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, March 31, 2012

City’s Chief Administration Officer Leaves for Vernon

From a City of Vernon News Release:

City of Vernon Hires Chief Administrative Officer
Mayor Rob Sawatzky is pleased to announce that Will Pearce has accepted the position of Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Vernon. He replaces Marg Bailey, Interim CAO who has temporarily been in the position since the former CAO, Leon Gous, resigned in December 2011.

Earth Hour and Facing Facts

TODAY 8:30pm

1. What is Earth Hour?

Earth Hour is a global movement uniting people to protect the planet. On the last Saturday of March every year, Earth Hour brings together communities from across the world celebrating a commitment to the planet by switching off lights for one designated hour.
2. When does Earth Hour take place?
Earth Hour 2012 will be held on Saturday March 31 between 8.30PM and 9.30PM in your local time zone.
3. What does Earth Hour aim to achieve?
Earth Hour aims to encourage an interconnected global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world.
4. What does Earth Hour ask people to do?
Earth Hour encourages individuals, businesses and governments to show leadership on environmental solutions through their actions, to use Earth Hour as a platform to showcase to the world what measures they are taking to reduce their environmental impact. Earth Hour asks everyone to take personal accountability for their impact on the planet and make behavioural changes to facilitate a sustainable lifestyle. Taking the first step is as easy as turning off your lights. By switching off your lights for Earth Hour you are acknowledging and celebrating your commitment to do something more for the planet that goes beyond the hour.
5. Is the campaign more than just lights out?
Earth Hour believes that the symbolism of the hour is incredibly important in bringing people and communities together across the globe. But our aspiration from the beginning was to go far beyond the hour itself. In 2012, Earth Hour launched I Will If You Will, a platform to incentivise and inspire individuals to share their commitment to the planet with their friends, colleagues, leaders and networks. Earth Hour also encourages and promotes many other initiatives around the world, including the Earth Hour City Challenge
This is the first of a series of thought provoking videos.

Queen of the Sun, COR April 4th 7:30pm

Friday, March 30, 2012

Only Poetry Can Do Justice to BC Politics

Perceptions by Gerry Warner

“There are strange things done in the midnight sun . . .” wrote Canada’s greatest poet more than 100 years ago and if Robert Service was alive today I’m sure he’d start his great epic a little differently . . . “there are strange things going on in Victoria these days.”
How strange? Well, where do I begin?  First it was 11-year MLA and former cabinet member John van Dongen jumping ship Monday, quitting the Liberals to sit in the House as the first Conservative wannabe in many years and saying some very nasty things about his former party and Premier Christy Clark to boot.
Whew! And, if that wasn’t enough, van Dongen’s bombshell announcement Monday is followed by two senior cabinet ministers and three back-bench Liberal MLA’s saying Thursday they are considering not running in the next provincial election in May 2013. What’s going on here? Are the Taliban at the gates of Victoria? Will they march down Government Street to the Legislature?  Stay tuned. You may take this as a joke but I’m telling you it’s not very far from the truth, at least metaphorically, especially when one of the cabinet ministers cites “family concerns,” the ultimate fib of any politician from Victoria to Washington D.C. (I say this because if they genuinely had family concerns they wouldn’t have entered politics in the first place.)
So what is going on here? Well, you don’t have to be the proverbial rocket scientist to figure that out. This is a government in total disarray! Even in the last, dark days of the much derided government of former NDP Premier Glen Clark nothing remotely close to this occurred -- cabinet ministers openly musing about not running again. (Finance Minister Kevin Falcon and  Education Minister George Abbott)  Three sitting MLA’s saying the same thing. (Joan Macintyre, Kash Heed and Randy Hawes) And saying it more than a year before the next provincial election. And, oh yes, another minister (Harry Bloy) resigning from cabinet less than two weeks ago. Will the last Liberal MLA to leave the Legislature turn off the lights?
At this point, you have to wonder how Clark, dubbed  Ms. Photo Op, by her many critics, will even be leading her party in the next election? Some observers say Falcon, who holds the crucial finance portfolio and finished a close second to Clark in the Liberal leadership race, is the power behind the throne and still lusts for the leader’s role. It’s also obvious that the dark shadow of former Premier Gordon Campbell lies heavy over the provincial Liberals and there is much unfinished business in the party.
This is ironic because potentially the most lethal shot van Dongen took at Clark as he made his hasty exit was about the B.C. Rail scandal and the Basi/Virk affair, which the Campbell Liberals have been trying to bury for years. Van Dongen has hired a lawyer to get to the bottom of the B.C. Rail mess and the lawyer he hired, Roger McConchie, is considered very capable and was earlier given “unprecedented access” to Crown files in the corruption case, according to a Globe and Mail story this week.
In the celebrated case, defendants Dave Basi and Bobby Virk copped a plea to breach of trust just before senior government ministers were expected to testify in the corruption trial and the government spent $6 million of public money to cover their legal fees, something van Dongen calls “completely contrary to government policy, according to the story by Mark Hume.
If an NDP government is elected in May , Opposition Leader Adrian Dix says it will launch a public inquiry into the B.C. Rail affair which may reveal the seamy undersides of several unturned stones in Victoria and seal the fate of the provincial Liberals, one way or the other, for ever. Ever wonder why they call politics a “blood sport” in B.C.?
So the stakes are already high and there’s more than 13 months to go before the next provincial election, which could be the ugliest in B.C. history and that’s saying something in a province known for its visceral campaigns.
Clearly the Liberals are on the ropes and the two upcoming byelections in the Lower Mainland will probably confirm this. The government is not expected to win either one of them in what normally should be friendly territory.
Then there’s the revival of the BC Conservatives, which alone could split the vote and guarantee an NDP victory. But let’s not get carried away because over the years the many ways the BC NDP has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory is a wonder to behold.
Will they do it again in May 2013? The clock is ticking.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Columbia Basin Trust

From the Columbia Basin Trust website:

Over the next few weeks we have been and will post some of the information available at the Columbia Basin Trust website.  Treaty discussions have begun and as residents and beneficiaries of the Columbia Basin Trust we would like to raise awareness of the mass of knowledge on the Columbia Basin Trust website.

Columbia River Treaty

What is it?
The 1964 Columbia River Treaty (CRT) is an international agreement between Canada and the United States to coordinate flood control and optimize hydroelectric energy production on both sides of the border.

Why learn about it now?
The year 2024 is the earliest date either Canada or the United States may terminate the CRT, provided 10-year advance notice is given in 2014. It's possible either country may wish to renegotiate parts or all of the CRT, or terminate it entirely. Now is the time to find out how this 1964 international agreement relates to dams and reservoirs in the Columbia Basin and why it matters to your community, the Columbia Basin and all of BC.

What's Happening...

Thursday, March 29

Cranbrook Community Forest Society AGM
7pm College of the Rockies Rm 114
Come out to find out what's happening in your Forest

Roller Derby
8pm-10pm Laurie Jr. High School Gym
Cranbrook Mtn. Maulers are looking for some fresh recruits.
Come out and try on a pair of skates. Over 18 years only

Cranbrook Legion Thursday Night Darts (Every Thursday Night)
#24 - 803 Cranbrook St. N., Downstairs
For more information please call 250-426-4512

Friday, March 30

The Vagina Monologues
7pm, Key City Theatre
Fundraiser for The Cranbrook Women's Resource Centre
Tickets are $25 and available through Key City Theatre Box Office

Saturday, March 31

Girl Guide Cookie Blitz
10am-4pm Safeway, Save on Foods, Walmart and Zellers
The spring cookie campaign has begun. Your favourite and mine chocolate and vanilla.
$4 per box

Social Dance at the Cranbrook Seniors Hall
All are welcome. Starts 7pm
Tickets are $10
Call 250-489-2720 for more information

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Youth Arts Centre

It is no secret that a group of Cranbrook residents are doing their best to make progress on this.  This great little video was made by Mt Baker Students.

You(th) from C'est Pas Moi Productions on Vimeo.
A short documentary for Cranbrook's upcoming Youth Arts Centre.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cranbrook Ranks 97 out of 190, Best Places to Live 2012

Money Sense this month features its 'Best Places to Live 2012'
A total of 105 points was up for grabs. Each category (below) was allotted a number of points depending on the importance of the category. For example, employment statistics are worth 10 points while sales taxes are worth 1 point. Some categories are further broken into subcategories. For example, the crime category is determined by statistics in the subcategories of violent crime, crime severity and total crime.
The top city in each category received the maximum number of points, and the rest of the cities received descending incremental points based on their ranking.
For example, in the area of unemployment, Estevan, Sask. had the lowest unemployment rate in the country (1.6%). It was ranked No. 1 in that category and received 10 points. The second-best city in the unemployment category, Wetaskiwin, Alta., received 9.95 points. The next city was Swift Current, Sask. with 9.89 points and so on down to the 190th city (Bay Roberts, N.L. unemployment rate 16.8%), which received 0.53 points.
Calculations for some other categories follow a slightly different methodology. For example, in the category of population growth, an annual rate of 7.9% was considered ideal. Anything below or above that rate loses points and cities with a population loss got zero. The same is true for the subcategory of precipitation, which makes up part of the weather category. (The ideal number is 700 mm a year, with anything above or below that losing points accordingly)
As well, 5 bonus points have been added based on the percentage of people employed in arts, culture, recreation and sports.

While a perfect score in all categories would give a city 105 points, the top city this year, Ottawa, only garnered 74.11 points. Our lowest ranking city, New Glasgow, N.S., scored 33.8 points.
A city’s points are then ranked with all other cities to determine the best places to live overall.

In our ranking out of 190 places to live, we ranked low (162) in affordable housing, low in possession of new cars (172), low in low crime rate(165).  Interestingly we ranked relatively high in doctors per 1000 population at 17 and weather at 38.  One must assume the number of doctors would include specialists which would skew the appearance of family doctor availability. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Waking Up the Garden

by Jenny Wren Garden Design

With snow almost gone it's time to think about the garden. 

I know I'm itching to get out on any clear patch of grass I can see.  There are last year's apples that didn't get picked, which now fall in messy blobs and need to be cleaned up before the dogs eat them.  There are patches of grass which can be raked and freed of excess bird feeder debris and with the blue sky visible today I'm hopeful more can be accomplished soon!

Rest assured your trees shrubs and perennials will wake up by themselves. However a little T.L.C. on your part will ensure healthier plants.  If you are worried those plants just seem too slow in getting going, get down on your knees and look closely.   It’s so exciting at this time of year to see all those plants creeping out of their slumber and getting ready for summer’s party of foliage, blooms and fruits.  If you are new to gardening in a cold climate, this spring check-list might help make getting going less intimidating.


-        Most shrubs do not need much help!
-        Clean up around the base and spread some bonemeal or/and a general purpose fertilizer if you wish.  Remember phosphorous and potash feed the roots and flowers. 
-         Raspberries and currant bushes need to be pruned  …  refer to a manual or Google for correct procedure.  Raspberries are relatively easy …  just prune out last year’s dead canes.  The new ones are obvious by their green buds.
-          Place large pots with (holes in the bottom) upside down over rhubarb to force early stems
-          Spray shrubs with dormant oil only if necessary BEFORE the buds open - now is the time. Dormant oil will smother such pests as scale insects.
-          Prune out any dead stems or stems that obviously get in the way of one another (cross overs).
-         Roses.  Wait until you see buds swelling or opening and then prune back to a node (bud) above the living stem.  Again, prune out stems that rub or cross too closely.
-       Some Spireas need cutting back to encourage the best flowers … these are the herbaceous (mostly the pink flowering ones)ones - not the real woody, white flowering types.  These can be pruned for shape after blooming.  As with most flowering shrubs, prune immediately after flowering.  If you prune now you are removing all the flower buds.
-        Renew mulches if desired.


-    Prune as early as you can and only if necessary.  If your tree is too tall for your liking, you have the wrong tree in that place for no matter how much you prune, it will always attempt to reach the height it was destined to be.  Raising the canopy by pruning from underneath is a far better choice than chopping off the top of the tree.  Pruning once the sap is running will encourage more growth.  If you have lots of water sprouts, (straight vertical woody stems caused by the previous years pruning), now is the time to remove them.  Prune out branches that cross to closely or rub together.  
-    Spray with dormant oil only if you feel it is necessary. Dormant oil smothers the eggs of overwintering insects - all, good and bad.
-    Most trees will get enough nutrients through their deep root systems but if you want to    encourage growth, fertilise only after a tree is well established (two years after planting) and water well.  Fruit especially will benefit from fertilizer.
-    Apply mulch to help with water conservation.

We'll deal with perennials next week.

If you plan on planting a vegetable garden this year , it is not too early to get some spinach in if you have a clear patch - really.  It likes cold weather.

First Crocus

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dog Deposits and The Community Forest

Ah, the perennial dirty business of a winter's accumulation of dog doo.  It is a smelly topic and one, which could be avoided if dog owners would just pick up after their dogs or walk them in the forest in a less travelled area.  Recently The Playpen in Cranbrook generously offered to supply doggy bags to a couple of locations in or close to town, in popular dog walking areas.  This will be a great service for those who have forgotten to bring their baggies with them but then along with pick-up duty comes the problem of what to do with the bag.  Disposal bins would be the next good addition to areas where dogs are walked.   Unfortunately it is not unusual to see baggies carefully placed behind bushes or hanging from a tree waiting to be collected at a later date maybe?  This shameful practise makes matters worse because the contents cannot be absorbed back into the ground and the baggy is noxious plastic. 


Currently one popular entrance to the Community Forest is very unpleasant and complaints have been received.   So for all those dog owners who walk in the Community Forest, how about a clean up day or a whip around for a disposal unit?  It would be a lot cheaper than what has been proposed in this area of the UK!


This article came from the Daily Telegraph

 March 17 2012

Dog mess could be subjected to DNA testing under plans being considered by a council


Officials in Lancashire are in discussions with a foresnsic vet over plans to analyse dog dirt found on pavements and in parks.  The scheme has been used effectively in Europe and in the United States and is seen as an option to help tackling the growing problem of dog fouling.
Last year, Hyndburn borough council voted to call on the Government to increase the maximum fixed penalty notices for dog fouling from £75 to £1,000.
Ken Moss, a councillor who proposed the scheme, said talks about DNA testing are at an “early stage”.
If it goes ahead, it would be one of the first schemes of its kind in the country.
Mr Moss, who is chairman of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, said: “I am led to believe there are only two of these vets in Britain and they work by analysing the samples and identifying the dog by DNA. It’s something that has been used in tourism hot spots on the Continent and is something they are looking to get a foot hold of here in England.
He added that he did not know what the project would cost. “It would probably rely on some database,” he said. “It might be that it’s unrealistic and cost too much or rely too much on voluntary information from the public.”
Similar schemes in the US and Germany have relied on a DNA database with either fur or saliva samples being taken from dogs in a local area. Any dog faeces found in public places are then tested and checked against the DNA database to identify the offenders.
Harvey Locke, the former president of the British Veterinary Association and a practising vet, said current legislation would make it difficult to introduce a dog DNA database.
He said: “It is possible to identify dogs from a faeces sample, but you need to have a database with all the dogs in the area to identify a particular dog.”
He added that there were legal issues to be taken into account. “If somebody has seen a dog fouling and wants to report a particular dog, you would need to take a sample and that would require the owner’s consent,” said Mr Locke. “I am not aware of any legal framework that would allow this to happen.”
The proposals are the latest in a series of measures being taken by the council to help tackle the amount of dog mess in the streets. Police community support officers are being urged to issue dog fouling fines and extra dog warden patrols have been arranged.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Jumbo “Victory” Will Likely be Short Lived

Perceptions by Gerry Warner

As you try to digest the blockbuster announcement out of Victoria this week that Jumbo, the world’s most delayed ski project is going aheadthere are several salient points to keep in mind.

The first and most important  you shouldn’t forget is that Jumbo is first and foremost a real estate play. The fact that people will also ski in that less-than-pristine valley is incidental. The money to be made  building Whistler in the Kootenays  will come from the sale and rental of  condos, townhouses, hotels, lodges and monster log edifices like you see at any ski resort in B.C. be it Fernie, Kimberley, Big White or Whistler.

Now, is it such a big surprise that a so-called “free enterprise” government with a passionate,  ideological belief  in the free market that borders on the religious and numbering  many of the province’s biggest developers, realtors and businessmen in its ranks would approve a Palace of Versailles in the wilderness where the rich and idle can play?

Do fish swim? Do birds fly? Does the sun rise in the east? The only surprising thing about the Jumbo announcement is that it didn’t come years ago. And why didn’t it, you rightfully ask?

The answer is relatively simple. Many, but  by no means all, of the people  living in close proximity to Jumbo vehemently oppose the project. Some for quite selfish reasons because they want to play there themselves and others because they sincerely believe that the Kootenays needs another ski resort like the proverbial hole in the head and they would prefer to see their beautiful part of the world less overrun by rich interlopers from Alberta  and elsewhere.

Then there are the environmentalists who waged a marathon campaign against the project that was both emotional and strategic and kept a succession of governments on edge and afraid to make a move on Jumbo. One of their smartest moves was planting hockey legend Scott Niedermayer on Jumbo’s lofty summit and posting a heroic picture of him that went viral around the world  garnering  incredible support for the anti-Jumbo campaign.  Ironically, many of the environmentalists’ arguments were dubious at best and some plain false as the claim that the heavily logged and mined valley was “pristine.” But to the many opposed to the mega-resort  this doesn’t  matter, and industrially damaged or not,  Jumbo is still a spectacularly scenic and relatively unscathed valley that has managed to escape much of the  world’s march of  “progress.”

And then there’s one not-so-little legal matter that’s stayed under the radar most of the time but exerted tremendous power on the government to cave on Jumbo. It could be best described as abuse of process, namely that by delaying the Jumbo decision for so long,  the government owed the original would-be developer Oberto Oberti compensation.  Lots of compensation. Very expensive compensation.  In fact, only a few years ago the then Campbell Liberals paid $30 million in compensation to Boss Power, a mining company that was suing them for taking  back a permit it had issued the company to mine uranium near Penticton.

Don’t think for a moment that putative Jumbo developer Oberti was unaware of this expensive settlement and would have been in court in a flash seeking the same remedy if Jumbo was ultimately turned down.
Finally there’s the matter of the Ktunaxa  aboriginal claim to the Jumbo territory, a deeply spiritual issue to the Ktunaxa people who harbor strong feelings about the threatened grizzly bears that live in the valley. The government’s feeble attempts to appease  the Ktunaxa was one of the major factors why the decision was delayed so long and is still a major factor in the Jumbo issue. The Ktunaxa have made it clear they will continue their fight against Jumbo in the courts and Canadian courts are traditionally very sympathetic to native claims.

Which brings us to the greatest irony of all in the Jumbo announcement. There are people in government and outside that are calling the announcement a “victory” for their cause when in fact it’s nothing of the kind. It may be one victory in the Jumbo battle, but the Jumbo war is far from over.

The strongest arguments against Jumbo are not environmental or aboriginal, but economic. Simply put, in today’s shaky financial world there is no market for resort real estate in a glacial valley 55 kilometres off a paved road where you will have snow on your roof 10 months of the year and a big, mean glacier staring you in the face.

In short, Jumbo is doomed. Not by environmentalists or the native people, but by the free market, which in its infinite wisdom, will ensure that few people will ever want to invest there.

For two more local articles by Ian Cobb:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

World Water Day

Today is World Water Day. Water was the number one concern for Cranbrook's Integrated Sustainability Team - Cranbrook Connected.  At Monday's Council meeting we heard from Streamkeepers about how the quality of Joseph Creek is impaired after flowing through Cranbrook.  The city has put millions into cleaning up our waste water.  Now, cleaning up Joseph Creek and returning it to a healthy fish bearing stream is possible with our care, allowing the banks to be shaded with natural vegetation, preventing it from being the dumping ground for polluted run-off and a depository for garbage.


Always caring about our waterways, Stewart Wilson took a walk up St Mary's River bed a few days ago.

What's Happening...

Thursday, March 22

Beth Crawley at Hot Shots
Beth will be performing at Hot Shots on Victoria
from 7pm-9pm
Benefit for the Cranbrook and District Arts Council
For more informtaion call 250-426-4223

Saturday, March 24

Sweet Soul Burlesque
Key City Theatre at 8pm
Tickets are $25 and available at the box office
Proceeds are supporting Cranbrook's Mountain Town Maulers, roller derby team

Youth Art Exhibition
Cranbrook and District Arts Council
104-135 10th Ave S  Cranbrook, 

Sunday, March 25

Ed Sullivan Caravan of Stars Rock n' Roll Show
Key City Theatre, 7pm
Tickets are $39.75 available at the KCT box office

Tuesday, March 27

Celtic Tenors
Direct from Ireland the Tenors will be performing
Key City Theatre at 7:30pm
Tickets are $40 available at the KCT box office

Acoustic Open Mic at DD Magee's
Hosted by David Prinn tonight and every Tuesday night

Thursday, March 29

Cranbrook Community Forest Society AGM
7pm, College of the Rockies, RM 114
Come out and support the CCF

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chinese Building Boom Over?

This article is interesting in light of the the fact that our own economic development officer has recently been to China with a view to opening trade potential.  Raw lumber was one commodity discussed. 

Ordos: The biggest ghost town in China

In Inner Mongolia a new city stands largely empty. This city, Ordos, suggests that the great Chinese building boom, which did so much to fuel the country's astonishing economic growth, is over. Is a bubble about to burst?

And it is merely the most spectacular example of a new Chinese phenomenon, in many cities - unsold flats, unlet shops, empty office blocks.
It looks to outsiders as though the great Chinese building boom is over, the real estate extravaganza that shook the world.
Western financial experts who fear a bursting of the Chinese real estate bubble point out that the Chinese economy is more dependent on house building than the United States economy was, before the sub-prime lending bubble burst in 2007.
Many Chinese local authorities seem to have become dependent on the proceeds of big land sales to developers.
In the eyes of the critics, China's housing boom is becoming a disaster.
Well, the authorities in Beijing have taken notice of the direst warnings. They have been taking official action to rein in the speculative buying of multiple apartments over the past two years.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sad Day for Jumbo, Residents in the Valley and the World

In light of the government's announcement today:

Alas Resort from Kevin Shepit on Vimeo.

Post Notes for the Council meeting of March 19th


5.0 An extra delegation from the Committee to Restore the Armond presented their exciting vision combined with that of the Youth Arts Centre, for the Armond Building. This delegation was invited to present after a previous presentation the same day.  The presentation was given by Jenny Humphrey, Colleen Osiowy and Alysha Seriani.
 A further more detailed article  will be posted at a later date

5.1 Karin Penner, Chamber of Commerce
Lana Kirk and Dave Butler gave an overview of their activities and benefits to and within the business community.  They also spoke of the Cranbrook 'Royalty' progam, Sam Steele Days and the leadership they are able to provide.
Councillor Warner questioned the statement made by Ms Kirk that the Chamber is non-partisan.   He commented on the HST issue and that we do not see members of the opposition speaking at Chamber Lunches.  It was pointed out that those who ran in the election did step down for the period of their campaigns and that speakers generally come from the party in power.

5.2 Operation Street Angel
Debbie Whitehead and Gary Dalton gave an overview of the Street Angel program, how it assists with those homeless and underpriveleged within our city.  The need has proven to be so great that the location has been expanded.  Counselling into the various agencies and services is given.  The bare necessities of warmth, shelter and food are also provided.

5.3 Jim and Laura Duncan, Mainstreams Environmental Society RE: Joseph Creek
Jim and Laura Duncan explained how with so many financial cuts from government, it is citizens who are stepping up and performing the essential work previously carried out by those employed by various agencies.  With professional bodies overseeing this work, very professional results have been obtained.  The clear and professional documents displayed, demonstrated the deteriorating state of Joseph Creek from its source through to the lower reaches before it enters St Mary's River.  It was apparent the creek becomes more impaired as it travels through town.  The rise in water temperature due to removal of creekside vegetation prevents healthy spawning of native species of fish.  Much work has been accomplished to improve the health of the creek but 'Mainstreams' would like to work more closely with the city to continue restoring this waterway.

Administration Updates
This report was summarised in yesterday's post or can be read in its entirety at: 

These items were listed in yesterday's post or can be read at: 

9.6 Letter from Michael Burnham re: expressing his concern over the amount of time Council has spent on approving a sign request from a local business
This letter prompted a brief discussion.  Mayor Stetski pointed out that this issue is not as simple as it seems and he also pointed out to the author of the letter that he, indeed does have a  vote. Councillor Scott also commented at more length about the issue of decisions such as this.
9.7 Letter from Life Committee, Cranbrook Srs. Association requesting $15000 from the City of Cranbrook
Request denied at this time.
9.8 Letter requesting the paving of 11th Ave South
Referred to Cranbrook in Motion Committee
9.9 Letter re: family physicians
There was general discussion around this topic and how it directly relates to new tourism and marketing strategies underway.  There was empathy for those affected and hope that new marketing might assist with this problem which is not unique to Cranbrook.
9.10 Request to proclaim April 27 Daffodil Day and the month of April Daffodil Month by the Canadian Cancer Society

Business Arising 

10.1 Report recommendation from the CAO re: NorthStar Rails to Trails Trans Canada Trail Designation
Councillor Whetham was pleased to see the 'automatic renewal' embedded in the document as this will save time, energy and money.

Committee Recommendations

11.1 Report recommendation from the Corporate Service Department re: appointment to Community Builder of the Year Committee - Cranbrook Connected Representative
Councillor Pallesen questioned why a Chamber member was replaced with a representative from Cranbrook Connected. She stated she did not understand the correlation between sustainability and community builder.  This was further explained.
Jeannette Sissons appointed
11.2 Report recommendations from the Corporate Service Department re: Cranbrook in Motion Committee Recommendations
These recommendations were not accepted and instead deferred for more investigation.  Signage to the City Campground was one item and Mayor Stetski challenged committee members to follow the existing directions when entering the city from the east.  He also questioned whether the Farmer's Market Committee had been consulted about how they felt about signage.  The Committee will take another look at these items.

New Business

12.1 Report Recommendations from Corporate Communications re: Corporate Services Strategy
$40,000 item involving different means of communication.  Council voted to remove this item at this time from the budget and to look at less expensive ways to receive resident satisfaction survey results.

12.2 Report Recommendations from Corporate Communications re: low flow toilet rebate program
This program will continue.

12.3 Report Recommendation from Corporate Services: RDEK Referral Zoning Amendment Bylaw
This was not approved as there is no independent access.

12.4 Report Recommendation from Corporate Services: Appointment to the Cranbrook in Motion Committee - RCMP
Brenden McKenna appointed as RCMP representative.

12.5 Report Recommendation from Corporate Services Liquor Control and Licensing Wildstone Golf Course Outdoor Patio

12.6 Report Recommendation from Corporate Services: Commercial Facade Development Permit
Approved. This will see a separate outside entrance to a new 'Bulk Barn' store.

12.7 Report Recommendation from Corporate Services: Highway Corridor Development Permit
Approved for Target which will open in May of 2013

12.8 Report Recommendation from Corporate Services: Multi Family Residential Permit 30th Ave North.

12.9 Report Recommendation from the Engineering Department: Electronic Changeable Copy Sign
Considerable discussion resulted in referral for the drawing up of policy to deal with such electronic signage.
Councillor Cross moved that in light of a report drafted several years ago but never acted upon regarding recommendations for improvement to the City's sign bylaw that the bylaw be made priority and be redrafted.  Councillors Pallesen Scott and Warner voted against this.  A tie vote (Councillor Davis absent) resulted in the motion being defeated.  The alternative recommendation from administration was moved by Councillor Pallesen.  This motion stated That administration be directed to develop a policy for consideration by Council related to the conditions for use and placement of Electronic Changeable CopySign/Electronic Bulletin Boards/LED Variable Message Advertising Signs. This motion carried.  This policy will neither approve or disapprove the application by Minute Muffler for such a sign.
Further discussion noted that the sign bylaw will become a priority and will take approximately three months to complete.  There will be public input into this bylaw.

12.10 Report Recommendation from Leisure Services Committee: Outdoor Lacrosse Box
There was debate concerning the huge size of the concrete slab required and maintenance costs for this facility.  A tie vote resulted in the recommendation being defeated.  Councillors Cross, Warner and Whetham voting against.  Alternatives will need to be investigated.


Five Year Financial Plan to be presented to Council for First, Second, and Third reading 3741-2012
Second reading of an amendment to the Official Community Plan to change land use designation from "Core Commercial" to 'Low Density Residential' and first and second reading of the proposed amendment to change the zoning designation from C-1 to R-1 for property located at 134-5th Avenue South.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Advance Council Notes for the Council Meeting of March 19th 2012 6:00pm


5.1 Karin Penner, Chamber of Commerce
5.2 Operation Street Angel
5.3 Jim and Laura Duncan, Mainstreams Environmental Society RE: Joseph Creek

Administration Updates 

Corporate Services
OCP Review - An update to the OCP has been identified as a priority project for 2012 which will take approximately 10months. The update would consider information from the Integrated Sustainability Plan and the Growth Management Study. Staff have prepared a draft work plan to help guide the OCP review project.

Council Meetings are being offered online through a VIMEO online video account. Advertising of the online option to watch the meeting will continue in the Townsman and the Advertiser.

Economic Development
- Twinning with the Phillipine city of Bogo.
- Letter of Intent between the City of Taicang, China and the City of Cranbrook on the establishment of the friendly exchange city relationship.

- Development Cost Charge Public Consultation Process. The City will be holding a two part Public consultation consisting of a Roundtable Workshop and an Open House. The workshop is tentatively set form April 19 while the Open House would be held in May.

Environmental Monitoring
The City has engaged O'Shannasay Environmental Services to ensure that quality targets are being met as per our operating permit from the MOE regarding our sewage treatment and disposal system.

Noxious Weed Control
Peter Davidson will be engaged again for the 2012 year to control noxious weeds in all weed infested public lands within the City of Cranbrook

Spray Irrigation Operation
Staff are working with MOE and the City's solicitor to draft a new operation agreement that will properly address some of the changes and scope of duties to be provided by a contracted operator.  Lois Creek who previously held the contract is being extended on a month to month basis until a RFP for a new contract can be prepared issued and evaluated


9.1 Union of BC Municipalities
9.2 Highlights of RDEK March board meeting
9.3 Update on Local Government Committee RE: Columbia River Treaty
9.4 Letter Completion of Fuel Management Pilot Project
9.5 Letter from Linda Birch regarding sponsorship of Bentall Kennedy's  Fight for Food Fundraiser which will raise monies for the Cranbrook Food Bank
9.6 Letter from Michael Burnham re: expressing his concern over the amount of time Council has spent on approving a sign request from a local business
9.7 Letter from Life Committee, Cranbrook Srs. Association requesting $15000 from the City of Cranbrook
9.8 Letter requesting the paving of 11th Ave South
9.9 Letter re: family physicians
9.10 Request to proclaim April 27 Daffodil Day and the month of April Daffodil Month by the Canadian Cancer Society

Business Arising 

10.1 Report recommendation from the CAO re: NorthStar Rails to Trails Trans Canada Trail Designation

Committee Recommendations

11.1 Report recommendation from the Corporate Service Department re: appointment to Community Builder of the Year Committee - Cranbrook Connected Representative
11.2 Report recommendations from the Corporate Service Department re: Cranbrook in Motion Committee Recommendations

New Business

12.1 Report Recommendations from Corporate Communications re: Corporate Services Strategy
12.2 Report Recommendations from Corporate Communications re: low flow toilet rebate program
12.3 Report Recommendation from Corporate Services: RDEK Referral Zoning Amendment Bylaw
12.4 Report Recommendation from Corporate Services: Appointment to the Cranbrook in Motion Committee - RCMP
12.5 Report Recommendation from Corporate Services Liquor Control and Licensing Wildstone Golf Course Outdoor Patio
12.6 Report Recommendation from Corporate Services: Commercial Facade Development Permit
12.7 Report Recommendation from Corporate Services: Highway Corridor Development Permit
12.8 Report Recommendation from Corporate Services: Multi Family Residential Permit 30th Ave North.
12.9 Report Recommendation from the Engineering Department: Electronic Changeable Copy Sign
12.10 Report Recommendation from Leisure Services Committee: Outdoor Lacrosse Box


Five Year Financial Plan to be presented to Council for First, Second, and Third reading 3741-2012
Second reading of an amendment to the Official Community Plan to change land use designation from "Core Commercial" to 'Low Density Residential' and first and second reading of the proposed amendment to change the zoning designation from C-1 to R-1 for property located at 134-5th Avenue South.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Signs of the Times

A drive through a nightmare rabbit hole of 3D, garish colours and flashing lights. Is that the vision of some, for a major road that passes through our city nestled in the Rocky Mountain Trench and surrounded by the most peaceful and beautiful scenery in the world?  Why would anyone want to hang around in that?  It is somewhat amusing that on highway 97 there is a large billboard type sign with a picture of the mountains designed to advertise Cranbrook but at the same time distracting us from the very mountains, which make our setting attractive.   ‘Mountains of Opportunity’ is our branding.  Well then, let’s recognise that and put the focus where it belongs on the mountains, the real ones.
Council is in the midst of a decision, viewed by some as simple but it is far from that for it will be precedent setting. Whether or not to give permission for one electronic reader board sign to one business who is willing to invest a large sum of money to promote business is not as easy as it seems on the surface.  We cannot blame one business owner who would like to stand out but the trouble is, it would not be one sign.  When there are few rules to be enforced, signage becomes a competition of bigger, longer, higher, wider, brighter, flashier, closer, all in an effort to be noticed. We have a lot of that already and depending on your perspective, it may or not be attractive.  Isn’t it the town in the mountains that we wish to be noticed and shouldn't our appearance reflect that beauty?
Cranbrook’s strip including its relationship to the rest of Cranbrook has not been subjected to serious scrutiny by council as far as we know.  We complain about it and there are unflattering comments from area residents, tourists and travel magazines.  Some residents have been so concerned about the strip, they set about ‘beautifying it and calming it down’ - under the name of Cranbrook in Bloom.  Many businesses bought into these projects but their efforts are hard to notice sometimes when signs pop up stapled to poles, fluorescent letters appear on the grass boulevard and multiple identical signs as if to say me, me, me, appear all in an effort to be noticed.
Maybe it is time to step back and once and for all, for business owners, residents and tourist industry personnel to take a good long look at what we want as our first impression for the whole city.  If business owners and residents want people to linger in our city, what is the best way to make it happen?  Tourism employs a large number of people in this area, both directly and indirectly and the potential for more is huge but it will not happen when we still apologise to our tourist relatives and friends for the ‘strip’ because right now we still do.   It is a lot better but it has a long way to go.  We need to ask some basic questions:
What are the signs for?  Do customers really make a decision about which business to patronise based on a sign?
Residents know where their favourite businesses are, based on reputation, past experience and personal preference.  They don’t need a huge flashy sign to tell them where to go and if they do they should not be driving or walking alone.
People driving through have GPS systems, phone apps and a radio to listen to, all of which will easily direct them to their favourite franchises or look up restaurants in the area.
Will drivers really be able to differentiate and evaluate one business from another based on a sign when they are trying to focus on navigating a busy road?
We already have our notorious 'suicide lane' in the middle of the strip - do we want to add more distractions?
What will encourage traffic to turn in and browse?
Shouldn't there be an obligation for business that has gone out of business to remove their signage?
These are just a few of the questions and concerns that need to be addressed carefully and maybe it is time for an updated enforceable bylaw to be examined by all those affected before a single precedent setting decision is made that will affect our reputation well into the future.
One argument made by the proponent for an electronic sign is that the city has one.  Yes,  the city does have an electronic sign on the corner of Victoria Avenue, near the Rec Plex.  It is at a stop sign, is not on a busy highway and it is likely to remain a 'one of' in that location.
A decision may well be made at this Monday’s March 19th Council Meeting.  If you have opinions on this topic, maybe now is the time to contact your favourite councillor and let them know your views.
The spurious first impression many get of Cranbrook can surely change with everyone's patience and input.

Readers may out of interest wish to read our article from January about Sao Paulo Brazil - a city with no advertising, not that we are suggesting that!  It was posted when the sign request first came to the attention of Council. 

Busy Weekend

It's a busy weekend in Cranbrook - with two diverse performances at the Key City Theatre, Khaos, the opera and Johnny Cash. There are St. Patrick Day teas and cabbage dinners going on.   If you are brave enough to head out into the garden, now is the time to cut Feather Reed Grass or 'Karl Foerster' grass down to within 20cm of the ground to make way for new growth.  It is also the perfect time to do some spring pruning or cleaning - the spring Trash to Treasure Day will be coming up in April.  If you are not ready to garden between snow flurries, the stores are looking spring like with chocolate bunnies and pastel colours.  A new clothing store, 'Velvet Moss' owned by Jennifer Mouly has taken up residence in the old Please Mum site on a trial basis.  If you have visited  the Kimberley boutique location of Velvet Moss, you will know Jennifer has some lovely unique and style conscious items of clothing as well as shoes and 'Ginjer Jar' jewelry.

Jennifer Mouly at 'Velvet Moss'

The freshly cut 'Karl Foerster' grasses in Centennial Garden

Friday, March 16, 2012

She’s Coming Back and What Will We Do Now?

Perceptions by Gerry Warner

Oh my God! What’s happening now? I don’t know how to break this to you, but the buzz in the Beltway is that if there’s no clear winner in the Republican primary race by June it may lead to a “brokered convention.”
What’s that you say?  (pregnant pause.) I really don’t know how to break it to you  gently so I guess I’ll just have to plunge right in and say it outright – SARAH  PALIN!!!
I’m not kidding. At this point, it’s only being talked about in dark corners, but this nightmare scenario may actually materialize if neither Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum can break away from the pack and gather the magic 1,144 votes they will need at the Republican convention in Tampa to take the Grand Old Party’s (GOP’s) nomination.
If that doesn’t put you off your Wheaties I don’t know what will. I mean wasn’t Palin finished? Kaput?  Dead, at least politically? Apparently not.  And the Alaska Barracuda may come back for Act 2 and no writer less than Shakespeare or Hunter S. Thompson could do justice to that. Fear and loathing, indeed. Mind you Steven Harper might welcome the advent of Palin. He’s always been a big fan of the American military, George W. Bush and the like. As for the rest of the world, we all better take a Valium and pray.
After “Super Tuesday” this week, Romney had 458 committed delegates to Santorum’s 203 and  Gingrich’s 118 which puts the former Massachusetts governor well in the lead, but barely a third of the way to winner take all status,  which is not a strong position considering how much time is left between now and June. 
Even the devout Santorum, though well back of Romney, could conceivably win because he’s winning states in the South that nobody thought he’d win and he claims to have a personal pipeline to the Creator. One celestial  call to God up in heaven  and it would be all over for Romney and the second American Catholic president would be ready to move into the Oval Office, or so Santorum would have us believe.
But what if the all-powerful Creator in all his/her/its majesty declines Santorum’s prayer? What indeed? It’s at this point we have to go from the sublime to the ridiculous and consider the rifle-toting, moose-gutting, Queen of the North Slope and potential first female president of the Excited States of America.
It fairly boggles the mind!  In fact when recently asked by Fox TV what she would do if there’s a deadlocked GOP convention, Palin replied: “I would do anything I could do to help.” That’s big of her. “Help” from Sarah Palin is about the last thing the U.S. or the world needs now. Yet it’s happened before.
In the 1924 Democratic convention, it took 102 ballots before John W. Davis (who?) became the Dem’s candidate with the party totally split between “wets and drys” (drinkers and prohibitionists). One of the greatest American presidents of all time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, won in a brokered convention in 1932. And as recently as 1976 the Republicans did not have a clear winner going into their convention and it had to go to one ballot for Gerald Ford, the president that pardoned Nixon, to edge out Ronald Regan. So could it happen again this time?
Fox News TV commentator Joel Smith calls Palin “a dream candidate.”  But in another Fox News interview, Conservative firebrand Ann Coulter said of  her  “I  don’t know what people are cheering for,” and Washington Post reporter Rachel Weiner says Palin is too much of a polarizing figure. “Her clout is dubious. Her popularity peaked long ago, and the supporters she does have won't necessarily follow her lead.”  
But in a country where over half the population doesn’t have a passport, two-thirds are “born again” and close to half don’t believe their president is an American – anything goes. It’s also a deeply patriotic country and who better than a Tea Party darling to be the next president.
What about Oprah Winfrey? Someone should ask her. She’d  make a hell of a better president than Romney, Santorum, or God forbid, Newt Gingrich.