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.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Flat Pack Habitat

We were sent this interesting new concept in home purchase options.

Ikea launches $86,000 DIY homes
Darcy Wintonyk and Lynda Steele
Swedish furniture giants Ikea have launched a line of flat-pack, do it yourself houses in the U.S.

The one-bedroom prefabricated residences, named the Aktiv, will retail for around $86,500 and will be marketed to people who find home ownership too costly.

The modular homes, which debuted at Oregon's Home and Garden Expo earlier this month, are co-designed with architectural firm Ideabox.

More images at: 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Calgary's Plans to Boost Trees and Ban Front Garages

It's not easy being green.

Plans to outlaw front garages and boost trees will cost homeowners

 Branches form a pretty green canopy, providing a leafy tunnel for the street and offering cool shade for pedestrians strolling the sidewalks.
An idyllic scene lifted straight from Calgary’s century-old inner city — but a city hall fantasy, forcing every future neighbourhood to echo that past, is about to become a nightmare for new home developers.
It’s called the Residential Street Design Policy, and if passed this week by city hall’s Planning Commission, it could mean the end of front garages while boosting the price of new homes by $3,000.
That, at least, is the fear of Calgary’s home development lobby, who say this latest example of city hall meddling will drive buyers out of the Calgary market, as surely as it wipes driveways off the map.
“We’re not supportive at all — the $3,000 is the first problem, and as you know, those costs will get passed on to the homeowner,” said Michael Flynn, executive director of Calgary’s Urban Development Institute.
“Calgary is already starting to experience affordability issues, and the city seems to think this will have people scrambling to walk up and down the sidewalks.”
As social engineering goes, it’s some charming meddling, there’s no denying that.
The new policy, if passed, will all but outlaw the style of streetscape currently seen in new Calgary communities, where a single sidewalk runs adjacent to the street.
Instead, for an estimated $3,000 extra per home, neighbourhood developers will be required to put sidewalks on both sides of the street, along with one tree per ten metres, compared to 15 metres now.
It makes for a new neighbourhoods that mimic the communities like Kensington and Elbow Park — but it also assumes that’s what Calgary buyers want.
“It’s not just sidewalks — it’s trees, and housing types, because there seems to be a war on homes with front garages, and that’s the effect of this policy,” said Flynn.
“Front drive garages account for well over 70% of consumer preference, so this flies in the face of marketability.”
The double sidewalk, extra tree model, currently used on between 30 and 40% of streets built in Calgary — generally main roads and boulevards — will be required on 80% of new residential roads.
The current single-sidewalk design, now featured on up to 70% of new residential roads, allows for front garages, but it will be all but banned under the new policy.
Called the “Type C Standard,” it will be reduced to less than 20% of new streets, and then only where lot sizes and lack of back lanes make the design the only choice.
In the report to the Calgary Planning Commission, there are no qualms that this is a policy aimed at eradicating ugly, in order to make new parts of Calgary look just like the inner city.
“Recent (since 1995) sustainable policy initiatives in the City encourage and support a transportation network ... and development that make the most efficient use of land,” it reads.
“This has led to narrower residential lots and more front driveway housing product. These, in conjunction with low quality residential street design standards, yield a functional but austere street design that is prevalent in today’s suburbs as compared to older communities.”
Any policy approved by the planning commission must also be passed by city council — and already, there is backlash among aldermen.

For the full article go to the link above.

What's Happening...

Thursday, April 26

Benefit Concert for fire victims
Carla Luft, Juno Award Winning performer
Member of the Walin' Jennys is performing
St. Eugene Mission Pavillion, Doors open at 7 pm
Tickets are $25 plus tax

Cranbrook and District Arts Council host
Readings by local writers on the theme
'What a Day for a Daydream'
CDAC Gallery on 10th Avenue South, 7pm-10pm
Call 250-426-4223 for more information

Saturday, April 28

Christ the Servant Spring Tea
Noon - 3pm
1100-14th Ave. South
Please bring a friend

Sunday, April 29

Performing Arts Showcase
The EK Performing Arts Festival closes with it Showcase this evening
Key City Theatre starting at 7pm
Tickets are $15 adults, $10 for those under 18

Brown Bag Lunches are Back

On, Tuesday April 24th, Mayor Steski held his first Brown Bag Lunch session in the Council Chambers.

There were four members of the public, the Cranbrook CEO, three City employees and two councilors also in attendance.

The Mayor began by giving us brief background information regarding the Baker Street fire and it's cleanup. Following this introduction then the members of the public were invited to ask questions. The questions asked were varied and each received a response from either Cranbrook CEO and/or City Council Members.

A concern was raised about the lack of public washroom facilities in the downtown area and how the homeless population appear to be making use of back alleys to relieve themselves. Apparently local businesses' washrooms are not generally available to anyone who is not a customer at the individual store. We were told that the washrooms at City Hall are available to the public during office hours. There are also public washrooms available (but not year round) in Spirit Square. The concern will be taken to a council meeting for discussion.

There was a question asked as to how to deal with the problem of stray cats. The response was that there are cat traps available to borrow from the City. In the event of a cat being trapped the homeowner setting the trap would then drop off the cat at the SPCA building.

There was concern expressed about a yard that was covered in dog feces and was not being kept clean. It was suggested that if the bylaw officer was to do a drive by, this yard's condition would become apparent. It was definitely sounding as though this could be seen as a health issue.

A question was asked about the City's 2011 Annual Spray Irrigation Report. The response was that the Report had been completed (or was close to it) and suggested the person asking the question check to see if the Ministry of Environment had a copy.

On the question of the condition of the water supplied to cattle on the Spray Irrigation Site, we were told that there is to be a meeting with Council members, the area ranchers, and the inspection veterinarian to look into this issue.

On a question being asked about the Growth Management Study, we were told that this question would be brought forward to the next Council Meeting and we would be given date as to when the City will publicly share its responses to this document.

Reported by David Humphrey

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Earth Day in Rotary Park with Scott Niedermayer

City Councillor Bob Whetham and Scott Niedermayer
 Rocking It

Hundreds of people poured into Rotary Park to celebrate Earth Day and Wildsights 25 Anniversary.
With great live music, Native drummers, amazing food, and our very own Scott Niedermayer, Rotary Park was a great place to be on Saturday. Thanks to Stewart Wilson for the pictures.


Columbia River Treaty - Course of History


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Council Notes - April 23

5.1 Delegations

Cranbrook Food Action Committee - Christian Kimbers presentation regarding a Public Produce Garden in Mckinnon Park. The size of the garden will be 30m x30m. Mckinnon Park was chosen due to it's flat sunny location and accessto water. The garden will be herbicide and pesticide free and will be accessible to seniors. 
7.1 Administration Updates


9.1 Request to declare June 12 Philippine Independence Day

This proclaimation and flag raising request caused considerable discussion about whether it is appropriate given the 'policitcal" nature of the request.  It was eventually approved with Councillor Pallesen and Councillor Scott opposing the motion. Council also felt that a policy should be formed around these type of requests

9.3 Heart and Stroke Foundation encouraging a outdoor ban on smoking in public places bylaw.

This also generated considerable discussion with Councillor Davis, while supporting a bylaw in principle, felt that the practical realities of enforcing such a bylaw would be impossible. It was sent to Family and Community Service Committee for further discussion.

9.4 Copy of letter sent to MP David Wilks by the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce regarding increases in cross border shopping limits.

Council approved a letter be sent to the Chamber of Commerce in support of their efforts regarding increased limits allowed for cross border shopping.

9.5 Letter from Shaw apologizing for poor quality some of the Council meeting broadcasts

9.6 Letter from the Downtown Business Association regarding the Armond Theatre Committee requests for funding

While the DBA supports the project they do not want City monies to be spent. Councillor Warner pointed out that the proponent of this project did not request money from the City which was confirmed by Mayor Stetski. CAO Will Pearce confirmed that the proponents letters of support has, finally, been delivered to Councillors mail boxes earlier in the week.

9.7 Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce requesting a letter of support

As per Administration recommendation.

9.8 Letter from Lindy Mikkelson regarding the City of Cranbrook recycling policies.

As per administratin recommendation.

9.9 United Way seeking support from the City to use Spirits Square and part of 10th Avenue for a planned event.

Request that the United Way appear as a delegation before Council.

9.10 Letter from Larry Hall regarding handicapped accessibility at the Rec Plex

Handrails in the Rec Plex have been discussed however the cost is prohibitive. A sample handrail was tested at the Rec Plex however concerns were expressed by the fire department.

9.11 Letter from Relay for Life requesting the use of picnic tables and barricades

The City has supported this event in the past and includes the costs in it budget.

9.12 Request to install speed bumps on 14th Ave. along the 200 block

Referred to the Cranbrook in Motion Committee.

9.13 Letter requesting week of May 6-12 be named Hospice and Palliative Care Awareness Week


9.14 Letter requesting week of April 15-21 be named Prevention of Violence Against Women Week


9.15 Letter requesting May 29 be declared Day of the Honey Bee


11.1 Urban Deer Committee Recommendations

The Committee is asking for approval to cull 50 deer. There is no evidence that translocation will be successful. A deer count was held on 3 consecutive Saturdays and the number of deer is still relatively low at 121. 

The recommendations were accepted with Councillor Cross and Mayor Stetski voting against. Councillor Cross wanted to hear more options. Mayor Stetski pointed out that committee did not have enough money to carry out a cull on 50 deer if the cost is approximately $500 per animal.

11.2 Cranbrook in Motion Committee Recommendation

That there be adequate signage to the Mt. Baker RV park and that the City encourages the use of public transport to get to the Farmers Market. The City will support free transit to and from the Farmers Market if one is carryng a canvas bag.

12.1 New Business - Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Recommendations


12.2 New Business - To seek Councils authorization to enter into a license of occupation for use of City owned lands with the Chamber of Commerce for the purpose of RV parking


12.3 New Business - 2012 Water Conservation Strategy

Approved. Water consumption has decreased by 10%

12.4 New Business - Consider appointments to fill the two vacant position on the Urban Deer Committee

Jim Fennel and Colleen Bailey selected for the deer committee.

12.5 New Business - That Council approve the annual operating agreement for the Transit Systems


12.6 New Business - To consider an application for a Commercial Building Permit to enable construction of additions to a building located at 117 Cranbrook St. N.


13.1 By-Law 3745 - To consider first and second reading of a proposed text amendment to the C1 Community Commercial Zone that would better enable mixed use commercial and residential development in the downtown area


13.2 By-Law 3746 - To consider first, second, and third reading of the City of Cranbrook Downtown Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw 3746 2012 to establish a revitalization tax exemption program for the downtown area.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Building a Shed this Year?

If you are thinking of building a shed this year why not get creative.  These ideas may inspire you.

Some of these sheds have been shown on local Open Garden Days and some are from far away gardens.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Trash to Treasure April 21st

                       This Saturday Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook is coordinating Cranbrook’s biannual Trash to Treasure Day.

In partnership with  the City of Cranbrook, citizens are encouraged to place gently used, unwanted household items in front of their property anytime between 8am and 4:30 pm with a T-2-T poster or Free sign.   Posters are available at Cranbrook City Hall or from this website on the right hand side of the page - click on the link and print.

The focus of our effort is on reusing treasures found in your own neighbourhood and protecting our landfill.

Participants are asked to remove any remaining items by 4:30p.m.

Warner's Corner

It’s time to give “The Strip” a break

Heading off to Barcelona in a few days and won’t be around to bug anyone for a while, but I thought it would be nice to leave you with a revolutionary thought – maybe it’s time we in Cranbrook rethought our beloved “Strip.”

Yes, I mean Cranbrook Street, that lovely arterial lined with fast-food joints, motels, tattoo parlors, malls, muffler shops, car lots, tire shops, chain stores, the Chamber of Commerce – you name it.

In many ways “The Strip”, as it’s affectionately known, is the bane of the city’s existence as it has been oft-criticized by travel writers, who after a few minutes or an overnight stop on it, use it as a punching bag to besmirch the city’s reputation after seeing little or none of the rest of the Key City.

Not very fair is it?

However, that’s life, and as we all know, life is seldom fair either and it’s no use wasting any tears over that. So it’s for this reason, I would like to emulate the Godfather and make an offer that I hope no self-respecting Cranbrookian will refuse – think again about The Strip.

Is our Strip essentially any different from any other urban, commercial strip, be it in Kelowna, Red Deer, Salmon Arm or Pouce Coupe? If you’re being honest, you know the answer is no. Some of the strips in the afore-mentioned cities may be longer, shorter, wider or narrower, but essentially they look just like our Strip. Many of them even have the same stores and businesses. Close your eyes and they become interchangeable in your brain, a virtual doppelganger for our unfairly maligned main artery.

So get over it Cranbrook. You have nothing to be ashamed about.

I bring this touchy topic up partly for personal reasons and in my role as a City Councillor who has antagonized some on Council and in the city at large over my role in supporting a local businessman on The Strip, who wanted to replace an old sign in front of his shop with a new slightly smaller one known in the trade as a “LED Electronic Changeable Copy Sign” or something like that. Council, in its wisdom, has decided that before this can be done a new sign bylaw or policy must be considered before we can say yea or nay to this businessman wanting to invest new money in our city.

Not wanting to throw sand in the gears of the City, I ended up supporting the motion myself, but I confess to reservations about why the City is going this route. The reasons, as best as I can divine them from some members of Council, is that our current Strip is projecting an image of the city that is negative in some way. They seem to feel the current signage is too garish, too bright , too big and there are too many signs. Over and over, I’ve heard comparisons made to Las Vegas, which I frankly think is way over the top, but you may disagree. Underneath the criticism, the subtext I hear is that they feel the bright lights on our main commercial street are a touch vulgar and unbecoming of a city that wants to project a more genteel and environmentally-appropriate image of itself.

Perhaps you agree with them and I certainly don’t fault you for doing that, but please allow me my response -- Codswallop!

A strip is a strip is a strip whether it’s in Cranbrook, Kelowna or Vancouver. A strip is a business street where hawkers hawk their wares and shoppers buy their products. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what makes our economy work and provides us with jobs and goods to buy. In short, it makes the world go around and if we can’t find what we’re looking for on our Strip, or elsewhere in town, we’ll go somewhere else to look for it and we all know where that leads.

So I say no to those who want to “improve” our Strip by bringing in new regulations to limit signs. Where else do you expect to find bright lights and colorful signs if it isn’t on a strip? If anything, it would be nice to see a few more bright lights and new LED signs to attract people downtown to its many fine stores which struggle to compete with the gaudy Strip.

Cranbrook is not a resort town like Fernie or Kimberley. We are a commercial, trade and business centre and I think our signage should reflect that.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Earth Day Celebrations

Downtown Goes Wild

Celebrating the great outdoors with Scott Niedermayer!
Saturday April 21 is going to be a wild day in Cranbrook. Wildsight is hosting a celebration of spring, our great outdoors and the people who share it. In honour of Earth Day, there are two great events taking place in Cranbrook: Downtown Goes Wild and Uptown Goes Wild.
Downtown Goes Wild is an afternoon event from 1-4 pm in Cranbrook's Rotary Park. Everyone is invited to come on out and join in the celebrations. Activities and events including a bike circuit for kids, an archery demonstration, great live music with local band 60 Hertz, Earth Day exhibits, food and market vendors, prizes, gift giveaways and more.
“There's going to be lots taking place at the Park! Scott Niedermayer is going to be there to meet the crowd and give out autographs. There'll be activities, demonstrations and information, along with entertainment and other events. It will be a great opportunity to mingle and mix with the community under the banner of being outside!" said event organizer Erna Jensen-Shill. "It's an Earth day celebration, a celebration of 25 years of Wildsight and appreciation for our wonderful Kootenay Outdoors. And it’s all happening downtown, outside on a Saturday afternoon in the springtime."
The evening's Uptown Goes Wild event is moved to a more sophisticated venue, and is being held indoors at the Royal Alexandra Hall. The agenda features a keynote address from Scott Niedermayer on the Wilds of the Kootenays and a stunning slideshow and exhibition of images from renowned regional wildlife and nature photographer Brad Hill ( “Scott Niedermayer and Brad Hill, paired with a glass of wine, will guarantee an evening of inspiration and celebration of the Kootenays. There will also be a pre and post show mingler featuring local wines, cheeses, beers and appetizers. Everyone is invited to attend, but capacity is limited and tickets are anticipated to sell out quickly. Doors open at 7 pm and the show commences at 7:30.
Tickets for the evening event are $25 and are available from Lotus Books. Or online by clicking here.
For more information call 250.427.9360, Erna Jensen-Shill, for Downtown Goes Wild, or 250.432.5422, Robyn Duncan, for Uptown Goes Wild or visit

What's Happening

Thursday, April 19

Breaking Barriers
The Get Bent Bollywood Belly Dancers will perform
at the Key City Theatre 7:30pm
Tickets are $25 at the door
Proceeds support youth leadership and cultural arts programs

Cyber Bullying
Constable Lisa Schlatter will speak on Cyber Bullying
College of the Rockies 7pm

Kootenay East NDP present Poor No More
Manual Training Centre 7pm
Call Norma for more information 250-489-3408

Friday, April 20

Fire It Up - Johnny Reid
Cranbrook Rec Plex 7:30pm
Tickets available at the Rec Plex

Saturday, April 21

Downtown Goes Wild
Wildsight is celebrating Earth Day
Rotary Park from 1-4pm
Activities include a bike circuit, live music, and an archery demonstration

Wildsight presents Scott Niedermayer
on the Wilds of the Kootenays
Includes slideshow by renown wildlife photographers, Brad Hill
Call Erna Jensen-Shill for more information 250-427-9360

Desiderata Dance Academy and Peak Danceworks present
"I hope you can dance" at Key City Theatre
Tickets are $17 adults, $12 students.

Sunday April 22

Concert Pianist Dharel Vervill in performance
Key City Theatre 3pm
The performance will be filmed for "On The Shore of Dreams",
a major motion picture production
Tickets are $12 adults, $6 seniors and students at the KCT boxoffice

Monday, April 23

Performing Arts Piano
Piano competition concludes the EK Performing Arts Festival
College of the Rockies Lecture Theatre today through Thursday, April 26
Open to the Public
Call Lorraine for more information 250-480-2609
Tickets are $25 and available from Lotus Books

Tuesday, April 24

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings
Key City Theatre 7:30pm
Tickets are $35 plus HST
KCT Box office or call 250-426-7006

Wednesday, April 25

Mark Casey at Hot Shots (on Victoria)
Benefit for the Cranbrook and District Arts Council
Starts at 7pm
Admission by donation
Call CDAC at 250-426-4223 for more information

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rick Hansen Anniversary Relay

Rotary Park April 16th  More photos and information at:
We believe April 17th will be spent visiting schools.

Participants in yellow

Poor No More - the Movie

This movie will be shown in the Manual Training Centre at 7:00pm on Thursday, April 19th.
All invited. Donations at the door.

From the website:
Poor No More offers solutions to Canada's working poor.  The film takes three Canadians to a world where people do not have to beg, where housing is affordable and university education is free. They ask themselves:  if other countries can do this, why don't we?
Hosted by TV and film star Mary Walsh, Poor No More offers an engaging look at Canadians stuck in low paying jobs with no security and no future. Mary then takes us on a journey to Ireland and Sweden so we can see how these countries have tackled poverty while strengthening their economies. It offers hope to those who have to work two jobs a day and to those who cant find work.

Poor No More will be the first film to explain the roots of the economic crisis, its impact on Canadians, and what can be done about it. It is designed to build public support for a real reduction in poverty. Poor No More will attract a wide audience and help move this issue from the margins to the mainstream.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunday Sightings at Elizabeth Lake

It was a busy day at Elizabeth Lake on Sunday April 15th and Stewart Wilson as well as this Ground Squirrel were there to take note of  the happenings.  This area of wetland is an important stop over for many birds on their journeys one way or another.  Some of course make this their home for the summer but nature lovers are never disappointed in what they might see.

Almost a hundred coots and others
Canada Goose in Yoga Pose

Coot in an optical illusion

Mallard pair

Pair of Redheads
Snow Geese on stopover

Blast from the Past - News of the School 1908

class size was a problem.  After eight more years this was the situation in Cranbrook.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Backyard Farming a Possibility in Edmonton

From Metro News, Edmonton

Edmonton agriculture policy could all...

Vegetable gardens, hens and bees could become a regular part of city life under a new policy.
The City of Edmonton is taking the next step to bring in an urban food and agriculture policy for the city with the Food in the City conference next month. The conference is designed to bring in residents, experts and stakeholders together to explore the world of urban agriculture May 25 and 26 at the Shaw Conference Centre.
Aside from the conference, the city is also gathering opinions and information on urban agriculture and food attitudes in the city through surveys, focus groups and citizen panels.
The city is open to unique ideas when it comes to urban agriculture, including utilizing overlooked lands for community gardens, using vertical or rooftop space to grow and removing access barriers to locally grown food.
“All of this is going to take a lot of time, this is a total cultural shift from what we’re used to,” said Coun. Dave Loken Wednesday at City Hall.
The city is also looking at urban livestock – such as backyard hens or beekeeping – to be included in the strategy. The idea is a controversial but popular one, with policies on beekeeping and hens in other cities. It’s currently illegal in Edmonton to have backyard hens or bees, but there is potential for change under the strategy.
“Staff working on the project are fielding phone calls, emails, letters on a daily basis… in particular, around chickens and beekeeping. I think people are looking forward to the strategy to provide some direction in the future around what the opportunities might be for keeping animals in the city,” said Peter Ohm, Manager of Urban Planning and Development.
Loken said that despite the positive outpouring from urban hen supporters, the city will be looking at both sides of the issue.
“I think we will need to look at what other cities experiences are with those things as well. For the people who want this, it’s all positive, but you also have to look at the downside of these things,” Loken said.
The draft strategy will likely be presented to council sometime this fall. The city said they would be looking for resident input at every step, including once it is before council.

Spring has Sprung

Prairie Crocus, Pasque Flower, Anemone
They are out and about.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Camping Made Easy

A new company has started up in town and if you like to camp but don't own a camper of any kind or have relatives coming for a holiday but don't have room for them to stay, this might provide the perfect solution.  

click on image to enlarge

Lobbying for Charging Stations

With electric bikes and scooters becoming more popular this is something to think about:

By Roszan Holmen - Victoria News
Victoria needs to take advantage of new provincial money earmarked for electric-vehicle charging stations, says an advocate for the low-emission technology.
“If the City of Victoria wants to encourage more electric vehicles, then the city needs more charging stations,” said Cam Rawlinson, founding member of the Islands chapter of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association.
Creating more stations would help promote the vehicles, he said, noting that similar facilities could be set up for users of electric bikes or mobility scooters.
“These are all options that allow an aging population to become mobile and not to pollute,” he said. “The city right now probably has one-tenth of the necessary stations in order to encourage people to adopt electricity as an alternate fuel to gasoline.”
The province is currently seeking a private administrator to manage a $2.7-million Community Charging Infrastructure Fund.
Municipal, regional and First Nations governments and institutions will be invited to apply for money to install charging stations until March 31, 2013.
“It will take considerable time and strong policies to bring new clean-energy vehicles … into the mainstream market,” read the Ministry of Environment’s request for proposals, which closed last week.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Do the Right Thing and Quit Squawking About It

Perceptions by Gerry Warner

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get out of  Cranbrook, of course. Not very funny, I admit, but then again neither was the short-sightedness of Cranbrook City Council two weeks ago when by a six to one margin it voted down the opportunity for city residents to raise a few chickens in their back yards.
And maybe a goat or two. I kid you not. (bad pun)
But now to get serious in the week the whole world is talking about the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic our City mothers and fathers sink the hopes of all would-be urban farmers who would like to raise a few hens in their back yard instead of covering it with grass and spraying it with chemicals to make it greener than their neighbors. Or parking their derelict vehicles, not-to-mention, their boats, trailers,  ATV’s  etc.
Urban chicken husbandry is the latest thing many progressive municipalities are embracing from big cities like Vancouver, Seattle  and  New York to small towns like Kingston, Niagara Falls and Castlegar, which is now considering it. And why not?  Back yard chickens are easy to raise, cost very little, produce better eggs than you can buy in a store and contribute mightily to food security and a sustainable life style, something sadly lacking even in small communities like Cranbrook.
Kids love chickens and they learn from them – and many adults too – that food is not a manufactured product produced in a factory behind the supermarket and comes wrapped in Styrofoam and loaded with chemicals to keep if “fresh.” This realization has been largely lost in modern industrial society where it isn’t “food” unless it comes in a package and is loaded with salt, sugar, trans –fats and artificial sweeteners that keep many of us buzzed all day. And we wonder why obesity is our number one public health issue.
In society today, the link is largely broken between real food such as vegetables you grow in your yard and chickens you may someday hopefully be allowed to raise. I think society is largely worse off  for this as is our health. Some cities, like New York, are going even farther than chickens and allowing people to have bee hives in their yards or on their roofs. This is no small matter as North America and Europe are now in the grip of fighting colony collapse disorder.
So why can’t we in the supposedly “Key City” get real about practicing a little back yard animal husbandry, be it chickens, goats or bees. Sure there will be some issues like noise (no cock-a-doodling  roosters allowed), smell (although a little earthy barn yard smell would be more pleasant than some odors  you smell in this town) licensing, permitting and such. A reasonable husbandry fee would help to pay for enforcement costs and fencing would be an obvious requirement to keep the chickens et al in the yard and not out on the streets pestering people like the #!!@#%$&!! deer.
In addition to laying rich, brown eggs with deep, yellow yokes that produce golden breakfast omelets,  chickens are also a valuable source of meat and are the greatest recyclers of unwanted human food on two legs. They love food scraps fresh from the table and supplement  that with a bit of cheap grain and you have an animal recycling machine second to none. Yes, chicken waste smells, but if you mix it in your compost pile it produces great manure for your garden next year.
What more do you want Cranbrook? Or should that be Cranbrook Council? And keep in mind that a Calgary resident has launched a Charter challenge against Cowtown’s anti-chicken bylaw arguing that the ban is discriminatory under the Canadian Charter of  Rights as well as Article 25 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights because growing one’s food in a reasonable way is an “inalienable human right” according to the UN Declaration.
Did it cross the minds of the councillors that voted in favour of the chicken ban that they were messing with an “inalienable human right?” Probably not. But all is not lost because the issue can be brought forward to Council again in six months.
At that time, I hope Council doesn’t chicken out and does the right thing.  

 Listening in

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jumbo Wild Rally

Representatives from the entire valley including Cranbrook were present last evening in Invermere, at a rally in support of Jumbo Wild.  After the walk through Invermere, speakers took to the microphone in the Centennial Hall.

Bob Campsall moderates the rally speakers

MLA Norm McDonald received loud cheers and applause from the crowd

What's Happening...

Friday, April 13

Live Music at the Byng
Cranbrook bank Alter Ego will be performing
Friday and Saturday night
9pm 'til Close

Work, A Comedy by Lucas Myers
performed by Myers
Studio Stage Door
Tickets $10, Lotus Books

Saturday, April 14

Performing Arts Dance Competition
Key City Theatre
Open to the public
Please call Lorraine at 250-480-2609
or Marta at 250-427-2883 for more information

Library Garage Sale
The Friends of the Cranbrook Public Library
will hold a garage sale between 10 am - 4pm
Donations may be dropped of on Friday at the Library

Kootenay Trout Hatchery Open House
Located on the Fort Steele - Warner Rd.
The Open House will be held between 10am to 3pm
Admission is free and a hot dog concession will be open
Please call 250-429-3214 for more information

Social Dance at the Seniors Centre
Enjoy the music and dancing
Admission is $10 and refreshments will be served
Call 250-489-2720 for more information

Monday, April 16

Millard, Purnell, Truscott
These three artist will be exhibiting their works
at the Key City Theatre from today to May 14.
Opening reception to be held April 17 between 5-7.
Open to the Public

Greek Odyssey and Turkish Delight Travelogue
Friends of the Public Library present a Travelogue
tonight at 7pm at the lecture theatre at the College of the Rockies
presented by Les Gardiner.

Wednesday April 18th
Climbing Kilimanjaro
with Corey and Wendy Swanson
College of the Rockies
for GoGo Grannies

Bisset Singers Spring Concert
Knox Presbyterian Church
Tickets Lotus Books, Mane Hair Design and Pro Fitness

The New Armond Town Hall - A Project to Strive For

The goal to restore the Armond Theatre is to hopefully rescue another of Cranbrook's landmark buildings.  Firehall No 1, The Key City Theatre, The Railway Museum and Exhibition Galleries, The Studio are all equally important.  The difference is that all those buildings currently have a pulse.  The Armond Theatre does not. It could and it it could compliment and augment Cranbrook's vitality as well as the Youth Arts scene.
The Armond Town Hall
The Vision

This restored movie theatre is a central, civic, all-season meeting place which welcomes residents, tourists, young and old.  This repurposed Cranbrook Town Hall provides the perpetual spirit in Spirit Square year round and all weathers.

The four unique spaces contained within the Armond building provide a hub and a healthy pulse to the downtown core, linking City Hall with the public in a way that has not been possible before.  Through public events, the nurturing of our creative youth, a mass of local information, where to go, what to see, who is here, when things are happening and how to access them, this one stop shop for ‘what is happening,’ in the heart of the city brings a new, consistent and consolidated energy and vibrancy to Cranbrook’s center.

The cultural, clearing house, situated in the lobby/store front has the ability to tie the community together linking the Chamber of Commerce booths at either end of the ‘strip’ to the city core.  It enables tourists to have a reason to leave the highway, either on bicycle, by foot or by vehicle.  Bicycle rentals can be deposited or collected here and returned to any of the other participating locations.  By having a central agency for the registration of all events, courses and classes offered by private individuals, groups, the City and the College of the Rockies, it is easy for residents and visitors alike to find the information which will satisfy their interests.

The unique Town Hall with its lofty ceiling provides a space with an ambience unlike any other in the city – a replacement, albeit aesthetically different, for the much-loved Bluebird, which the city lost in a fire.  As our Town Hall, it has the ability to provide a larger and alternative space for well attended Council Meetings or Open Houses.  For our blossoming small and home businesses, it provides an affordable and occasional marketing space downtown.  Exhibitions and displays can be set up for several days at a time. Farmer’s Markets have an available space for rent in the shoulder and winter seasons.  A small commercial kitchen enables self-catering, (occasional license only), to community events where entertainment, eating and dancing are combined.  The high ceiling offers acoustics and atmosphere providing an ambience unlike any other, where food and beverages are permitted and there is dance floor.  The relaxed and flexible nature of the space provides an opportunity for informal and formal gatherings alike and for all demographics in our community.

The provision of a permanent home for the Youth Arts Centre at the mezzanine level enables this building to have not only constant activity downstairs but a regular rental income and energy upstairs that this age group can provide. The separate entrances and exits give this rental space the luxury of independent comings and goings without having to use the storefront public space.  Plenty of washrooms are available on the lower level.

The convenience of the Arts Council in the Fire Hall will make joint projects in all these spaces easy to coordinate with added bonus of extra temporary display, demonstration, performance or exhibition space close at hand. When museum exhibitions are held in the Cranbrook Museum and Exhibition Galleries Canadian Museum of Rail Travel, it is possible to coordinate more hands-on displays, workshops or relevant entertainment in this less formal space.

Last but not least, the roof of this, one of the tallest buildings in the downtown, provides a fabulous opportunity to view Cranbrook from the piazza like setting around a large glass skylight which floods light into the interior space.  The view, through the roof top trees is not available from any other downtown location. Through the use of industrial reservoir planters, small trees line the inside of the clear safety railing and surround the roof.  Access to this space is via a spiral staircase located in the The Youth Arts Centre.   The use of vegetation in contained planters, assist with climate control for the building.  This showcase roof project puts Cranbrook on the map for innovation and recognition of its Rocky Mountain Trench location.

Plenty of parking is close by, beside Rotary Park on Tenth Avenue and behind the Credit Union on Baker St.

An Opera House/Auditorium preceded the Armond Theatre on the very same site and two movie theatres, The Star and then The Armond have existed on this block of Tenth Avenue in the time Cranbrook has existed.

By seizing this opportunity for the continuity of our history, Cranbrook has recognized the necessity for its heritage preservation.  There is much love in the city for this solid old building.  It holds memories and marks part of Cranbrook’s history.  Community use with a look into the future makes it special once again.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Familiar Story

The push to save Nelson’s Civic Theatre got a shot of adrenaline last week when more than 60 people turned out for a meeting.
Early last week, Cindy Sherry put word out in the Starthat she was interested in hearing from people who wanted to keep the city’s movie theatre running films. The meeting was scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the Vienna CafĂ©, but the number of people who showed up required the meeting to be moved to the Best Western Baker Street Inn.
“In one way I was surprised, but in another not really,” Sherry said of the response. “I knew there was too much silence in this town and we needed to be sparked. Whether it was the [Nelson Stararticle about those nice fellas that want to open the theatre as something different or me stepping forward… I think it was getting down to the wire so somebody was going to come forward and draw out all those romantic film buffs out of the woodwork.”
The Civic Theatre has not shown a movie since September, 2010 when the City of Nelson terminated the lease of the long time operator. Though a proponent stepped forward a few months later with a plan to turn the theatre into the Nelson Cinemax, that plan fizzled after the old seats were torn out.
Last month the Nelson Downtown Athletic Club proposal was pitched to city council. The plan suggests turning the theatre into a multi-use sports facility that would include squash courts, a climbing wall and small gymnasium. It would be a private business and be tax neutral.
With time running out — the original request for proposals for the building was to close on April 17 — Sherry decided to spearhead a last ditch effort to save the theatre.
“It’s just the start, the important thing was to get a dialogue going,” Sherry said of the meeting. “This is a big decision and some people feel very passionate about this building.”
Enthusiasm at the meeting was high and many ideas were put forward. At this point Sherry said they are putting together a core committee who will move forward with the next step. They are planning another meeting for later this week.
“There was a lot of passion in that room, so now we have to see what happens,” she said.
At this point Sherry said the most likely route the new committee will head is to pursue a non-profit model based on the theatre in Salmon Arm.
“This is too expensive for a business or a business person to come through and run this. They wouldn’t get their money back for a long time,” said Sherry. “I really think the way for this to work is as a community. We have to share it and people have to be patient.”
Though lots of ideas were thrown around and plenty of enthusiasm exists for fundraising ideas, Sherry said they are currently looking for two key members on the committee — somebody with a financial background and somebody with an idea about what it would take to renovate a building.
“It’s opening a can of worms,” Sherry said of the current state of the theatre. “If you have ever done a house renovation, we all know what happens once you start to knock walls down.”
Last week, city council extended the deadline for proposals to May 31. Sherry said even that timeframe might be difficult to meet.
“To have a concrete proposal made, that will not be enough time,” she said. “But we got the impression of we came up with an adequate proposal [by that time] to give them something to work with, then that might be acceptable.”
The new group will get an opportunity to look inside the building for the first time on April 17.
On Saturday theatre proponents were in the downtown rounding up signatures on a survey/petition. Due to the long weekend and many people being out of town, they plan on being out in force again this coming Saturday.
“It has momentum now so we are going to really charge on now and build on it,” said Sherry.
Anybody interested in helping the committee or finding out more information are asked to email