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.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Citizen Ownership

We are fortunate in the Kootenays to have the Columbia Basin Trust, which funds many of the extras taxpayer dollars cannot afford.  This bold idea for Victoria is a sign of the desperation most municipalities find themselves in when it comes to infrastructure which is falling apart faster than it can be fixed.  It will be interesting to see how the idea is received.
By Roszan Holmen - Victoria News
Published: July 18, 2012 8:00 PM
Call it a sign of the times.
Victoria residents will soon have the opportunity to make a donation toward their city’s capital projects, if a new legacy fund gets the green light from city council.
While endowment funds are typically directed to a social service or centre for the arts, the proposed Shape Your Future Legacy Fund will direct citizen donations to such projects as bike lanes, playgrounds or bus shelters.
“In the long term we could use this fund to build a new swimming pool, or do anything that citizens want to do,” said Coun. Lisa Helps.
She is scheduled to introduce the idea to council at its governance and priorities committee meeting tomorrow (July 19).
At a time when the city faces an infrastructure deficit of approximately $500 million, the fund could help the city achieve the types of things that improve quality of life, freeing up money to deal with necessary infrastructure projects, such as sewers and roads.
If council approves the fund – alongside a $7,500 contribution – it would likely be the first in Canada. It could prove to be the new frontier of philanthropy as municipalities across North America find creative ways to deal with crumbling infrastructure and declining revenues.
Whether Victoria residents will have an appetite to donate is another question. Taxpayers have come to expect their tax dollars will pay for the types of projects that this legacy fund targets.
“It may very well have some appeal, but it’s hard to say,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation. “It’s perhaps not as appealing (as other endowment funds), but if you think about all the wonderful things that are in the city and if people think ‘my goodness, the city can’t afford to do this, maybe if I left something of my estate, the Crystal Pool could continue to exist.’”
When Richardson first heard of the idea, she called Helps and offered to partner with the city to manage the fund.
The Victoria Foundation has offered $7,500 on condition the city matches the contribution.
People could make a small monthly donation, or make a large one-time donation, Helps said.
Crystal Pool, she pointed out, was built thanks to a legacy from the McPherson family. Today, the pool is nearing the end of its serviceable life, but the city has no funds allocated to replace the facility. A new campaign through the Legacy Fund could put donations to work to build its replacement.
Embracing this type of fund will take an attitude of ownership, said Richardson.
“It should be more about ‘If this is our community, how do we keep it to be this beautiful, vibrant community?’ Funding in all three government sectors has really been pushed back, so it does cause people to say, ‘how can we work differently?’ It will be quite interesting to see the result of this.”

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lifeline Irony

In a week when many of us fret over the idea of a pipeline which might leak bitcumin onto the life giving surface of our planet, others thoughtlessly leak cans, car hoods and computer parts under the power lines which sustain more of the the modern conveniences on which we have come to depend. Maybe the hand of the storm which raged over a Cranbrook a week ago cutting off our power supply was a small reminder that we can, should and must do better for we depend upon these lifelines.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Market Days

Downtown street fair - every Wednesday evening
It  is great to see the Downtown Business Association and the Farmer's Market come together and great to see their individual events. The Farmer's Market has now become a Saturday habit for many who like to buy food directly from the local growers. Of course it is always fun to browse and buy the fun stuff from the talented local art and craft community.  The Wednesday Downtown Business Association Street Fair is a another terrific opportunity to shop from businesses such as the Loaf from Fernie, to buy Okanagon fruit or even a Honda.  The combined and concentrated distillation of the arts community and trade brings our Spirit Square alive with music, social activity and enjoyment.

Enjoy them separately or together at the mega events every other Wednesday - see the schedule to the right of this article.
Joe and Sanda Taylor and daughter Faith Saunders with their produce from Invermere

new carrots

Tristan and daughter enjoying the ambience

Friday, July 27, 2012

Wild and Violent Weather a Sign of the Times

Perceptions by Gerry Warner
And where were you on the night of the big windstorm of 2012? In the future, this may well be a question many Cranbrookians will be both asking and answering as they try to explain to future generations the remarkable events of July 20, 2012. Ironically, yours truly was out in his garden re-erecting a six-foot tall decorative clock that had already blown over once in a previous wind gust this summer and this time I was determined to keep it standing. To that end I had anchored it to a two-ft. square, landscape paving stone secured with three bolts that went right through the stone and into the ground.

Now that should last, I foolishly thought to myself  as I went in for supper just before the storm blew in from the west.
As we were eating supper, the lights suddenly went out and I remarked to my wife how strange it was because not a breeze was blowing yet and there was no lightning. Less than five minutes later, all hell broke loose. I could hear our carport roof shaking  with  rain blowing vertically under it and dark, flat objects flying through the air outside. This was followed by a 20 lb. flower pot that became suddenly airborne and flew into the side of my garage. Amazingly, it didn’t break and I determined to rescue it before it flew any further. After retrieving it in my bare feet, I jumped into my vehicle to move it to a safer location and then I started to take note of all the damage around me.

The next thing I knew I was driving down 2nd St. S. marveling at all the debris on the road, giant fir and ponderosa trees that had fallen on houses and hydro wires all over the place. Near the corner of 14th Ave and 4th St. S, I came across a couple of particularly, big conifers that had fallen across the yard and part of  the roof of one of the fine, old heritage houses in the area. I jumped out to take a picture when a Cranbrook fireman and a senior City staffer came across me standing on the wet pavement in my bare feet near some wires that had sagged down. Not smart! And you can easily guess what they said to me as suitably chagrined, I immediately drove home to put on some more suitable clothing.

On the way back, I came across a 100-year-old,  giant Ponderosa tree that had come down against a condo complex across from the Seniors’ Centre. In falling, the giant leviathan’s roots pulled a slab of sidewalk right out of the ground and left it pointing at the sky at almost a 45 degree angle. It was an impressive, if not somewhat disturbing sight. Less than a block away, another giant Ponderosa had been shattered only this one snapped off at least 20 feet up before crashing down on 2A St. S. right near to my house.
But what truly amazed me in both cases was how quickly chain-saw, wielding neighbors in both cases were out on the street and in their yards cutting the downed trees out of harm’s way and bucking them up into short lengths so they could quickly be hauled away both by themselves and the City which quickly came to the aid of residents unable to deal with the carnage on their own. It kinda says something good about a community where both residents and the powers-that-be pull together for the good of all.

Now, I’m a bit of a weather nut. Always have been, always will be. So I can’t help but wonder what would cause a storm as violent and fast-moving as this one. I’ve heard before about “micro-bursts” and wonder if that was what slammed us Friday. An interview with veteran Kamloops meteorologist Jim Steele strongly indicates we did experience a micro-burst which often accompanies severe thunder storms: “About 10,000 feet this downdraft starts and down it comes with lots of cold air with it and the cold air is a lot more dense and those things just come rushing out of the cloud and man it’s like a plow wind. Anything in its sight just snaps.”
Steele confirmed that a peak wind speed of 58 knots (107 km or 65 mph) occurred at the Cranbrook Airport around 6:30 p.m. MDT. “That’s a big one,” he said, adding winds are considered “severe” anywhere between 60 km and 90 km.
A harbinger of global warming? Or just a freak storm?  Cranbrookians and others will probably be arguing about this for a long time.

 Gerry Warner is a retired Cranbrook journalist and city counsellor. His views are his own and he does not speak for Cranbrook City Council.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Oil, Alberta, Norway, Canada

Oil Wealth: Should Norway Be the Canadian Way?

How did Norwegians get so petro-smart? The Tyee sent Mitchell Anderson there to find out. First of his reports.

By Mitchell Anderson, Today,
an excerpt:
These benefits include free university tuition, universal day care and 25 days of paid holidays per year. Per capita spending on health care is 30 per cent higher in Norway; funding for arts and culture is more than three times higher than Canada.

Norway's tough deal with foreign firms
How is all this paid for? Since the 1970s, Norway as a matter of policy has collected between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of the resource wealth generated from their oil industry through corporate taxes twice as high as Canada, and a special tax on oil profits. In Alberta, royalties collected on all oil sands production in 2010 were 10 per cent of industry revenues.
Norway also required that foreign companies train Norwegian workers, transfer proprietary technologies to their state-owned oil company Statoil, and in some cases even hand over producing oil platforms free of charge after a predetermined period.
This insistence on national participation has paid off. Companies controlled by the Norwegian taxpayer now directly own about 30 per cent of the nation's oil production, providing another significant source of income as well as technical input on how their resource is developed.............

Yet by far the largest oil-related controversy in Norway is actually about Alberta. Statoil became a minor player in the Canadian oil sands in 2007 and many Norwegians feel this investment is unethical. The Norwegian Church Council and others are calling on their government to withdraw from the project on principle.
Obviously it is easier to be critical of petroleum practices in another country but this case illustrates the comparative consensus in Norway around how their oil industry is managed. Put another way, when Greenpeace was recently handing out leaflets to workers outside a Statoil facility in Norway, the oil company graciously provided the environmentalists with hot coffee and sandwiches. Would this happen in Canada?

Read the entire article at:

What's Happening...

Thursday, July 26

Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River
Wildhorse Theatre at Fort Steele Heritage Home
Every Thursday to Saturday until Sept 1, 7pm
For more information please call 250-417-6000

Friday, July 27

Fare Fight for Food Challenge
Join the Cranbrook Food Bank and Tamarack Centre at Save on Foods
Between 11am - 3pm
Enjoy a hot dog or smoke and a pop
All proceeds go to the Cranbrook Food Bank

Saturday, July 28

Farmer's Market
10th Avenue beside Rotary Park
9:00am - 1-00pm

Mt. Zion Lutheran Church Garage Sale
11th Street South, Cranbrook
9am-2pm with BBQ & refreshments
For more information please call Verna at 250-426-7564

EK Outdoor Club Hike
On the hoodoos along the lower St. Mary River
Call Lorne for more information at 250-426-8864

EK Outdoor Club Hike
Hike up to Mt. Evans in a historic mining area up Meachen Creek
near St. Mary Lake.
For more information call Tom at 250-489-3543

Tuesday, July 31

Off the Rails
Fort Steele Heritage Town's production of the musical comedy
"Off The Rails" in the Wildhorse Theatre today and every Tuesday to Saturday
At 1pm and 4pm until Sept 1
For more information please call 250-417-6000

Wednesday, August 1

Wild West Wednesday
Fort Steele Heritage Town puts on its
second Wild West Wednesday of the summer this evening
beginning with a BBQ dinner at the International Hotel at 6pm
The event will be repeated August 15 & 29
Tickets are $40 adults, $20 children
Reserve by calling 250-417-6000

Artrageous Gallery
Changing Summer Favourites
135, 10th Avenue South - just south of the Associate Clinic (look for the sandwich board)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Toronto Becomes First City to Mandate Green Roofs

From Positive Press Daily comes this article posted in April of this year:

Toronto is the first city in North America with a bylaw that requires roofs to be green. And we’re not talking about paint. A green roof, also known as a living roof, uses various hardy plants to create a barrier between the sun’s rays and the tiles or shingles of the roof. The plants love the sun, and the building (and its inhabitants) enjoy more comfortable indoor temperatures as a result.
Toronto’s new legislation will require all residential, commercial and institutional buildings over 2,000 square meters to have between 20 and 60 percent living roofs. Although it’s been in place since early 2010, the bylaw will apply to new industrial development as of April 30, 2012. While this is the first city-wide mandate involving green roofs, Toronto’s decision follows in the footsteps of other cities, like Chicago and New York.
Under the direction of Mayor Richard Daley the city of Chicago put a 38,800 square foot green roof on a 12 story skyscraper in 2000. Twelve years later, that building now saves $5000 annually on utility bills, and Chicago boasts 7 million square feet of green roof space. New York has followed suit, and since planting a green roof on the Con Edison Learning Centre in Queens, the buildings managers have seen a 34 percent reduction of heat loss in winter, and reduced summer heat gain by 84 percent.
But lower utility bills aren’t the only benefit of planting a living roof. In addition to cooling down the city, green roofs create cleaner air, cleaner water, and provide a peaceful oasis for people, birds and insects in an otherwise polluted, concrete and asphalt-covered environment.

Well established green roof in Antwerp

Newly planted green roof at Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, 2011

photos Jenny Humphrey

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Add 7.5 minutes to Your Life Span

A fascinating look at playing games and their effect on your longevity.

Storm Aftermath

Stewart Wilson

The Public Works crews working all over the City deserve a great deal of credit for how quickly they have responded in the massive clean up operation after Friday night's catastrophic windstorm. These pictures taken during a walk along the creek this afternoon only tell some of the sterling work that they have done, in this particular case along Rotary Way stretching from Upper Kinsmen to MacKinnon Park.

Friday evening to Monday - before and after:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Who Really Knows? Should We Care?

Many strides have been made in Cranbrook’s sewage disposal system.  From there apparently being ‘no problem’ five years ago, Cranbrook now has a more up-to-date system - a scathing Environmental Appeal Board Hearing and $27 million dollars later.  There remain however, some issues of concern for Fort Steele residents and for those who want to know more about the food they eat.

Brian Radyke's (BC Public Health Veterinarian) opinion was that grazing beef cattle water sources should be avoided if the testing exceeds the guidelines given by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The guidelines are:  not exceed 5,000 total coliforms per100ml and not exceed 1,000 fecal coliforms per100 ml.

In the 2011 Cranbrook report provided to the Ministry of the Environment it is shown that the total coliforms are 15.8 times above the guidelines and the fecal coliforms are 79 times above the guidelines.  Yet in the report to the Ministry of the Environment from the City Engineering department, it is recommending that testing of the cattle watering holes cease.

RDL= Reliable Detection Limit represents 95- 99%.  G1 ponds - 4 interconnected drinking ponds

At the Council meeting of June 25th, the researched concern was raised over the testing of cattle drinking water at the Spray Irrigation Fields.  Some may ask 'Why the concern?' if cattle can deal with drinking treated effluent.  Some of those who raise cattle see no problem with the practice of allowing cattle to drink treated effluent and some would say this not a city concern.  However, if beef consumers were aware of what went directly into the animal's diet, they might feel differently.  It would appear this is a common sense and ethical issue.  

Here are two very good reasons why.
1. While it is said by some ranchers that high counts of pathogens are not a problem, others differ in their opinions.  A cow's digestive system is well adapted to different types of drinking water.  It is common knowledge cattle will drink their own waste.  However according to the provincial veterinarian, if the drinking water is over recommended levels of pathogens, cattle can be become dehydrated and lose weight.  The cattle immune systems can become weakened and more susceptible to parasites and other diseases.  Concern is compounded by the high concentrations of pharmaceuticals, hormones and chemicals (not removed by any current treatment at the Cranbrook fields) contained in the effluent.  Canada Food Inspection Agency does test the meat.  However most of the tests are superficial.  In depth analysis only takes place on a sparse number of animals and long term effects of this kind of practice are not known.

It is interesting to look at Alberta's stringent regulations and it is interesting to note that new federal guidelines have just been released.

For wastewater irrigation to be authorized in Alberta, the minimum treatment requirement is primary treatment followed by seven month storage.
p6 ‘Alberta Guidelines for Municipal Wastewater Irrigation’

A minimum buffer zone of 30m and preferred setback of 59m shall be provided between the irrigated land and any surface water body including dugouts, irrigation canals, lakes, streams, rivers and water reservoirs.
P 20  ‘Alberta Guidelines for Municipal Wastewater Irrigation’

In addition the land area to be used for wastewater irrigation and storage cells shall be sufficiently large that the wastewater discharge will not occur during the following periods
During and for 7 days prior to pasturing by livestock other than dairy cattle when the wait period is 30 days.
p20 ‘Alberta Guidelines for Municipal Wastewater Irrigation’

It is somewhat ironic that some of the cattle raised on this area are slaughtered in Alberta.

2. Some run-off from these fields continues to make its way into the Kootenay River and 17% of Cranbrook’s effluent volume continues to leak into the area water table. (Cranbrook’s 2011 Report to the Ministry of the Environment)  The new upgraded system of treatment at the spray irrigation fields will ultra-violet treat the effluent in order to remove pathogens but not pharmaceuticals, hormonal products and heavy metals.  The effluent is then re-contaminated by the cattle in an area which continues to drain into a major waterway.

This CBC news item from June 26th also highlights the issue of differing opinions.

E. coli found in several rural Alberta areas

A Calgary lab executive is warning that Alberta could be the next location of an E. coli outbreak.
Chris Bolton, CEO of Benchmark Labs, has found E. coli 0157 — the pathogen that led to the deaths of seven people in Walkerton, Ont., 12 years ago — in several spots across southern Alberta.
He worries an Alberta community could be the next Walkerton, and says too many cattle operations are doing too little to keep their manure runoff out of the waterways.
“There doesn’t seem to be any containment between the open livestock pens, the dairy barns and the other facilities that are here, and they slope directly down to the canal,” Bolton said.
Over the past two years, Bolton has found E. coli 0157, high coliform counts and salmonella in irrigation canals.
E.coli 0157 can be deadly at any level. It produces toxins that can cause severe gastroenteritis and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS, most common in young children, can cause permanent vascular and kidney damage and can be fatal, according to Alberta Health and Wellness.
Bolton said he’s frustrated with the response he’s been getting from the provincial government:
“We’re finding huge gaps between the different agencies … either through miscommunication or lack of will. We’re not seeing a lot of action in this area,” he said.
The Alberta Beef Producers, an industry group, however, said E. coli is naturally occurring and it’s unfair to blame cattle producers for the higher than average rates of infection in the province.
They added that wildlife feces is a potential source of the pathogen.
The Natural Resources Conservation Board said its current risk management system for protecting surface water has been recently strengthened and is working well.
University of Calgary microbiologist Glen Armstrong said there should be a follow-up on the locations where E. coil 0157 was found, but added he isn’t too concerned about the elevated coliforms or E. coli levels, which are over the provincial guidelines, but not by much.
(CBC News)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

More Storm Images

More photos showing the severe damage from last night's storm.  These photos courtesy of Stewart Wilson.
Much appreciation goes out to all the emergency crews who have worked through last night and are still working to restore power, roads and normality.

Cranbrook's Dark and Stormy Night

Jenny Humphrey

Unfortunately the experts predict much more of the same in the future.  Expect the unexpected they say, as climate change becomes more extreme.  We can consider ourselves lucky this time - some, more so than others.  Those with a broken roof or flattened vehicle have every right to not feel so lucky but to our knowledge at this time no-one was seriously hurt.  

With no power for twenty four hours and no electronics, some beautiful sounds were heard in my neighbourhood - kids playing the piano, shrieks around the basketball hoop and neighbours chatting and helping one another. The drone of chain saws and generators in the distance as well as the  plaintive and persistent calling of a mother Flicker who had lost her young reminded us all day that yesterday evening was far from normal.

Thank you to all those crews who restored our power remarkably quickly considering the amount of damage.  Twenty four hours with no power was a good reminder that maybe we take for granted what many consider a luxury and maybe we should use it a little more sparingly.

Some who could only keep smiling

Friday, July 20, 2012

Another of Cranbrook's Fountains

The 1939 I.O.D.E Drinking Fountain missing hardware.
The I.O.D.E. Drinking Fountain
The current location of this drinking fountain was discovered in a chance conversation with a city employee recently.  A few residents have been wondering what happened to it when the Spirit Square project required its removal from Rotary Park.  It may not look like much in this photograph but it does in fact have quite a history.  The working fountain used to sit between the previous location of the Fink Fountain in Rotary Park and the Cenotaph.  The Fink Fountain has now been relocated to the Centennial Garden and the deteriorating I. O.D. E. Drinking Fountain sits in the city works yard in a location where the plaque telling its history is hidden from view.

In a letter to City Council dated July 4th of this year Jim Cameron asks the city, "on behalf of those who came before and in whose memory the fountain was originally erected by the Imperial Daughters of the Order of the Empire and entrusted to the city of Cranbrook, to restore and return the fountain to its original location."

There have in fact been two I.O.D.E. Drinking Fountains.  The Imperial Daughters of the Order of the Empire were a group of active ladies who raised funds in order to send care packages to soldiers fighting overseas in World War 1.  The group remained active, according to Cameron, until the mid 1920's when their services were no longer required.  Their remaining funds were used to build a the original commemorative fountain in Rotary Park.  The group reformed in 1939 and replaced the original crumbling fountain with the one pictured above.  As Jim Cameron points out, this fountain is a dedicated memorial and also was a much appreciated feature of Rotary Park.  

Cranbrook in Bloom undertook the restoration and relocation of the Fink Fountain.  Is there a group out there who might like to take this one on?