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, December 30, 2012

A Yogurt Economy

Cranbrook's economy will be on the minds of many as we launch into 2013.  Will it change, 'grow', be sustainable?  What does that all mean anyway and what is really important for this community to be a happy one?

From:  comes this paragraph:

    Many people hear the word "economics" and think it is all about money. Economics is not just about money. It is about weighing different choices or alternatives. Some of those important choices involve money, but most do not. Most of your daily, monthly, or life choices have nothing to do with money, yet they are still the subject of economics. For example, your decisions about whether it should be you or your roommate who should be the one to clean up or do the dishes, whether you should spend an hour a week volunteering for a worthy charity or send them a little money via your cell phone, or whether you should take a job so you can help support your siblings or parents or save for your future are all economic decisions. In many cases, money is merely a helpful tool or just a veil, standing in for a partial way to evaluate some of the goals you really care about and how you make choices about those goals. 
According to Answerbag Drexel University explains that the word “economics” derives from two Greek words, “oikos” and "nomia." “Oikos” translates to a family household or estates, and “nomia” means laws or rules issued by the government.
Read more: Where does the word economics come from? | Answerbag

It is interesting that one of the most delicious yogurts on the market goes by the name of 'Oikos'.

There is much talk about economic growth for Cranbrook as there is for other communities.  There is constant discussion about what would be good to boost our local economy and in the feedback from the Chamber it recommended that the city, 'Work with the business community to take a more aggressive approach on the City’s economic development strategy, including regular progress reporting.' 

We already have an economic development officer on staff at City Hall and economic boosts have been sought after in Asian locations at the City's expense.  However maybe a healthy economy should not be based on financial wealth but on the the health and happiness wealth of those within a community and maybe the economic drive could come from the people within that community. By defining economic growth differently other solutions might be possible.  

The 'sharing community' thinks so.  We have a 'carshare' group in the area and in some cities around the world this idea has taken off with great success.  The economy succeeds with more sharing and less money is required.

We have seen the success of the Farmer's Market with much satisfaction being achieved by both growers and consumers.  Money still changes hands but it is a sure bet the producers are not getting rich.  Satisfaction is achieved in another way.

With less emphasis on owning more material stuff our economy may well change into something a lot more meaningful.

This is one idea for a boost to the local economy:
Click on Effluent to Affluent and then on Summary, problem etc.
This little project did not win the $10,000.00 hoped for - for a feasibility study but maybe other opportunities will come along.
The schematic drawing for the above changemaker project can be viewed here:

Any other ideas out there?


  1. After reading the proposal on utilizing the heat generated by effluent at the front end of our system, I am wondering if this idea has been proposed to City Council for referral to the Economic Development Committee?

  2. While there are many aspects of an economy and what all makes up an economy, in practical terms it cannot be separated from its financial component., at least not in relation to the rest of the province, country or even globally. And economics is not solely about wealth, it is about the perceived value among a variety of products or services. Value is subjective and most often includes factors such as is it organic, environmentally friendly, sustainable, as well as does it make me feel good or look good. We each make decisions about the trade off among these features when we buy something, whether at the farmer's market or when we cross-border shop. You are asking us to make health and happiness a more prominent factor in our decisions and trying to correlate that to a stronger financial economy. Unfortunately, the infrastructure deficit that the city faces will have very harsh economic effects if the city can not pay for it without crushing increases to fees and taxes. If that happens, none of us will be very happy.

  3. Why is "grow" in quotations at the top of the article?

  4. The 'Effluent to Affluent' project was passed on directly to the Economic Development officer and the Mayor.
    The word 'grow' is in inverted commas because 'to grow an economy' is concept worth questioning. In the traditional sense the word was applied to living things which all eventually die. Life continues but in another form - is this what is happening to our economy? What exactly should the word 'grow' mean in this context and what kind of wealth really needs to be produced for a happy and productive society?

  5. I think that your effort to question the concept of economic growth demonstrates a troubling disconnect from reality. Even right here at home, the City's infrastructure report cards demonstrate the need for our municipal government to generate greater revenues - much of which comes out of our pockets, directly taking from our disposable income (since property tax is not tied to income). Even grants from other levels of government just serve to spread the financial burden. Cranbrook's best strategy for keeping up with growing costs is to grow our population and, as a result the property tax payer base. If the City continues to raise taxes at 4.5% per year, that is a cumulative increase of 14% over the term of this council. Even that is not enough to cover rising costs and to accelerate the renovation of our infrastructure.

    1. Over the term of the current five year plan the total increase in property tax will be 30%

  6. I think under the terms of reference for all City committees, the Effluent to Affluent idea can only be forwarded to the Economic Development committee by a motion of Council. That would require a delegation to present this idea to Council during a regular Council meeting.

  7. Yes, Thank you - a delegation is not out of the question and it is also possible for Mayor and Admin to invite a delegation if a topic looks worthwhile.