smoke from wood-burning appliances was known to be affecting air quality. The analysis of the collected data identified relative levels of PM2.5, and most importantly, ‘hot spots’ (neighbourhoods where levels were consistently elevated ). A summary of this data is presented below. There are three areas of concern:

· Marysville

· Wycliffe/King Street Corridor

· South/Central Cranbrook (centred on 10th Street and 10th Avenue )

The results of the study have the potential to be used in a number of ways and recommendations were made in the summary report. At present the campaign is for awareness and hopefully a stimulus for those with wood burning stoves in these locations to seriously consider upgrading to a more efficient stove.

This data was released to the public at a special presentation
It is anticipated the technical document produced as a result of this study will be presented to City Council in the New Year.

The data is now ready for City Councils, Interior Health or any other agency who may wish to use it to promote better air quality in the communities of Kimberley and Cranbrook.

The complete document is available here:

and a Guide to Residential Wood Heating is available here:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Train in Cranbrook Video by Audio Tomic

Thank you, Jason Beauchane of Audio Tomic Cranbrook.

Food Security in Todmorden, England

With severe droughts in many food producing states such as Texas and California and ever increasing food prices here, we might wonder if some of our previous food choices will be unavailable to us in the future.  Maybe it is not as alarmist as once thought and more and more we might wonder if its not something we should be planning for. What would we do? Obviously grow more of our own food and try to buy more from local producers. In England, a community is already taking concerns over food security to the next level by gardening everywhere.

From the British Newspaper the Daily Mail by journalist Vincent Graff read this intriguing story about the British town of Todmorden:

Carrots in the car park. Radishes on the roundabout. The deliciously eccentric story of the town growing ALL its own veg

Admittedly, it sounds like the most foolhardy of criminal capers, and one of the cheekiest, too.
Outside the police station in the small Victorian mill town of Todmorden, West Yorkshire, there are three large raised flower beds.
If you’d visited a few months ago, you’d have found them overflowing with curly kale, carrot plants, lettuces, spring onions — all manner of vegetables and salad leaves.
Today the beds are bare. Why? Because people have been wandering up to the police station forecourt in broad daylight and digging up the vegetables. And what are the cops doing about this brazen theft from right under their noses? Nothing.
‘I watch ’em on camera as they come up and pick them,’ says desk officer Janet Scott, with a huge grin. It’s the smile that explains everything.
For the vegetable-swipers are not thieves. The police station carrots — and thousands of vegetables in 70 large beds around the town — are there for the taking. Locals are encouraged to help themselves. A few tomatoes here, a handful of broccoli there. If they’re in season, they’re yours. Free.
So there are (or were) raspberries, apricots and apples on the canal towpath; blackcurrants, redcurrants and strawberries beside the doctor’s surgery; beans and peas outside the college; cherries in the supermarket car park; and mint, rosemary, thyme and fennel by the health centre.
The vegetable plots are the most visible sign of an amazing plan: to make Todmorden the first town in the country that is self-sufficient in food.
‘And we want to do it by 2018,’ says Mary Clear, 56, a grandmother of ten and co-founder of Incredible Edible, as the scheme is called.
It’s a very ambitious aim. But if you don’t aim high, you might as well stay in bed, mightn’t you?’
So what’s to stop me turning up with a huge carrier bag and grabbing all the rosemary in the town?
‘Nothing,’ says Mary.
What’s to stop me nabbing all the apples?
All your raspberries?
It just doesn’t happen like that, she says. ‘We trust people. We truly believe — we are witness to it — that people are decent.’
When she sees the Big Issue seller gathering fruit for his lunch, she feels only pleasure. What does it matter, argues Mary, if once in a while she turns up with her margarine tub to find that all the strawberries are gone?
‘This is a revolution,’ she says. ‘But we are gentle revolutionaries. Everything we do is underpinned by kindness.’
The idea came about after she and co-founder Pam Warhurst, the former owner of the town’s Bear Cafe, began fretting about the state of the world and wondered what they could do.
They reasoned that all they could do is start locally, so they got a group of people, mostly women, together in the cafe.
Incredible Edible is about more than plots of veg. It's about educating people about food, and stimulating the local economy (pictured Vincent Graff and Estelle)
‘Wars come about by men having drinks in bars, good things come about when women drink coffee together,’ says Mary.
‘Our thinking was: there’s so much blame in the world — blame local government, blame politicians, blame bankers, blame technology — we thought, let’s just do something positive instead.’
We’re standing by a car park in the town centre. Mary points to a housing estate up the hill. Her face lights up.
‘The children walk past here on the way to school. We’ve filled the flower beds with fennel and they’ve all been taught that if you bite fennel, it tastes like a liquorice gobstopper. When I see the children popping little bits of herb into their mouths, I just think it’s brilliant.’
She takes me over to the front garden of her own house, a few yards away.
Three years ago, when Incredible Edible was launched, she did a very unusual thing: she lowered her front wall, in order to encourage passers-by to walk into her garden and help themselves to whatever vegetables took their fancy.
There were signs asking people to take something but it took six months for folk to ‘get it’, she says.
They get it now. Obviously a few town-centre vegetable plants — even thousands of them — are not going to feed a community of 15,000 by themselves.
But the police station potatoes act as a recruiting sergeant — to encourage residents to grow their own food at home.
Today, hundreds of townspeople who began by helping themselves to the communal veg are now well on the way to self-sufficiency.
But out on the street, what gets planted where? There’s kindness even in that.
‘The ticket man at the railway station, who was very much loved, was unwell. Before he died, we asked him: “What’s your favourite vegetable, Reg?” It was broccoli. So we planted memorial beds with broccoli at the station. One stop up the line, at Hebden Bridge, they loved Reg, too — and they’ve also planted broccoli in his memory.’
Not that all the plots are — how does one put this delicately? — ‘official’.
Take the herb bushes by the canal. Owners British Waterways had no idea locals had been sowing plants there until an official inspected the area ahead of a visit by the Prince of Wales last year (Charles is a huge Incredible Edible fan).
Estelle Brown, a 67-year-old former interior designer who tended the plot, received an email from British Waterways.
‘I was a bit worried to open it,’ she says. ‘But it said: “How do you build a raised bed? Because my boss wants one outside his office window.”’
Incredible Edible is also about much more than plots of veg. It’s about educating people about food, and stimulating the local economy.
There are lessons in pickling and preserving fruits, courses on bread-making, and the local college is to offer a BTEC in horticulture. The thinking is that young people who have grown up among the street veg may make a career in food.
Crucially, the scheme is also about helping local businesses. The Bear, a wonderful shop and cafe with a magnificent original Victorian frontage, sources all its ingredients from farmers within a 30-mile radius.
There’s a brilliant daily market. People here can eat well on local produce, and thousands now do.
Meanwhile, the local school was recently awarded a £500,000 Lottery grant to set up a fish farm in order to provide food for the locals and to teach useful skills to young people.
Jenny Coleman, 62, who retired here from London, explains: ‘We need something for our young people to do. If you’re an 18-year-old, there’s got to be a good answer to the question: why would I want to stay in Todmorden?’
The day I visit, the town is battered by a bitterly-cold rain storm. Yet the place radiates warmth. People speak to each other in the street, wave as neighbours drive past, smile.
If the phrase hadn’t been hijacked, the words ‘we’re all in this together’ would spring to mind.
So what sort of place is Todmorden (known locally, without exception, as ‘Tod’)? If you’re assuming it’s largely peopled by middle-class grandmothers, think again. Nor is this place a mecca for the gin-and-Jag golf club set.
Set in a Pennine valley — once, the road through the town served as the border between Yorkshire and Lancashire — it is a vibrant mix of age, class and ethnicity.
A third of households do not own a car; a fifth do not have central heating.
You can snap up a terrace house for £50,000 — or spend close to £1 million on a handsome stone villa with seven bedrooms.
And the scheme has brought this varied community closer together, according to Pam Warhurst.
Take one example. ‘The police have told us that, year on year, there has been a reduction in vandalism since we started,’ she says. ‘We weren’t expecting this.’
So why has it happened?
Pam says: ‘If you take a grass verge that was used as a litter bin and a dog toilet and turn it into a place full of herbs and fruit trees, people won’t vandalise it. I think we are hard-wired not to damage food.’
Pam reckons a project like Incredible Edible could thrive in all sorts of places. ‘If the population is very transient, it’s difficult. But if you’ve got schools, shops, back gardens and verges, you can do it.’
Similar schemes are being piloted in 21 other towns in the UK, and there’s been interest shown from as far afield as Spain, Germany, Hong Kong and Canada. And, this week, Mary Clear gave a talk to an all-party group of MPs at Westminster.
Todmorden was visited by a planner from New Zealand, working on the rebuilding of his country after February’s earthquake.
Mary says: ‘He went back saying: “Why wouldn’t we rebuild the railway station with pick-your-own herbs? Why wouldn’t we rebuild the health centre with apple trees?”
‘What we’ve done is not clever. It just wasn’t being done.’
The final word goes to an outsider. Joe Strachan is a wealthy U.S. former sales director who decided to settle in Tod with his Scottish wife, after many years in California.
He is 61 but looks 41. He became active with Incredible Edible six months ago, and couldn’t be happier digging, sowing and juicing fruit.
I find myself next to him, sheltering from the driving rain. Why, I ask, would someone forsake the sunshine of California for all this?
His answer sums up what the people around here have achieved.
‘There’s a nobility to growing food and allowing people to share it. There’s a feeling we’re doing something significant rather than just moaning that the state can’t take care of us.
‘Maybe we all need to learn to take care of ourselves.’

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Train 2011 with Valdy and Tracey Brown

She rolled into Cranbrook a little late but a warm crowd welcomed the Holiday Train and it was worth the wait for Valdy, Tracey Brown and the band soon had the crowd singing and swaying to the music.

As well as the  food donations from the public, a cheque for $4000.00 was presented to the Food Bank from CP Rail.

Forest Elves at Work

Hikers delight in their find
A delightful new Christmas tradition has been happening around Cranbrook in the last few years - that of decorating living trees in their natural environment. The surprise of rounding a corner on a well-loved trail and finding one of these lovingly decorated trees is a real treat. The unknown decorator (or decorators) is a mystery, the pleasure of finding one, simple but this thoughtful gesture highlights the true gift of the incredible environment we have around around us.

These beautiful trees glistening with a few strings of tinsel, set against all that the natural world gives us, really are all that is necessary to symbolise a season of appreciation.
We hope our readers find one of these trees soon but you will need to be quick because after Christmas the decorations magically disappear as suddenly as they appeared.

Thank You Elves

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Councillor Goals/Priorities for the Upcoming Term

Many Thanks to Jason Beauchane of Audiotomic for recording the Inaugural meeting of this Council on December 5th 2011.  The complete meeting can now be viewed by clicking on the tab at the top of this page.  Mayor Stetski as part of his platform, stated that accountability to residents of Cranbrook was a high priority for him.  Following through, Mayor Stetski asked each Councillor at this inaugural meeting to talk about two or three of their goals for this upcoming term. Councillors and Mayor Stetski gave their inaugural speeches at the end of the meeting.

Two Places to Shop Locally, Trees and Gifts

Congratulations to Laurie Goodlad on the opening of her lovely new store at 17, Tenth Avenue South.  Named 'Muriel and Jane's,' after her two grandmothers, the shop sells unique furniture and home decor items as well as gourmet food items.  The recessed doorway of the shop and attractive window displays are a fabulous addition to this heart of the downtown.
Laurie unpacking a new shipment

Muriel and Jane's Interior

If you have not purchased you tree yet, the Tottens have a great selection of local trees on Little Van Horne St. South

Heather Totten will assist you in choosing your tree.

Friday, December 9, 2011

CP Holiday Train, Cranbrook Stop, Sunday Dec. 11, 2011 9:15pm

CP Holiday Train in Cranbrook
The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train hit the rails again in November and will visit over 140 communities across the CP network.

Scheduled time of arrival for Cranbrook is 9:15pm at 1400 block of Theatre Road – opposite Kal Tire.  To confirm this time go to this link on the actual day.

The train in Fernie
The entertainers this year are billed as Valdy and Tracey Brown.

The goal of the Holiday Train is to collect food and money for local food banks and to raise awareness in the fight against hunger. At each event, the Holiday Train provides a box car stage, a line up of great musical talents and a corporate contribution to the local food bank. The community, in turn, is encouraged to donate food and funds, all of which stays in the community.

Since the program's inception back in 1999, more than $5.6 million and over 2.45 million pounds of food has been collected in Canada and the United States.

If you have never been to see the Holiday Train, it is well worth the trip on a cold winter evening - wrap up warmly and be prepared to enjoy some great entertainment as well as the very pretty lit up train and stage. Don't forget your donations for the Food Bank.

City Committees

Advisory Planning Committee
Cranbrook in Motion Committee
Cranbrook Public Library Board
Economic Development Committee
Environment and Utilities Committee
Family and Community Services Committee
Wellness and Heritage Committee
Urban Deer Advisory Management Committee
Railway Museum Development Committee
Committee of the Whole
Cranbrook Archives, Museum and Landmark Committee
Cranbrook and District Community Foundation
Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce
Key City Theatre Society
Treaty Advisory Committee
Regional District of East Kootenay Board
Kootenay East Regional Hospital Board
East Kootenay Hospital District Board
Integrated Community Sustainability Plan Committee
Athletic Commission

As you can see from the list, Cranbrook has a great number of committees but how do they work and what do they do for us?
Committees are generally comprised of several volunteer citizens and several City Councillors. Councillors are appointed to committees by the Mayor. Mayor Stetski recently made Councillor committee appointments at the Dec. 5th Council Meeting.  Go here for a list of the appointments.

In Cranbrook, committees are most frequently used by Council when a request comes from the public and it is referred to one of the committees for its recommendation. For example, the desire for a new handicapped parking spot will be referred to Cranbrook in Motion Committee who will make a recommendation to Council about its feasibility.  Council can then make a decision based on the recommendation although they do not have to follow it.  Committees can also provide ideas or suggestions to the City regarding policies such as the Urban Deer Advisory Committee which advised the City on solutions to the Urban Deer issue.

If you have a particular interest in one of the commitees or an expertise that would be useful to a  committee then why not think about volunteering.  Committee positions are posted frequently and applications are available at the City of Cranbrook website or at City Hall. Committees help shape the future of our city.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cranbrook's Elementary School Christmas Mass Choir Concert

Last evening the Elementary Mass Choir performed once again at the College of the Rockies.  This beautiful start to the Christmas season has been happening for over thirty years since the late Roy Barnett introduced the tradition.  As always Elsie Barnett, Roy's wife was at the door collecting donations for the Salvation Army and several retired teachers come out to help with the organisation.  Cranbrook's music teachers take turns in conducting the children from all Elementary Schools in Cranbrook. 
This extremely popular event always overflows with children, their parents , friends and grandparents.  It is a major feat of organisation for all the choirs learn their parts individually and only come together for a single rehearsal.

Thank you to all those who continue to coordinate and volunteer for this Cranbrook tradition.

What's Happening...

Friday, December 9

Christmas Open House
Cranbrook Public Library
10:00am - 6:00pm
carols, readings, refreshments

Little Munsch on the Prairie
Fort Steele Heritage Town - Wildhorse Theatre
Today, Tomorrow, and Sunday
Between 1 - 7pm
Tickets are Adults $15
Srs. and Youth $12
Children 3-12 years $10

Saturday, December 10

Social Dance at the Seniors Centre
Live music provided by Country Roundup and guest artists
Please call Flo for more information 250-489-2720

Sunday, December 11

Jazz Vespers
The Jazz Council will be performing jazz interpretations of
Advent Hymns
7pm Christ Anglican Church
Admission by donation

Sleigh rides and Christmas Crafts at Fort Steele
From 10am - 4pm
If there is not enough snow sleigh rides will be
Also enjoy skating and cross country skiing

CP Holiday Train
8:15pm Opposite Kal Tire
Valdy and Tracey Brown
Donations please for the Food Bank

Monday, December 12

Friends of the Cranbrook Public Library
Present a travelogue on The Everest Trail
Gerry Warner will show slides and talk about his
Katmandu and Everest Trip
Admission by donation

Wednesday, December 14

Mount Baker High School presents
its Winter Concert
Key City Theatre

Books for Christmas Hampers
Please donate new and gently used books
for children and teens for inclusion in the
Salvation Army hampers.
Drop off books at the Cranbrook Public Library, Key City Theatre,
Christ Church Anglican.
Please contact Katherine Hough, Cranbrook Literacy Coordinator
for more information 250-417-2896

Slaterville Neighbouhood Plan
Open House
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Manual Training Building, Cranbrook Library

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

An Exciting Beginning to a New Three Years of Local Government

The Alexandra Hall, Canadian Museum of Rail Travel December 5, 2011

It was exciting (and amusing) that Mayor Stetski had to interrupt the applause to tell Gerry Warner ‘not to be so popular’ while he (Gerry Warner)gave his inaugural speech about goals he wishes to accomplish while on council! Last night’s first meeting for the newly elected Mayor Stetski and Councillors was both a serious and uplifting occasion. The extra work that must have been involved in setting up the splendid Alexandra Hall at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel was well worth the effort for the two hundred seats set out for the occasion were all but filled. Mayor Stetski’s idea to invite the public to this location for this first meeting for this new council was definitely a hit and there were many comments afterwards about how this should happen more often.

The final part of any council meeting consists of Councillors giving their individual reports and Mayor Stetski had asked Councillors to speak about two or three of their goals for the upcoming term during this special first meeting.

Councillor Cross spoke of her main focus being a region wide marketing strategy in the spirit of both the Economic Development Strategy and the Cranbrook Connected Document, secondly forging a stronger link with our social service agencies and thirdly a review of City Committees and their terms of reference.

Councillor Davis said he would stray from that request and thanked the people who supported him and elected him.

Councillor Pallesen listed the comments and questions that the public had brought to her during the lead up to the election.

Councillor Scott spoke of attaining Monday openings for the library, continuing relationship building with the Ktunaxa and thirdly economic development.

Councillor Warner drew loud applause when he stated that the Spray Irrigation Program was a priority for him and that he would really like to solve the issue of leaking lagoons as well as prevent the disposal of effluent into the Kootenay River. His second priority is to accomplish the building of an overpass to the west side of our city. Councillor Warner also wishes to see the engagement of the community continue to increase so that the percentage of voters increases substantially at the next election.

Councillor Whetham listed his priorities as procedural, including a review of the Alternative Approval Process, better use of committees allowing for citizen input and getting Trans Canada Trail status for the North Star Trail as a continuing goal for a project that he and Al Skucas conceived several years ago.

Mayor Stetski’s speech can be listened to by clicking on this link. The file may take a few minutes to download.

or a written copy can be read at:

Post Notes for the Council Meeting of December 5, 2011

Mayor Wayne Stetski takes his oath of office

Councillors Bob Whetham, Gerry Warner, Denise Pallesen, Angus Davis, Sharon Cross and Diana J. Scott take their oaths of office
Chief Electoral Officer Leanne Jensen officiated the swearing in ceremony for Mayor Stetski and Councillors

Chief Casimer, David Walker and Nevada Joseph gave a Ktunaxa blessing.

Dr. Ron Foubister gave the invocation.

Administration Update

As reported in the Advance Notes.
The complete update can be read at:

Permissive Tax Exemption for the Cranbrook Golf Club – referred to administration for review and report to the first regular meeting in January 2012
It was mentioned that the membership in the club has dropped from well over 1000 to around 500 and the club has some challenges financially.

New Business

All Committee appointments of Councillors were adopted and can be viewed at:

First Second and Third readings were given to Waterworks Amendment Bylaw 3734, Sewer Rates Amendment Bylaw 3735 and Sewer Frontage Tax Amendment Bylaw 3736.
All these bylaws determine an increase in rates for these services.  To view the new rates go the link above.
Councillor Cross asked whether residents who are not hooked up to city services must pay these rates.  Response from administration stated that frontage tax must be paid if services run in front of the property even if they are not hooked up.  Utility fees are not paid if the services are not hooked up.
Councillor Warner commented he did not realise some water metering exists in the city. 

Mayor and Councillor Inaugural Reports followed.