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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The City of Kamloops Introduces Interactive Budget Meetings

The public in Cranbrook has been able to observe budget meetings until this point.  The five year financial plan is now available for viewing on the city website but it is left up to the public to read and comment on it.
This is the process in Kamloops this year.

February 24, 2012

Kamloops, B.C. - This year City Council is looking for more engagement with its citizens during budget discussions. Each year the City hosts public meetings regarding the City budget to give citizens an overview and hear their concerns. In recent years, these meetings have been poorly attended, and the City is determined to change that.
Starting February 28th, more public budget meetings have been added to accommodate busy schedules. To improve engagement, there will be roundtable discussions where residents can talk to a Councillor, one-on-one or as part of a community group.
Each budget meeting will be taped and the video posted to the City's website at
Your presence will influence the process. Mayor, Council and City managers will develop a broader understanding of community interests, concerns, and ideas. These factors are considered and weighed before final deliberation of the budget.
"With the new format, we hope for more attendance at the meetings. Few residents have the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with Council members. This venue provides an informal, friendly way for citizens to share their ideas," said Mayor Peter Milobar.
Each meeting will spotlight the budget of a specific City department. All meetings are public and take place from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm at Parkside Lounge at Interior Savings Centre.
  • February 28: An evening with Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services
  • March 6: An evening with Public Works & Sustainability
  • March 13: An evening with Development & Engineering Services and Community & Corporate Affairs
These public meetings will be summed up with final deliberations taking place on April 3rd at 9:00 am in Council Chambers. This meeting will determine the final tax rate for 2012.
So let's talk. By sharing your priorities and participating in the City's budget process, you can help create a strong future for our city.

Media Contact:
Mayor Peter Milobar
City of Kamloops

Bottle or Tap

Much concern over plastic bottles, the sale of bottled water and regulations around this modern day industry have been expressed in various media yet stacks of bottled water continue to fill supermarket aisles and refrigerators.  This trailer for the documentary, 'Tapped', gives a little window into the issues and provides more food for thought.  Water was the top concern for those who participated in Cranbrook Connected.
For more information:

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How to Get North America to Walk

From BBC News Magazine

How to get America to Walk, 

US cities built in the 20th Century have long catered for a population that prefers to take the car to shop, dine and work. But an ageing population and a young professional workforce looking for an urban lifestyle have forced city planners to reconsider the existing road and pavement infrastructure.
But how do you remake a city into a pedestrian dream, and how do you re-educate the public about its transportation choices?
The BBC's Franz Strasser went to Raleigh, North Carolina, where an unsanctioned street sign campaign called Walk Raleigh caught the attention of city officials and pedestrians alike
Watch the video:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Okanagon Foreclosures - Could it Happen Here?

From the CBC News

Foreclosures are on the rise in B.C.'s Central Okanagan in recent months, but local real estate agents disagree about who might be losing their homes.

There are more than 170 court-ordered sale properties on the market in the Central Okanagan, more than 10 times more than three years ago.

Real estate agent Jason Neumann says according to his estimates, in the last 30 days alone 60 new foreclosures were put on the market, and he calls it a disturbing trend.

Neumann is worried the number of foreclosures will bring the overall market down, hurting anyone who wants to sell their home.

"What do you tell your sellers that are not in foreclosure that are now up against something they didn't see coming? It's one of those things where the bank is going to have to do what it's got to do to get it sold."

Neumann thinks many working class families are losing their homes, but not all real estate agents agree.

Elton Ash, the vice-president of Remax Realty in Western Canada, says most of the foreclosed properties are from people who were trying to flip homes during the hot market a few years back.

"People weren't able to achieve their goals in doing this and so they quit making payments," he said.

The number of MLS listings in the Central Okanagan for foreclosed homes has been rising in recent years, according to these estimates provided by local real estate agent Kent Jorgenson. (CBC)

"The market in the Okanagan has really come to a standstill on that speculative investment front, and that is really what has been a major portion of the court-ordered sale thing that has increased so dramatically."

Ash says many Canadians are now buying vacation homes in the U.S., where prices are currently low, but he predicts prices will eventually rise in the U.S., and investment home buyers will again look to Kelowna.

Full article with video:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Planning this Year's Garden?

Want bees - plant Borage according to a study from the UK

Borage grows well in Cranbrook gardens and it will seed itself, volunteering a few plants the next season - just be careful not to weed out those fuzzy seed leaves when they first appear in the spring.  Borage is an annual.  It's flowers can be crystallized for cake decorating but it is probably more useful in the garden to lure in the bees!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Baillie-Grohman's Big Idea

B.C. history moves in strange and bizarre ways

Perceptions by Gerry Warner

As the deadline draws nearer to terminate or renew the Columbia River Treaty (CRT), an utterly bizarre episode of B.C. history could potentially play a role in the momentous decision to renew or cancel arguably one of the most controversial treaties ever signed by Canada and the United States.

And that almost forgotten historic episode took place a little over 100 years ago about 100 miles northeast of Cranbrook.

I’m referring, of course, to the visionary scheme of English explorer, adventurer and promoter William Baillie-Grohman to build a canal – a shallow ditch really – linking the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers at what is now known appropriately as Canal Flats in order to lower the level of the Kootenay River at Creston and create a 30,000 acre Garden of Eden in the rich alluvial soil that in those days laid just below the water level every summer.

It may sound kooky, but the scheme was actually possible because of a unique quirk of geography that sees the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers almost meeting at Canal Flats but then flowing in opposite directions. Baillie-Grohman was one of the first to realize this and set out with great gusto in the 1880’s to actually make it happen after securing an agreement with the provincial government to build the mile long canal in return for a substantial land concession at the south end of Kootenay Lake where Creston now sits.

Using mainly Chinese labourers and overcoming many obstacles that would have stopped a lesser man, Baillie-Grohman worked for a decade on the project, even building a lock on the unique waterway because the Kootenay River was 11 feet higher than the Columbia where the two rivers almost meet. In 1889, he declared the project complete, uniting the two mighty rivers and creating a navigable waterway for the paddle-wheelers of the day that ran more than 200 miles down the Rocky Mountain Trench from Golden, B.C. to Jennings, Montana.

But this was an ill-stared venture from the beginning with Baillie-Grohman spending almost all of his fortune on the project only to have it declared illegal by Ottawa because the provincial government exceeded its authority in allowing it to be built. Only three ships ever passed through the canal in its short history and the captain of the last one to go through the jerry-built waterway had to blast the lock out with dynamite in order to get through.

In the case of the Baillie-Grohman Canal, history ended with a bang instead of a whimper! And that should have been the end to it except for the historic sign that still stands at the south end of Columbia Lake explaining the ill-fated project.

But not quite.

To the immense surprise of this writer and history buff, and I’m sure many others, the Baillie-Grohman scheme is still alive, at least on paper, and the piece of paper on which it lives is an extremely important piece of paper – nothing less than the paper that the CRT is written on.

I’m not kidding you.

I came across this a few weeks ago thanks to a reporter in The Dalles, Oregon of all places. She was doing a feature on the upcoming negotiations over the future of the Treaty and sent me an article by the Bonneville Power Administration engineer who heads the studies on the American side for the CRT review. Under the Treaty signed in 1964, Canada was granted the right to divert the Kootenay River into the Columbia in three stages beginning in 1984 and extending until 2064. At that point, we could divert all of the Kootenay into the Columbia except for a flow of 1,000 cubic feet per second, rendering the giant Libby Dam in Montana next to useless.

Talk about history repeating itself. I literally didn’t believe this when I first read it and thought someone made a mistake. But I checked around and quickly found it’s true even though negotiators on either side of the border don’t talk about it much. So I quickly called Kindy Gosal, director of water and environment for the Columbia Basin Trust, and he confirmed it to me also.

But would Canada ever exercise its option to divert the Kootenay into the Columbia as Baillie-Grohman had done so unspectacularly 123 years ago? That’s a “daunting” prospect, Gosal replied. “No environmental assessment would ever allow it,” he said, adding the diversion would mean destruction of the world-famous Columbia River Wet Lands and a host of other devastating environmental impacts from Columbia Lake to the American border.

Oops! What was that noise I just heard? Was is Baillie-Grohman saying “I told you so” from the grave? Could have been.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

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

Thursday February 23
My World
An exhibition of photos
by Brian Clarkson
Key City Theatre Gallery
My World by Brian Clarkson

Thursday February 23
Winds Of Change
Cranbrook and District Arts Council
Gallery Opening in the new location
135, 10th Avenue S
Refreshments and entertainment

Thursday February 23
Heritage Inn 12:10- 1:00pm
One month's free membership if you join before March 22nd

Friday February 24th
Raising Kain Book Launch
Cranbrook Public Library
Manual Training Room
7:00- 8:30pm

Saturday February 25th
The 27th Annual
Mountain Freeskate Competition
8:00am - 8:30pm
Cranbrook RecPlex

Saturday February 25th
Royal Alex Masquerade

Monday February 27th
Cranbrook Writers Group
Cranbrook and District Arts Council

Tuesday February 28th
GoGo Grannies Travelogue with
Roger and Sharon Mitchell
South East Asia
7:00pm Lecture Theatre College of the Rockies
Proceeds to Stephen Lewis Foundation

Wednesday February 29th
Suzie Vinnick
at the Pavilion at the St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino
Tickets $25 at Just Music or

Cranbrook City Taxes Per Average Home Per Day

Click on image to enlarge

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Cranbrook and District Science Fair

Anna and Dani  having fun
The many students with enquiring minds who entered Cranbrook's Science Fair Competition were having a great time at the College of the Rockies on Wednesday February 22nd.

The displays continue on Thursday February 23rd.  As well as student experiments and displays there are many other interesting exhibits from various agencies in the area with adults in attendance to explain their work.
Luke Baxter knows the way to a Mayor's heart

Selling to their peers

The power of fruit by Hannah Davis

Future geologist - Jarod Jacob

Another civic minded student! - Ben Gilmet's great idea

Promoting - Nature of Things and Future City Feb.23rd

Eighty percent of us now live in an urban setting, and I think that the solution to our environmental problems is not to say ‘we’ve got break down cities and get everybody back to the land’ – that would be disastrous – but we have to make cities our major habitat…we have to make them more in balance, I think, with the rest of the things that keep us alive.” David Suzuki

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Green Building Conference

We usually keep our posts to Cranbrook Happenings but this opportunity is too good not to post.

The Green Building Conference is coming to Kimberley on March 2nd and 3rd!
Don’t  miss out on the opportunity to connect with leading builders, practitioners, and providers of green building services and products, from the Kootenays and beyond. 
Whether you are a home owner, builder, realtor, building official, have an interest in renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, building or renovating, we are gathering an amazing number of speakers and resources all under one roof, at the Kimberley Conference and Athlete Training Centre - for two days only! 
·         An Amazing array of Workshops on Friday and Saturday  - 4 days left to register at regular pricing!

Registration for individual workshops opens February 24th on a space available basis.

·         Green and Free! These two events are open to the public – free admission.
·          Keynote Speaker - Friday Night at 7 pm – Chris Turner, author of ‘The Leap’ has been called one of Canada’s leading writers and speakers on sustainability.  Check out his TEDxYYC talk on The Leap below then join us for his talk!  Book sales and mingle to follow.
·         Green Building Showcase – Saturday Afternoon from 12 noon until 4 pm.  Meet the builders, and suppliers and ask your questions about energy efficiency, renovations, solar and geothermal energy and more!

Elizabeth Lake Art Challenge Winners

Linda Popplewell, Mark Hall, Josie Ruoss, Sherri Parsons
The Winners of the Elizabeth Lake Art Challenge were awarded yesterday at a reception in the Key City Theatre.

Winners  were Reg Parsons (Sherri Parsons received the award on her husband's behalf), Mark Hall, Linda Popplewell, Rob Toller(not present) and Josie Ruoss

Post Notes for the Council Meeting of February 20, 2012

Public Hearing
Bylaws 3737 and 3739 consolidation of past amendments and the Slaterville Community Plan
There were no public comments.


·        David Wilks, MP Kootenay Columbia – Update from Ottawa concerning the planned changes to the OAS and mandatory retirement

·        Ron Miles and Shellie Hollister – Outdoor Lacrosse Box.  Ron Miles described how they have for many years been planning the building of a Lacrosse Box. He felt there were about 150 players.  The group has enough money to pay for the box.  He did not say who would be responsible for maintenance.  Mayor Stetski asked for a formal letter request concerning the project, which Mr. Miles would like to locate on the side of the Rec Plex in line with the ramp to enable the Zamboni to clean the ice in winter.

·        Erna Jensen Schill, Paul Willis, Dr. Iona Hale re Winter Air Quality Study.  These three took turns to give a brief overview of the effects of wood stove smoke from wood stoves that are burning poorly.  The health effects of very small particulate matter are significant.  The full report can be read and downloaded at:

And readers may wish to read our original posts which can easily be searched .  This is one:

Administrative Update
The entire update can be read at:

Fire and Emergency Services Report, Johnny Reid April 20, Lou Gramm June 16 Rec Plex, North Star Trail, Athletic Commission.
Councillor Scott described her visit as part of Cranbrook’s newly formed Athletic Commission, to Vernon to shadow the Commission there. Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing and some other sports cannot take place in a community without the existence of an Athletic Commission and up until now Cranbrook has not had one.

All correspondence can be read beginning

Business Arising
1.     Resolution concerning Waste Collection and Disposal Bag and Bin Limits
This resolution, which will limit the number of bags of garbage, permitted per household per week to 2 passed unanimously.  Extra bags will require a special tag which will need to be purchased.  This new limit brings Cranbrook in line with other communities in the area and is designed to encourage more recycling and the preservation of a limited landfill.
2.     Report Recommendation from Engineering Development Cost Charge Bylaw Update, Incremental Municipal Assist Factor Analysis.
Much discussion ensued around this difficult decision. Councillors Whetham and Cross wished to make industrial and commercial development easier to accomplish while at the same time enabling residential development to pay for itself.  Under current DCC regulations, different rates for different categories cannot be set.  Due to the significant jump in rates already necessary, Council agreed to maintain the current assist rates of 51% for roads and 11% for sewer and water.  Administration was asked to look into incentives for green construction such as storm water control.
All new draft rates will now undergo public review.

Committee Recommendations

Cranbrook in Motion – several concerns including pedestrian safety on Victoria.  The recommendations, which were all accepted, can be read at:

North Star Rails to Trails Designation as part of Trans Canada Trail

Appointment to the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan Committee
Patricia Whalen

New Business
1.     Urban Deer Cull Summary Report.  The report was accepted. A letter concerning the re-evaluation of catch and release was discussed under correspondence and this letter has been forwarded to the Deer Committee.

2.     Development Variance permit, Shadow Mountain

It is shocking that placing a property so close to a river would even have to be considered in light of current awareness around these issues and questionable past riparian and floodplain treatments.  It is heartening to see the administration recommendation is against this proposal.

The request from the landowner to ignore the 6metre set back was declined unanimously. The location of the property backing on to St. Mary’s River was designed to allow for the riparian zone, wildlife corridor and flood plain specifications.


Report Recommendations regarding zoning bylaws 3737 and 3739 (Slaterville), third reading and adoption.  Passed

The Cost of the Rec Plex

From the City's Five Year Financial Plan:

Multi-Purpose Recreation Complex

The City took over the operation of the Rec Plex in March, 2007. Projected revenues in 2012 from the Rec Plex, including pool operations, are $957,250 Operating expenses are estimated to be $2,513,551 before debt payments of $1,619,441.

This means the Rec Plex alone costs the city $3,175,742 per year.

Much has been said about the imbalance between Arts and Sports facilities in Cranbrook. There is no doubt we need both but when this figure is compared to the fact that the total sum of grants issued to the Studio, Cranbrook Archives Museum and Landmark Foundation, Key City Theatre, Symphony of the Kootenays and Cranbrook and District Arts Council is $188,305 it is easy to see the imbalance is huge. The cost to the city for operating the Rec Plex alone is fifteen times the total cost of operating all these arts programs and facilities which cater to thousands of residents

It's time for The Arts!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Science Fair Week

This is Science Fair Week.  The action has been going on for weeks in home kitchens and schools around Cranbrook but the results will be displayed this week, beginning Wednesday at the College of the Rockies. It is a spectacle not to be missed and kudos to all those involved for putting in the hours of work necessary to put on this huge event involving hundreds of children throughout the area.
Now Google is in on Science Fair excitement and this site provides another chance for enquiring minds.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Advance Notes for the Council Meeting of February 20,2012, 6:00pm

Public Hearing

Bylaws 3737 and 3739 both concerning the Slaterville Community Plan

· David Wilks, MP Kootenay Columbia – Update from Ottawa

· Ron Miles and Shellie Hollister – Outdoor Lacrosse Box

· Erna Jensen Schill, Paul Willis, Dr. Iona Hale re Winter Air Quality Study

Administrative Update

The entire update can be read at:
Fire and Emergency Services Report, Johnny Reid April 20, Lou Gramm June 16 Rec Plex, North Star Trail, Athletic Commission

All correspondence can be read beginning

Business Arising

1. Resolution concerning Waste Collection and Disposal Bag and Bin Limits

2. Report Recommendation from Engineering Development Cost Charge Bylaw Update, Incremental Municipal Assist Factor Analysis

Click to see in larger format

This recommendation can be read in its entirety at:
It contains this informative chart on assist factors in other communities.

Committee Recommendations

  • Cranbrook in Motion – several concerns including pedestrian safety on Victoria. The recommendations can be read at:

  • North Star Rails to Trails Designation as part of Trans Canada Trail

  • Appointment to the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan Committee

New Business

1. Urban Deer Cull Summary Report

2. Development Variance permit application, Shadow Mountain

It is shocking that placing a property so close to a river would even have to be considered in light of current awareness around these issues and questionable past riparian and floodplain treatments. It is heartening to see the administration recommendation is against this proposal.

Report Recommendations regarding zoning bylaws 3737 and 3739 (Slaterville), third reading and adoption

Cranbrook's Proposed Grants to Organisations

For the complete proposed Five Year Financial Plan:

Written submissions concerning the plan must be in by 4:00pm Wednesday February 29th.

Around Town and Looking Good

Signs of Spring


retreating snow and the bulbs are just emerging beneath the grasses

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Kujundzic at The Morris Gallery

In September of last year, Cranbrook in Bloom unveiled the restored Fink Fountain.  This now architectural, central feature in the Centennial Garden was designed and constructed by world renowned artist Zeljko Kujundzik.  Although watching all of this video may not be everyone's taste, it does demonstrate the extent of Kujundzik's work.  Cranbrook can be proud to possess two pieces of his work.

From the Morris Gallery in Victoria.

Your City Taxes

Cranbrook's proposed Five Year Financial Plan is now ready for viewing on the City's website at:

Written submissions concerning the plan are invited from the public and will be considered by Council at the Special Meeting on Monday, March 12, 2012, at 3:00 pm in the City Hall Council Chambers.
Written submissions must be received at City Hall by 4:00 pm, Wednesday, February 29, 2012

We will provide a few excerpts extracted directly from that plan.

Property Taxes

Service Levels

The majority of the City’s revenue is obtained through property taxes. When preparing the Budget, staff first determines the amount of revenue required to provide all the desired municipal services to our residents. Staff then determines the amount of revenue (other than property taxes) the City can expect to receive through fees and charges, federal and provincial government grants, etc. The difference between the budgeted expenditures and the other revenue represents the amount of property tax revenue the City must collect to provide the services to the levels prescribed by Council. To adjust the amount of property taxes required, the City must adjust the service levels provided. The challenge is to determine the appropriate service level weighed against the cost of providing that service. When the cost of providing a service increases (e.g. through inflation, changes in statutory requirements or product cost increases), the City must either raise more revenue to provide the same level of service or reduce the level of service provided.

The Tax Rate

The City determines the “tax rate” (a charge per $1,000 of assessed property value) by dividing the sum of all the assessed property values in the City by the amount of property tax revenue that must be collected. The “tax rate” is simply a means of determining how much each individual property owner must pay to receive the package of services provided by the City. The rationale for this approach is that owners of larger properties pay more than owners of smaller properties or that individuals owning larger homes, in general, have an ability to pay more than those in lesser valued properties. Consequently, we must calculate the tax rate each year based on the revenue the City must collect and the assessed values of all the properties in the City at that time. Changes in the total assessed values in the City will cause the tax rate to change, but will have no effect on the amount each property owner must pay unless his/her assessed value change is different than the average change in value.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Anastasia and Ballet Jorgen

sets down and still time to chat with admirers
Local dance students were not only part of the ballet Anastasia last evening but also had the opportunity to chat to some of the dancers after the packed house performance. Erin Hawkins from Aspire School of Dance played the young girl to whom the story was told. The tale played out using both traditional and modern ballet techniques is of the Russian Tsar’s youngest, free-spirited daughter, Anastasia and her mysterious disappearance. The part of Anastasia was appropriately and beautifully performed by Saniya Abilmajineva who is originally from Tashkent, Uzbekistan and who told the audience after the performance how she can relate to this part so well because it is part of her history.

This evening was for many, a highlight of the many performances we are privileged to have come to Cranbrook. A touring Company such as this is obviously unable to stun us with the kind of spectacular sets we might see in a large city and so the focus must be on the dancers and they did not disappoint. They were terrific and Anastasia was a treat.

a few of the performers post performance

Laptop Plugging Papa Proves Poor Parent

Perceptions by Gerry Warner

Wanna provoke an argument this week? Well, you don’t need to go far. All you need to do is open your favourite web browser and Google You Tube for a little lesson in “tough love” that will probably have more than 25 million hits by the time you read this.

Now that’s what I call truly viral.

Even in the often bizarre world of social media, 25 million views is a quantum amount more than the usual freak shows, deranged people and two-headed creatures that often draw 15 minutes of Andy Warhol fame on the Net.. The star of this freak show is one Tommy Jordan, a pistol-totting, North Carolina father with a 15-year-old ungrateful wretch of a daughter. Or so he would have you believe. And before, with great trepidation, I attempt to take sides in this very dark soap opera and most outrageous treatise on child rearing since the “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” erupted on the reading scene last year, take a look on You Tube for yourself.

You may be shocked and appalled, but I defy any parent not to have at least a smidgeon of sympathy, if not empathy, for what my good wife describes as “that !#!!@%$!! “Bantam rooster and cock of the walk,” who ought to be in jail. Jeez, how quickly they forget.

For those who haven’t yet seen Jordan in his white Stetson and jeans blasting his troubled teen’s computer into smithereens with his Colt 45 while sitting in a lawn chair in his yard haranguing his daughter for a Facebook post in which she complains “I’m not your damn slave” in reference to the chores her ogre parents expect her to do . . . . . well, you better sneak a peek. This four minute melodrama has ignited a world-wide debate about parenting that even tops the Tiger Mother’s screed.

Incredibly enough, despite the frustrated dad’s over-the-top response to typically rebellious teen behavior, Jordan has gathered a considerable amount of support from the torrent of comments that accompanies his viral video. “WAY TO GO DAD,” says Kat from Arkansas. “Finley a father who steps up and says I am not taking your *** any more!!!!!!!! (sic). “This father did what was right - I bet this will be the last time his daughter disrespects him,” adds another Jordan supporter.

But not everyone was heaping praise on the pistol-packing dad. “I don't like how my daughter did her homework; I think I'll burn her son did a poor job washing the car; I guess it's time for me to firebomb the car” says one. Eiling from Sydney, Australia wasn’t impressed either: “I teach teens and I know from many years of experience - treat them with respect and you get respect in return . . .” And Za Za Bishop adds: “I trust the child protection authorities have seen this. Clearly Mr. Jordan and his wife will have a case to answer.”

And Jordan, an IT specialist who had just spent $130 on software for his daughter’s laptop prior to pumping it full of holes, appears to be feeling some remorse. “I’ll agree that wasn’t a good example of me as a father. I had been reading that post again and again for about an hour, sometimes in tears, other times so mad my hands were shaking and I was trying very hard to be civil in my message. I slipped in that and said a word I shouldn’t have. I deserve a little backlash for that, no doubt.”

Millions, no doubt, are saying “amen” to his mea culpa. I’m sure Jordan loves his daughter deeply, but his reaction was excessive and extreme to the point of making a world-wide spectacle out of himself and God only knows what his monumental fit of pique did to the psyche of his no doubt horribly humiliated daughter .

But surely there’s another lesson to this bizarre episode. In this absurdly frenetic and technology-loving world we’re living in, maybe it’s time we all went off-line more often and tried to relate to each other more face-to-face without all the digital gizmos and gadgets.

The world will survive with one less computer and if that bullet-ridden laptop brings Jordan and his daughter closer together again something has been gained from an otherwise sorry – and scary – episode.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

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

Thursday February 16th
Toastmasters - looking for new members
Heritage Inn 12noon -1:00pm
free membership if you join before March 22nd

Thursday February 16th
Ballet Jogen
Key City Theatre
Tickets at the Key City Theatre box office

Friday February 17th
Mixed Media Workshop
for ages 8-14yrs
Phone Cranbrook and District Arts Council for details
(250) 426-4223

Friday February 17th
Columbia Basin Trust
Grant Writing Workshop
College of the Rockies
register at

Friday February 17th
Kin Club hosts
Heritage Day Dinner
Eagles Hall, 5:30pm
Tickets at the Seniors Hall

Friday February 17th
Facets of Liszt
with Allen Reiser
College of the Rockies
Admission free

Saturday February 18th
Seniors Dance
Seniors Hall

Saturday February 18th
20th Anniversary Gala at
The Key City Theatre
The Gala event on February 18 will feature a mix of local and national entertainers.Former members of the Canadian Tenors and the pop-opera band Destino, Paul Oullette and Leon Leontaridis will headline the evening.
Rounding out the evening is Banff composer/pianist William Cunningham, Jazz Council pianist Tim Plait, and the sensational Kimberley Dance Academy.
Tickets are $35 + tax and include a reception with wine and appetizers.

Monday February 20th
Garden Club meets at the
Manual Training Building
Cranbrook Library
new members welcome

Monday February 20th
Elizabeth Lake Challenge Reception
Key City Theatre
Winners of the Art Challenge announced

Monday February 20th
My World
An Exhibition at the Key City Theatre
Photos by Brian Clarkson
opens today

Ongoing Events at The Legion
Looking for new members and you can have someone sign you in at the front door if you aren't one. You no longer have to have a family member who served to join and all money raised gets distributed to local charities and schools. Meat draws every Friday and Saturday, poker on Wednesdays, a dart league, a pool league, live bands every other Friday

Another Potential Public Produce Garden

Cranbrook's first volunteer run Community Garden on loaned property.  This very successful garden is located on 14th Avenue South.
Cranbrook, BC (February 14, 2012) –  Another Public produce Garden is a step closer to reality in Cranbrook, after the Cranbrook Food Action Committee, through the City, was awarded a $20,000 Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Age-Friendly grant last week.

The UBCM Age-Friendly Community Planning and Project Grant will provide funds that will jump start the development of a Public Produce Project in Cranbrook through the hiring of a project manager. This position will be essential to ensuring completion of project activities including:

· engagement of seniors, community agencies and neighbourhood residents in the planning of a new community produce growing site;

· increase community awareness about the benefits of a public produce garden;

· purchase garden site equipment and structures;

· initiate the set-up of the garden site.

“The Cranbrook Food Action Committee is extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with the City of Cranbrook and our community’s experienced senior gardeners on this inter-generational community project,” says Pat Chisholm, Cranbrook Food Action Committee member. “This funding will help improve access to locally grown, affordable food for a significant cross section of local residents.”

For the full article:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More on Development Cost Charges

We have published several articles on the topic of DCCs in the last couple of months and a simple search in the search box will bring them all up.  We also published, last summer, important excerpts regarding DCCs from the Growth Management Study and they can still be found under the GMS tab at the top of the page.

Several comments from readers have raised important issues and we would like to add a little more background information.  DCCs were not introduced in Cranbrook until 1996 although they were brought in by the province in the 1970s.  It has been said by some that there was no development in Cranbrook between 1996 and 1999 because the DCCs were too high.  The DCCs were set for a single family residential lot somewhere between $4,000 and $5,000 we believe.  It may not be fair to blame the cost of DCCs alone on a slump in development because many factors may have been at play and it would be necessary to look at development in other neighbouring communities also.  The very fact that DCCs had never been charged before in Cranbrook may well have come as a deterrent no matter the cost.  However the fact remains, compared to other communities our DCCs have been extraordinarily low and our infrastructure has lagged behind in nearly every utility.  DCCs were lowered to encourage development but appropriate DCCs would have contributed to the upgrades that were necessary as that development came on line.  Instead upgrades were not made and things deteriorated. 

Times were good and DCCs were a deal but now times we do realise are much tougher.  However, to keep DCCs artificially low will not solve Cranbrook's problems but will only help to compound them.  There is a cost to quality and Cranbrook has a lot of catching up to do.  A run down city is not attractive to many businesses, families or tourists and long term economic devlopment must be a priority.

The amount of assistance which municiplaities provide to the DCC rates is another decision which must be made by Council.  This assistance or subsidy which is paid as a percentage of the DCC amount is paid for by taxpayer in our City Taxes.

Some compromise and creative thinking will have to come into play for this decision which will impact all Cranbrook's residents and Cranbrook's future.

From the Growth Management Management Study:

The Municipality of Sooke has a powerpoint presentation which might be of interest to some especially the tables on sides 16 and 17 displaying DCC rates in various communities on the Vancouver Island.

and another interesting document:

The Convenience of Recycling

We received this note from a reader yesterday:

'Just in case you’re interested,  has a story out today that Wal-Mart is removing its community recycling centre. Perhaps some of the more community-minded businesses in town should be/are willing to step in and take over this important function?'

 Recycling happens more often when it is convenient and apparently the Wal-Mart Centre was heavily used and very popular. While we don't know why this recycling centre is being removed there is the transfer station recycling centre very close by so it would be great to see a business or organisation take this on in an area of town where there isn't a recycling centre. 

There are also two curbside recycling businesses in Cranbrook - Visionary Recycling and Earth Elements.  There is a monthly fee of course for this service as the city does not offer this utility. This writer loves the service and finds it is so much easier to recycle knowing that once a week the bins go out and get emptied.   After the gift of a year's subscription this household has not gone back to the weekly drive to the transfer station.  It is so convenient.


Visionary Recycling 426-3332 Phone for fees

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jane Jacobs

Anyone who has an interest in Urban Planning knows a little about this incredible lady.  Jane Jacobs died in 2006 but her many words of wisdom still hold true.

Jane Jacobs

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

Bottom-Up Community Planning

Jacobs contested the traditional planning approach that relies on the judgment of outside experts, proposing that local expertise is better suited to guiding community development. She based her writing on empirical experience and observation, noting how the prescribed government policies for planning and development are usually inconsistent with the real-life functioning of city neighborhoods.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

'Karl Foerster' - the All Season Plant

The all season plant.  This sturdy plant with year round interest is deer resistant, hardy and low maintenance. Just try running your hand along one of the leaves to discover why deer don't like it!  The leaves have sharp edges. Calamagrostis X acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', Feather Reed Grass or 'Karl Foerster' to most, has gained great popularity in this area but it was many years ago when Piet Oudolf, a very well known garden designer, began using it in his fashionable prairie landscapes in Europe that grasses became the 'in thing' is garden design.  'Karl Foerster' needs good watering to get established but grows quickly to become a clump about 1m tall by 1m wide.  It is sterile and non-spreading which makes it a very well-behaved and an ideal low maintenance plant.  Shear off the plants close to ground level at the end of March and enjoy another full season of its changing beauty.  If you need more plants, just divide one large clump into many.  That is easier said than done for you will need an axe , a very heavy, sharp propagating knife or a lot of patience to get it into pieces but the reward is worth it!  It is best divided early in the spring after giving it a major hair cut.

winter 2012

Community in Bloom judges enjoying - summer 2007

spring 2007

first planted 2006

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Boys That Wear the Red Serge

Perceptions by Gerry Warner

It was one of those moments. We were sitting around the City Council table and everyone seemed in a congratulatory mood as the latest quarterly RCMP statistics were read. And then I noticed one of the items in the report that went unmentioned – the Cranbrook RCMP detachment was down one member. You guessed correctly. It was the member recently charged with theft for allegedly stealing a laptop computer from a local pawnshop.

The information was there for every council member to see, as well as the public on the City’s web page, but no one said a thing.

I was tempted to ignore it too. The story had appeared in the local media and got some national play. And it was Cranbrook Council, and Council above all else, loves to be positive. And once again this was the case as several Council members praised the Force for the wonderful job it’s doing regardless of the fact that one of its members had just been charged criminally right here in River City.

Damn it, I thought. Even the little boy in the fairy tale had the temerity to say, “The emperor has no clothes.” But no one at this Council table was going to say anything. Is it important? You’re darn right it’s important. RCMP service is one of the most costly items in the City’s budget, which we’d just spent six weeks reviewing. Does this sort of thing happen very often? Not in Cranbrook, but now it had and no one on Council seemed to care. Wasn’t this a great opportunity to hear what the RCMP had to say about the incident? After all, there were three RCMP members in the gallery, including the inspector.

So when it was my turn to speak, I was a little hesitant. Why not just play along with the crowd? It would be the politically safe and expedient thing to do. You don’t cross the RCMP and you don’t want to be the odd one out on Council. But then I thought, what am I here for? To march in step with the band or raise concerns that I’m sure would be of interest to the public? Rightly or wrongly, I decided the public’s right to know trumps every other concern.

Know what, you ask? Well, here’s a very incomplete list of alleged RCMP transgressions over the past several years:

  •  Air India bombing, more than 300 lives lost in by far the biggest act of terrorism in Canadian history. On June 25, 2005, Prime Minister Harper apologized to the families of the victims for “institutional failings” by the RCMP and CSIS saying, “the protection of citizens is the first objective of government.”

  • On Oct. 25, 2005, a RCMP officer claiming self-defence shot 22-year-old Houston millworker Ian Bush in the back of the head after picking him up for having an open beer outside the local hockey arena. A police inquiry later cleared the officer.

  •  On Oct. 14, 2007, four burly RCMP officers arrested and tasered Robert Dziekański five times at the Vancouver International Airport with the would be Polish immigrant dying a few minutes later. Amateur video of the incident resulted in a torrent of criticism from around the world. Inquiry Commissioner Justice Robert Braidwood deplored the “shameful conduct” by the officers involved.

  • On Jan. 27, 2012 B.C. RCMP Assistant Commissioner Craig Callens, said the Force felt “deep regret” for not catching serial killer Robert Pickton earlier. "We could have done more." A female RCMP member of the Pickton team said she was sexually harassed by male officers during the investigation and several other female members have since leveled charges of harassment against male members.

  • On Jan 11, 2012, a RCMP officer in charge of the Merritt detachment was charged with stealing cocaine from the detachment’s evidence lockup.

In response to my question, Inspector Brian Edmondson pointed out that these incidents are relatively few in a Force that numbers close to 18,000 members in Canada. Police have to make quick decisions in difficult circumstances and most of the time they do it correctly and professionally, “but that never makes the news,” Edmondson replied.

I agreed with him and even related a recent incident in which a RCMP member acted with great dispatch in locating an elderly relative of my wife’s that had dropped out of sight. But what about the list above and many other recent RCMP incidents that have resulted in the Force being seen in a negative light? Should we leave it up to the police to investigate themselves? I don’t think so and when it happens in your own back yard, I think you have every right to raise questions in any venue, including the Council table.

You may disagree.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

An Award from the Canadian Federation of Municipalities

Cranbrook has won a 2012 Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Sustainable Communities Award for Water on Wednesday February 8, 2012 in Ottawa.

Thank You and Congratulations to all those who have worked to see this project happen.

The award is for the long overdue and much needed upgrades to Cranbrook's Waste Water Management Program.  The program will be completed this year.

There are still some issues of concern for some area residents, including, not surprisingly residents of Fort Steele.  We have every hope however, those concerns will now be addressed in the future.  To watch a short video about the system:

What's Happening...

Thursday, February 9

Through Human Eyes
The documentary film by Cranbrook film maker
Chelsea McCormack about the humanitarian work
of local Dr. Bob Cutler
Key City Theatre, 7:30pm
Admission by donation

Open House at College of the Rockies
Drop by between 4-6 to get all you questions answered
about Post Secondary Education.

Friday, February 10

Bad Art Night
Cranbrook and District Arts Council
at 135-10th Avenue South.
Call Trish Barnes for more information at 250-426-0474

Saturday, February 11

Pie Sale
The Anglican Church Women will hold
their annual pie sale this afternoon
A piece of pie with coffee and tea costs $4
Whole pies go on sale at 2pm
Anglican Church Hall on 13th Avenue South

Valentines Day Dance
A dance will be held at the Heritage Inn
starting at 7:30pm.
Live music provided by the big band the Noteables and the
jazz combo , the Little Jazz Orcestra.
Tickets $20, Available at Lotus Books

Sunday, February 12

Eagles Pancake Breakfast
A pancake breakfast will be held between
9am to11:30 at the Eagels Hall on Kootenay St.
The cost is $5. This is a fundraiser for the
Heart and Stroke Fundation

Tuesday, February 14

Accoustic Mic at DD Magee's
Open Mic night hosted by David Prinn
this evening and every Tuesday night between
6:30 - 10:30pm

Wednesday, February 15

Deadline for visual artists to submit entries to the
Cranbrook and District Arts Council uncoming exhibition
"Winds of Change" which opens on February 21

Thursday February 16

with Ballet Jogen,7:30pm
Key City Theatre
Tickets at the Key City Theatre Box office

Saturday February18

Gala Celebration at the Key

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Close to a Decision on Development Cost Charges

Finally, some momentum on Development Cost Charges by City Hall.  After deferring the issue, yet again, at the Monday City Council Meeting, it looks like a this issue will be finalized at the next meeting (February 20). The taxpayer has been overly subsidizing the development community by thousands of dollars on each lot developed here in Cranbrook. Cranbrook charges $2036 per lot to the developer.  It costs the City substantially more to provide the extra infrastructure upgrades for roads, water and sewer to these lots. Most of the other communities in the East Kootenays charge higher DCC rates, such as Fernie $12,000 and Invermere $9480.  The DCC rate is not a punitive measure but rather a way for the City to recover the costs of providing extra services to new lots without letting the burden fall on the taxpayer.
The City does provide the developers with "an assist". What that "assist" should be is part of the discussion going on right now at City Hall.   Maybe, the City should look at the Growth Management Study (GMS) for which the citizens of this community paid $500,000 or $1000 for each page for an answer. Its recommendation concludes that  DCC's should be raised considerably. It's time for developers to pay their fair share and its time for the City to make a decision on this contentious issue.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Special Presentations to George Georgopoulos and FJ Hurtak

Two special presentations were made at last evening's Council Meeting to honour those responsible for the Annual Seniors' Christmas Dinner.

Mayor Stetski recounted the annecdote of how, many years ago when George could not afford to return to Greece for his parents funeral, he resolved to do something to honour them.  The Annual Seniors Christmas Dinner was born. 

Initially it was completely funded by George of the Apollo Restaurant and it was held at the Inn of the South(now the Heritage Inn) for many years.  As it grew, larger premises were required and it has now been held at the Colombo Lodge for several years.  With FJ Hurtak's assistance for entertainment and coordination, as well as the Cranbrook Rotary Club, the tradition is one of Cranbrook's finest. The Rotary Club has now agreed to take over the event as George retires.


F J Hurtak, Mayor Stetski and George Georgegopoulos

Post Notes for the Council meeting of February 6th 2012


1. Corporal Pat Prefontaine reported that due to a concentrated focus on four prolific offenders there has been a 40% reduction in violent offences in the last quarter. The PARTY (Prevent Alcohol and Risk related Trauma in Youth) program is being restructured but the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program is underway in schools.

2. Chris Dadson, President Tourism BC gave a slide presentation demonstrating the ups and downs of tourism in BC. Tourism has currently levelled off after a rise and then substantial fall over the last ten years. 2/3 of all BC’s visitors are from Alberta but the UK holds the top spot for international visitors followed by Germany and Western Europe. BC is looking to see a climb in visitors from China now that Canada has received approved visitation status by that country. The number one interest for visitors is National Parks. New marketing strategies for BC include a series of apps for I phone, Androids and Blackberry. (Search for Kootenay apps). 9% of total employment in BC is involved with tourism.

3. Jennifer Krotz, Columbia Basin Trust, CBT Grants This delegate did not appear.

4. Sioux Browning and Linda Holmes from the Cranbrook and District Arts Council reviewed their strategy and plans for the eventual operation of Firehall no. 1. They also requested in kind support for a series of Concerts in the Park this coming summer.

Administration Update
CAO Pearce reviewed the report concerning Secondary Suites, Community Builder of the Year Award, Council meeting DVD recordings and the Public Library, Wastewater Improvement program, report from Fire and Emergency Services, Lift at Senior’s Hall
The Complete Report can be read at:

Correspondence 9.1 – 9.6

9.2 A letter raising the issue of small animal husbandry within city boundaries was referred to The Family and Community Services Committee for further discussion.

9.4 The request for bus passes for MT. Baker students to the Business Expo and Career fair March 8th was granted.

Business Arising

10.1 Shaw Cable rebroadcasting
A resolution to send a letter to Shaw expressing dissatisfaction with rebroadcasting of Council meetings was passed.

10.2 Sidewalk Snow clearing

It was resolved to not introduce a bylaw requiring residents clear their sidewalks after a snowfall but that encouragement continue to be given. It was moved by Councillor Whetham however, that staff look into the potential for consolidating the sidewalk clearing services that the city currently does, into contiguous routes rather than the disconnected clearing that is now done and at no extra cost to the city. This resolution passed by a vote of 6 to 1. Councillor Scott opposed.

10.3 Development Cost Charges and Municipal Assist Factors

Council was presented with a series of tables showing how various assist factors would affect the setting of a new DCC rate.

Councillors Pallesen and Scott both expressed their view that assist factors should be kept to 51% as in the past, in order to encourage development in these tough economic times. Councillors Whetham and Cross expressed their concerns with this arrangement as it amounts to a large subsidy from taxpayers to the developer for cost of roads, storm sewer, sewer and water for the new development.

Mayor Stetski pointed out that DCCs have not been reviewed since 2004. With an assist factor of 1% for a single-family home in a low density area the cost to the developer would rise from $2,032.00 to $11,409.00.

Councillor Whetham expressed his view that rationales for the varying rates need to be examined and varying needs should be taken into account.

The matter was deferred.

DCCs were a large topic in the Growth Management Study and more information is available both on the City website and under the tab at the top of this page. It should be noted Cranbrook’s DCC rate has been one of the lowest in the area and there has been no increase for 8 years.

Invasive Plant Management Program

The motion to not contribute to the Invasive Plant Management Program passed by the last Council in the fall of 2011 was rescinded by a vote of 5 to 2, Councillors Scott and Pallesen opposed. A new motion to contribute to the program with an amount of $9600.00 was passed by a vote of 5 to 2, Councillors Scott and Pallesen opposing.

Mayor Stetski expressed his concern that without Cranbrook’s participation the program within the RDEK cannot go ahead. Councillors Pallesen and Scott expressed their views that this is a rural issue and that Cranbrook has a program within the city limit and that a decision to not participate had already been made.  Councillors Pallesen and Scott also objected to the City paying the 'lion's share' of this program despite Cranbrook's relatively small area.  Councillors Whetham, Cross and Mayor Stetski gave reasons for the city’s need to participate, explaining the very large population of Cranbrook is a large and contributing factor, (by way of their use of the rural areas) to the invasive weed problem which is very real and is endangering biodiversity.

New Business

12.1 Traffic management Notice of Motion from Councillor Warner

12.2 Proposed City Promotion Production Segment for Today in America at a cost of $24800.00. Not recommended.

12.3 Front yard setback for North Star Motors, Variance Permit to reduce setback

12.4 More on the application from North Star Motors
The concern of hand watering trees and shrubs was raised, as this method of watering is not sufficient for establishment of trees and shrubs. Director Staudt pointed out there is now $125000.00 hold back for landscaping.

12.5 Façade Renovation Application for Community Connections Society 16, 12 Av N. – the old Shannon’s Fabric Block

12.6 Adjustment to Fire and Emergency Services to extend Response Boundary to include Highway 3 and 95A to include the area of the Spray Irrigation Site.

Due to advertising error the Public Hearings for The Slaterville OCP bylaws 3737 and 3739 must re rescheduled. Rescheduled for February 20th.

South Hill Leaks Again

There were probably more than a few mutterings when the ship sprang another leak yesterday.  Taxpayers have been paying the price for less than satisfactory construction for many years.  It is good to know the topics of DCCs, quality of road construction and infrastructure are front and foremost these days. 

11St. S and 12th Avenue.S 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Advance Notes for the Council Meeting of February 6th 2012 6:00pm


1. Corporal Pat Prefontaine re Mayor’s report 4th Quarter 2011

2. Chris Dadson. President, Wendy van Puymbroeck, Emilie Cayer-Hoard, Re Tourism BC

3. Jennifer Krotz, Columbia Basin Trust, CBT Grants

4. Sioux Browning and Linda Holmes. Cranbrook and District Arts Council Fire Hall/ Arts Centre Funding Request Summer Concert-in-the-Park Series.

Administration Update
Concerning Secondary Suites, Community Builder of the Year Award, Council Meeting DVD recordings and the Public Library, Wastewater Improvement Program, Report from Fire and Emergency Services, Lift at Senior’s Hall
Complete Report at:

Correspondence 9.1 – 9.6
9.2 is a letter raising the issue of small animal husbandry within city boundaries

9.4 concerns request for bus passes for MT. Baker students to the Business Expo and Career fair March 8th

Business Arising

10.1 Shaw Cable rebroadcasting

10.2 Sidewalk Snow Clearing

10.3 Development Cost Charges Municipal Assist factors - continuing the discussion

10.4 Invasive Plant Management Program

New Business

12.1 Traffic management Notice of Motion

12.2 Proposed City Promotion Production Segment for Today in America at a cost of $24800.00. Not recommended.

Approval is recommended by administration for all these items:

12.3 Front yard setback for North Star Motors, Variance Permit to reduce setback

12.4 More on the application from North Star Motors

Joseph Creek Riparian zone and access as well as aesthetics for Terralee residents need to be considered. Were residents consulted as well as Business owners? If this proposal goes ahead what guarantee is there, landscaping plans will be adhered to? For tree establishment, hand watering is not recommended and it needs to be recognised that recent plantings undertaken by Cranbrook in Bloom and the City all have in ground irrigation.
In February 2011 we voiced our concern about the treatment of riparian areas within the city.
Considering the number one issue for Cranbrook's Integrated Sustainability Plan is 'water', isn't it time Cranbrook adopted the Provincial Regulations for Riparian Areas?

12.5 Façade Renovation Application for Community Connections Society 16, 12 Av N. – the old Shannon’s Fabric Block

12.6 Response Boundary Adjustment Fire and Emergency Services

Due to advertising error the Public Hearings for The Slaterville OCP bylaws 3737 and 3739 must re rescheduled. Rescheduled for February 20th.