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.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The West Entrance

Click on images to enlarge
The structural work for this concept plan has been completed.  Lane line design has not been finalized pending review by the traffic engineer.  Landscaping, tree planting, signage and the picnic area will be the responsibility of the City.
In 2012 City Council approved $60,000 towards a project to redesign the west entrance to Cranbrook.  The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in discussions with the City of Cranbrook decided to use their portion of provincially designated funding for Highway 3 corridor pull-outs and rest stops to help the city enhance their visitor pull-out information centre at Elizabeth Lake.  The changes would also enhance safety in the location as well provide better protection for the lake edge.  The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure jointly with the City agreed on the concept plan. As construction was progressing the Ministry’s Roads Area Manager for Cranbrook, worked with the city to incorporate enhancement features into the design.  To date, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure have moved the Centennial cairn, determined the final design and managed all construction at the site.  The City to date, has moved the snowman decoration, installed electrical conduit and paid for the the new pavement.  The City had the opportunity, through these changes, to make this area a showcase entrance for Cranbrook and fulfil the number one goal of the 1999 Revitalisation Plan which was,

"to create attractive, impact full entrances to the City"

 As is normal with any major project, consultation and research has taken place with many stakeholders including Rocky Mountain Naturalists and Ducks Unlimited.  The area has the potential to include a wheelchair accessible informational kiosk for business listings, maps and wildlife information, picnic tables, landscaping and hopefully a new Welcome to Cranbrook sign.  Columbia Basin Trust has granted the City $50,000 but in order to fully complete the project another $60,000 has been proposed to come out of the budget surplus.  As is normal with any major project, City staff and administration pull together the information necessary on which to base a final decision.  It is now up to Council to decide whether to accept the full extent of improvements or to do less.  

The newly located Centennial Cairn

The re-graded and flat area above will hopefully house an informational kiosk with business listings, maps and other tourist information.
The 'loop' as it looks now.  Once the snow has gone it will be seen that landscaping and bank stabilisation plantings will need to be installed.

What's Happening...

Thursday, January 31

Surviving Progress
Wildsight present the documentary
Surviving Progress
7:30pm, COTR Lecture Theatre
Admission by donation

The Merchant of Venice
Continues tonight through Saturday
7:30pm at the Key City Theatre
Tickets are $20 at the box office

Friday, February 1

Bluegrass at Ric's Lounge
Starting at 7pm
Musician invited to bring their instruments join in.

Jean Pederson Workshop Registration
Today is the registration deadline for
Portraiture with Water Based Media Workshop
Cranbrook & District Arts Council
February 8 to 11.
Fee is $275 for CDAC members and $300 for non members
Call CDAC at 250-426-4223 for more information

Saturday, February 2

The Mountain Town Maulers "Get Roller Derby Fit"
Invites women to train with the team in a 6 week program.
The 2hr classes are for beginner and intermediate skaters.
Derby Fit classes run every Sat. until March 9th
12:30-2:30, St. Marys School Gym
For more information email

Wednesday, February 6

Arty Gras
CDAC invites artisans to submit works to the Arty Gras exhibition
at the Artrageous Gallery and to present demonstrations of their crafts.
From today to March 2.
To participate and for more information please call 250-426-4223

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The West Entrance to Cranbrook in Budget Deliberation

The City is going through its annual budget deliberations.  During this time, as was the case yesterday, January 29th, the issue of what to do with any surplus from the previous year is discussed.  It is to the credit of city management and good fortune that there is a modest surplus this year.  This is the time for council to examine any expenditure that may need to be brought forward or to see items on last years ‘wish’ list accomplished.

During this part of budget talks the West Entrance project came up for discussion.  It was agreed by Council in 2012 that $60000 would be spent on upgrades to the West/ Elizabeth Lake Entrance to Cranbrook.  Highways came aboard with some money, as there was concern with the current arrangement being difficult and unsafe for large rigs.  Columbia Basin Trust also recently announced a $50,000 grant.  City staff has researched the project extensively and has a plan to make this a showcase and welcoming entrance to our city.

Recommendation 1 of the 1999 Revitalisation Plan was:
To create impact-full entrances to the City

Another $60,000 is required to fully implement this improvement plan and part of the surplus might be an opportunity to see this project completed.  The Centennial cairn has already been moved and roadworks have already been started, informational kiosks are planned, as is a picnic area.  We posted pictures of the work in the fall of 2012 and the Townsman featured an article about the project.

At the Budget meeting of January 29th it was difficult to understand why Councillors Davis and Pallesen stated they knew nothing about the plan and it is equally difficult to understand why Councillor Pallesen would be against seeing the full plan through to completion.  Councillor Pallesen spoke against spending the extra $60,000, as it seemed she felt this was not good use of taxpayer’s money and she said she could not support this.  A vote has not yet been taken.  As the city, with the help from many businesses has been making a great deal of effort to improve its image in the last few years it would be a shame not to make this project as stunning as possible, to make a great first impression on visitors to Cranbrook and to demonstrate pride in our city.  

Blast from the Past - East and West Entrance Signs, The Arches

From the Cranbrook Courier September 11, 1930

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sign Surveys Due this Week

This is the last week for you to give input into the City's proposed new Draft Sign Bylaw.  The links can be found on the top right of this blog.  The documents can quickly and easily be downloaded.

Cranbrook's signage has been a topic of conversation for many years among tourists and residents who feel more might be done to improve the aesthetics of our city.  There are those who say this is just a service town and signs of all sorts are what should be expected.  However if Cranbrook is to capitalise on tourism and the economic benefit that comes with that, it would seem fitting to make an effort to look more appealing as a place to stay.  Certainly business would benefit from longer and more frequent tourist visits.  Many have made an effort to fulfil some of the recommendations in the Cranbrook Revitalisation Plan from 1999.   Flower Baskets are hung.  Boulevards have been planted.  We now have an Urban Forestry Plan.   Let's hope this new bylaw frees the way to make even more improvements and help Cranbrook to become a tourist destination and not just a service centre.  It is up to all of us to let the City know how we feel about a new sign bylaw.

Make your comments and deliver to City Hall by 4:00pm Friday February 1st.

Cranbrook's Revitalisation Plan from 1999

Click documents to enlarge.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

From 6 Mile Look Out

We have experienced a lot of low valley cloud this past week.  These views are through Stewart's lens from atop Six Mile Look Out.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Never too Young or Old for Philosophy

Tiffany Poirier has been featured on CBC more than once.  To be inspired by this teacher's student philosophy classes and to hear the latest recording of these inspirational young people, go to the CBC website and click on 'listen'.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Laugh with Leacock as you flush your smartphone away

Perceptions, by Gerry Warner
Remember that wonderful story by Canada’s greatest humorist? No, not Rick Mercer. Those of us of a certain age will remember Stephen Leacock and the story was: “My Financial Career.”
“When I go into a bank I get rattled. The clerks rattle me; the sight of the money rattles me; everything rattles me.”  I doubt they teach this in school anymore so I will skip to the ending which sees Leacock’s hapless hero, after making a total fool of himself trying to make a deposit, fleeing in terror “as a roar of laughter went up to the ceiling of the bank.”

It’s a short story. Just a few pages and many great guffaws in between . And though it may surprise many of a younger demographic that there was humor in the world long before TV, movies and Facebook, I highly recommend visiting the local library, and yes crack open a book. (you remember those quaint things) Enjoy  some great laughs for yourself. It just might make your day.

Well, you were right. This was leading to something I would like to share with you. Namely my own version of “My Financial Career,” which I’ve lived the past two weeks, but praise the Lord, I’m living no longer because I’ve returned my first smart phone to the store, a sadder but wiser man.
Yes, it began a fortnight ago, when after virtually years of agonizing, I decided to take the plunge and purchase my first cell phone. Oh woe is me. You see, I still call those infernal instruments cell phones because I didn’t realize they’d evolved into “smart phones,” a virtual computer between your sweaty fingers capable of surfing the Net, taking pictures, forecasting the weather – and with all the apps that come with them – boiling an egg! The clerk at The Source (God bless him) did his best to explain how to use this work of the devil, and like Leacock’s poor sot, I left the store shaking, my eyes glazed over and my stomach churning inside. For several days, I just left it on my night dresser and I could feel its beady little eyes (they must have eyes) mocking me every time I passed it. I tried several times to make a call on it, but to no avail and several times – I’m not lying – it whistled at me. Is it gay, I thought to myself. Should I be undressing in front of it? I became totally discombobulated in the mere presence of it.
Then horror of horrors, one morning when I was working on my computer (believe it or not, I’m quite competent on a computer) I just about fell off my seat as a burst of classical music suddenly filled the room. What the hell’s going on, I thought to myself. I don’t even have CBC on. The music continued (Beethoven or Tchaikovsky, I wasn’t sure) Then I realized it was coming from the bedroom and I raced in and sure enough it was that evil, black box which someone had apparently called and it was summoning me to do its bidding. Actually, I was quite excited. Someone was calling me! And I was determined to answer my first smartphone call and join the 21st Century.
Fat chance!
You know something? The 20th Century wasn’t so bad. I’d go back there anytime. In those halcyon days, most of the calls you received were from phones that you just picked up, maybe pressed one button and said “hello.” Nothing to it.
So I picked up that wicked piece of technology that so many in the world are addicted to and tried to answer the call. No !@%$!&! way! There were two little thingy symbols on the screen that I eventually figured out were supposed to represent phone icons (Oh, how I loath “icons”) One was green and one was red. So I pressed the green one. Duh, I’m no dummy. Green means go doesn’t it? I pressed, I pressed again and I pressed a third time. Nada. So in desperation, I pressed the bloody, little red, icon. Nada. I then walked into the bathroom determined to flush the vile, little, music box down the toilet, but then thought better of it because I didn’t want to get the Drano out again.
So instead, I walked back to The Source and the ever-obliging staff there took the cursed instrument out of my shaking hand under a clause in the sales contract called “consumers’ remorse,” which gives technology-challenged consumers like me the opportunity to do this as long as it’s within two weeks of purchase. (No kidding. I could kiss whoever put that law on the books.)
And speaking of kissing,  I feel so much better now. And to those of you who laugh at a smartphone technophobe like me, I would point to a recent survey by Rogers Communications that found 37 per cent of its smartphone users described themselves as “attached” to the glassy-eyed little monsters and five per cent actually slept with their smartphones.
Attached or “addicted?” I may be smartphone challenged, but at least I’m not an addict.

 Gerry Warner is a retired journalist and Cranbrook City Councillor. His opinions are his own.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What's Happening...

Thursday, January 24

Merchant of Venice
Tonight through Saturday and again next
week Thursday through Saturday(Jan 31, Feb 1st, 2nd)
Key City Theatre starting at 7:30pm
Tickets are $20 and available at KCT Box Office

Family History and Memoir Writing Workshop
with Sioux Browning
Held at the Cranbrook and District Arts Council
6pm-9pm and continuing on Jan 31 and Feb 7
Contact CDAC at 250-426-4223 for more information

Saturday, January 26

Cranbrook Seniors Social Dance
Featuring the music of Tuck's Troubadours
Cranbrook Seniors Hall, 7pm-11pm
Admission is $10
Contact Flo for more information 250-489-2720

Locals Coffeehouse
Studio Stage Door starting at 7:30pm
Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at Lotus Book or Swing Street

Robbie Burns Night
School of Highland Dancers host its annual
Robbie Burns Night at the Prestige Inn.
Doors open at 5pm with a traditional Scottish Dinner.
Tickets are $35 adults, $20 children
To reserve a table or for more information please call

Monday, January 28

Bocephus King with Connor Foote and The Bison Brothers
Performing at the Byng Roadhouse

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday's Ice Fog

The effects of Tuesday's ice fog were mixed.  It was certainly very beautiful.

Thanks to Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Ducks Unlimited and Columbia Basin Trust, Elizabeth Lake Continues as a Valuable Resource

We post many photographs from Elizabeth Lake as it is a favourite walking and wild life watching site in Cranbrook.  This upgrade project is much appreciated by those residents and visitors who love this valuable part of our city.

This article is reposted from the Ducks Unlimited website. Photos Stewart Wilson:

Cranbrook, B.C., January 16, 2013– One of B.C.’s oldest conservation projects recently received a much-needed facelift. Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) worked together to refurbish and rebuild the aging water control structures on the Elizabeth Lake conservation project near Cranbrook, B.C., in October of 2012.
The rebuild of Elizabeth Lake’s water controls will allow the area to continue as both excellent wildlife habitat, and a recreational and educational resource for the city of Cranbrook and surrounding communities for another 30 years. DUC did most of the groundwork, with financial support from CBT. DUC also received funding from B.C.’s Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for this project.

“Before the initial enhancement work nearly 30 years ago, the wetland was overgrown with bulrush and was at risk of being drained and encroaching urban development,” says Brad Arner, manager of provincial operations for B.C. “Because the original structures were starting to deteriorate, this rebuild was needed to eliminate those risks and to ensure this important waterfowl habitat was not lost.”
The Elizabeth Lake project supports a diverse population of waterfowl and other water birds. The area is an important staging, migration and breeding area for mallard, teal, ring-necked duck, lesser scaup, redhead, ruddy duck, goldeneye, bufflehead and Canada goose. The area also supports other wildlife including elk, mule and white-tailed deer, moose, muskrats and a variety of waterbirds and songbirds.
“A new water control system will help maintain the lake’s ecological integrity for decades to come,” said Rick Allen, CBT program manager, environment. “This benefits not only its wetland and aquatic ecosystems, but also the many people who enjoy the lake and all it has to offer.”
Now that the rebuild is complete, the public is welcome and encouraged to continue using the property for recreational purposes like hiking, as well as wildlife and bird watching.

CBT supports efforts to deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the residents of the Columbia Basin. To learn more about CBT programs and initiatives, visit or call 1.800.505.8998.
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. 
For more information, please contact:
Jill Mooney,
Communications Specialist
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Rachel Lucas,
Manager, Columbia Basin Trust

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gordon Terrace Cranbrook, BC to St Martin's, Cranbrook Devon, UK

On Sunday January 13, we posted a piece titled 'Cranbrook Brand New'

This brand new sustainable community is being built in Devon UK. 

The vision for Cranbrook is to create a self-sufficient, low carbon new community in close proximity to skilled employment opportunities, encouraging people to use sustainable modes of transport and to reduce the need for them to travel between work and home by car.

You can read about it at:

As a way to share ideas in sustainability and to create learning opportunities for students in two schools in different countries, the Principal of Gordon Terrace Elementary, Cranbrook BC, Michelle Sartoral and Principal, Tania Beard of St. Martin's Primary School Cranbrook, Devon have agreed to partner in facilitating some student correspondence.

Both Principals were invited to speak to one another via the phone lines of CBC on Monday January 21st.  To listen to what they had to say click on this link and allow a minute or to for the sound file to open.

Post Notes from the Council Meeting of January 21st 2013

Mayor Stetski absent.  Councillor Cross chaired the meeting as Acting Mayor.

A Public Hearing was held prior to the Council meeting in order to gain input for item 13.1 Zoning Amendment Bylaw 3762.  This item had been removed from the agenda prior to the meeting in order to take concerns into consideration.
A number of concerned individuals spoke of their issues with the recommended limited number of storage containers on their property.  It was pointed out that these economical storage units are safe, secure, versatile and necessary for many present day business practises (the storage of winter tires for example). Presenters were thanked and Council will take all concerns into consideration before redrafting the bylaw.

5.1               Terry Miller, Cranbrook Community Theatre report on the Studio/Stage Door Building which is City owned but managed by the Cranbrook Community Theatre.
Terry Miller accompanied by Bud Abbott gave an historical overview of the Studio Side Door facility, bringing Council up to date with the latest improvements to the city owned facility.  Council was informed the roof needs to be refinished and the Cranbrook Community Theatre is hoping for granting assistance with this major project come spring.

7.1                 Administration Report
The full report can be read at:

OCP Review - a Public Open House has been set for 7:00pm Manual Training Building, February 5th.  This is the public's chance for input into the Official Community Plan Draft Review 

Building Permit Summary - This was a good news report in that building starts and value was up approximately 30% in 2012 from 2011

Leisure Services Report

Canada Day Celebrations - It was announced that Sunrise Rotary will no longer be heading the Canada Day Celebrations.  The City is looking for another organisation to take this on.  A grant has been applied for by the city from Heritage Canada.

Park Bridges - the bridge in IdleWild Park is currently being replaced.  There are two more bridges scheduled for replacement in the Spring.

Library Services and Family Family Literacy Day January 26th Activities 1:00 - 2:00pm Cranbrook Public Library


9.1                 Columbia River Treaty, information on upcoming schedule
9.2                 Pitch In Canada,
9.3                 Friends of Cranbrook Women’s Resource Centre Request for waiving of fees.  Granted - One night theatre rental fees waived.

Committee Recommendations
11.1      Cranbrook in Motion
It was recommend that no changes be made at the intersection of 1st St. S. and Victoria Avenue.
Other concerns will be further reviewed.

New Business
12.1  Motion from Angus Davis regarding Council's relationship with the Regional District.
This item was discussed but it was agreed to postpone a vote until the return of Mayor Stetski.  Councillor Whetham pointed out that the examples given by Councillor Davis have been discussed at length in municipal venues other than the Council table.  Councillor Scott pointed out that while it might be important to understand feelings around some issues, RDEK issues must be dealt with from the perspective of the RDEK and points raised at the RDEK table may well not be in keeping with individual Councillor views.
An article concerning this item can be found on yesterday's posting.

12.2  Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Program Direction from Council
The date of April 9th was set for the public presentation of proposals.

12.3  RDEK Referral. Amendment to Rockyview OCP (Official Community Plan)concerning a 32 lot residential subdivision in the Jim Smith Lake area.
Council recommended against approval for this subdivision.

13.1  Zoning Amendment Bylaw 3762
Third Reading and Adoption
This item was removed from the agenda for further review.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Councillor Davis and Municipal Infrastructure

It is interesting that in today’s Council package there is a motion from Councillor Davis concerning how Council representatives deal with their responsibilities on the Regional District Board.  His concern appears to be around two decisions endorsed by Council’s representatives.

One decision concerned the expression of dissatisfaction with the infrastructure funding levels provided by the Federal Government for Municipal projects.

The other decision concerned the rejection by our two representatives of the creation by the Province of the resort municipality of Jumbo.

Davis bases his motion on the fact that at no time were these issues discussed as a topic of Council deliberations and yet both issues have community wide interest.

In the Tyee on January 21st Andrew MacCleod states in the eight hopes for the next BC Government,

Infrastructure upgrades. The Union of B.C. Municipalities is the umbrella group for local governments in the province. President Mary Sjostrom stressed the organization is non-partisan but will have the same requests regardless of who wins the May election.
"Certainly infrastructure for our members is our number one priority," said Sjostrom. There is a new federal plan coming in 2014, which will bring together the three levels of government and it needs to have dedicated funds for local infrastructure, she said.
There is also a need for local governments to have the ability to raise money for all the things they now do, she said. "You've heard us many times say services have been increased beyond the traditional utilities and roads," she said.
Ways the province allows local governments to raise money have not, however, changed, she said. "The revenue today we rely on has remained the same over the last 50 years."

When 140 of BC’s mayors met in September of 2012, on the topic of infrastructure the BC Mayors’ Caucus endorsed the following statement:

“We agree that our communities require immediate action to provide stable, predictable, long term infrastructure funding from federal and provincial governments, to meet municipal needs as defined by each community’s priorities. This statement affirms and complements the efforts of UBCM and FCM to address the infrastructure needs of communities to ensure social, economic and environmental well-being.”

On Friday January 11th it was reported in the Townsman, ‘MLA expresses frustration with local government’, that our MLA Bill Bennett was putting out the call to Council to stop asking the province for more money. In his talk with reporters he listed many items, including infrastructure. 

It is not as though any of these items are new.  It is not as though MLA Bennett has not been involved in discussions.  It is not as though Councillor Davis has not heard or been part of UBCM, or Council table discussions involving planning and priority setting.  It is not as though local politicians are not aware of current financial constraints but that does not mean priorities need to be abandoned or frustration should be cause to give up. 

It would appear Councillor Davis is both out of step with many local residents and also the majority of Municipally Elected Officials.

Advance Notes for the Council Meeting of January 21st 6:00pm

5.1               Terry Miller, Cranbrook Community Theatre report on the Studio/Stage Door Building which is City owned but managed by the Cranbrook Community Theatre.

7.1                 Administration Report
 OCP Review, Building Permit Summary, Leisure Services report, Canada Day Celebrations, Park Bridges, Library Services, Family Literacy Day


9.1                 Columbia River Treaty, information on upcoming schedule
9.2                 Pitch In Canada,
9.3                 Friends of Cranbrook Women’s Resource Centre Request for waiving of fees

Committee Recommendations
11.1      Cranbrook in Motion

New Business
12.1  Motion from Angus Davis regarding Council's relationship with the Regional District
12.2  Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Program Direction from Council
12.3  RDEK Referral. Amendment to Rockyview OCP concerning a 32 lot residential subdivision in the Jim Smith Lake area.

13.1  Zoning Amendment Bylaw 3762
Third Reading and Adoption

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Out and About with Stewart

Between Cranbrook and Kimberley is a wonderful Nature Conservancy area that is variously called Lone Pine, Potato Butte, The Buttes or Twin Buttes.  The views are spectacular at any time of the year and the contrasts and shadows are never better than when the mountains are clothed in their winter white.

These are views from this week.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Alberta Resources for Bennett and Liberals

from the Vancouver Sun:

VICTORIA — A handful of Alberta’s top power brokers have thrown their weight behind Premier Christy Clark’s bid to win re-election, holding a fundraiser in Calgary on Thursday night with B.C. cabinet ministers Rich Coleman and Bill Bennett.
Organizers for the $125-a-person event include Rod Love, chief of staff to former premier Ralph Klein, longtime political organizer Morten Paulsen, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. vice chairman and Calgary Flames co-owner Murray Edwards.
“If your company or organization does business in British Columbia, (or perhaps if you or your family own property in B.C.), you should be concerned about the risks posed by the election of a New Democratic Party government in the upcoming election in May of 2013,” the three wrote earlier this month in an invitation to the event.
The invite promised an opportunity to hear from Energy, Mines and Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman, Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Bill Bennett and Doug Clovechok, B.C. Liberal candidate for the NDP held border riding of Columbia River-Revelstoke.
“Alberta’s fortunes are inextricably linked to those of British Columbia,” said the invite.
“While we may joke that the election of an NDP government in B.C. would be good for Alberta business, we all know that jokes aside, it would be bad for those doing business or owning property in B.C., and it would be bad for Canada.”

Read more:

Let’s Bring Ballet to Downtown Cranbrook

By Councillor Gerry Warner

In her best-selling  book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” the late Jane Jacobs said cities go through a cycle of growth and decay with some managing to reverse the cycle and grow again by taking back their downtowns. Doing this creates “a ballet of the sidewalk,” by breathing new life into crumbling inner cities and recapturing their souls, said Jacobs who’s  generally considered the greatest urban geographer that ever lived.

I don’t think Jacobs, who lived half her life in Toronto , ever visited Cranbrook, but if she did I could see her eyes lighting up at the sight of our downtown, which is a text book example of a downtown with a lot of potential, but still looking for a soul.

I know this is not news. In the Cranbrook Connected plan “Restore the Core” is identified as one of the “Eight Big Ideas” to put our city on the road to civic sustainability. City Council has responded with a downtown revitalization bylaw providing a five-year tax break for businesses that upgrade or expand their premises. The Spirit Square project helped to kickstart a downtown revival with the gazebo bandstand in Rotary Park, the new Wall of Honour and leveraging  money for the repaving of 10th Avenue and improvements to the sidewalks . The Farmers’ Market has been a huge success and has even expanded into the winter months and the recent announcement by Heidi’s Restaurant of a new brew pub downtown bodes well for the future.

So as far as downtown goes there is definitely some good news, but we would be sadly deluding ourselves if we thought the battle for our beleaguered downtown is over. What’s needed is more ideas, more investment and more vision if our downtown is to become the heart and soul of the city again as it often appears in Jim Cameron’s Janus column in the Daily Townsman. What follows then, in no particular order, are a few ideas of my own along with others I’ve gleaned from fellow Cranbrookians that would love to see our downtown become the dynamic, vital, beating heart of the city again.

“Redeveloping the old Super Value lot is the lynch pin to downtown revitalization,” says Chris Ayling, one of the main forces behind the Cranbrook Connected plan. That along with mixed residential/ commercial development downtown “would be the number one thing to seeing more people downtown after 6 p.m. and not just going to the bars,” Ayling says.

Ironically, the fire last year that leveled several old buildings on Baker Street could be the key to getting something new happening on the venerable old street, says well-traveled Cranbrook Councillor Bob Whetham.  In his travels, Whetham says he’s seen cities in South America and Europe with covered, transparent, pedestrian walkways or “gallerias” that give easy access to stores and shops in all kinds of weather. “We need something unique that would create excitement downtown, Whetham says. In the winter issue of “Cohere,” a fine new cultural quarterly about Cranbrook, writer Sioux Browning points to several advantages to living and doing business in downtown Cranbrook, but also points to a major disadvantage – “Baker Street is a stub, blocked at both ends.”

Speaking strictly for me, I couldn’t agree with Browning more. Several bad decisions by previous City Councils have virtually walled off the downtown from the rest of the city. No wonder tourists and travel writers are always talking about “the strip” because they never see downtown with the way the streets are configured now. And frankly, despite some fine stores, restaurants and entertainment facilities downtown there simply isn’t enough of them and the access is inconvenient.

So what are we going to do?

I admit I can’t offer any magic answers, but why not try to build on the success of the Cranbrook Connected process. Why not a “Restore the Core” task force or committee strictly manned by volunteers with strong connections to City Hall, the Downtown Business Association and the Chamber of Commerce? I’ll even volunteer to chair it if there’s any interest.

Could we ever create “a ballet of the sidewalk” in downtown Cranbrook? We’ll never know if we don’t try.

 Gerry Warner is a retired journalist  and City Councillor.  His opinions are his own.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What's Happening...

Thursday, January 17th

You Should Write That
Family History and Memoir Writing with Sioux Browning
Held at the CDAC offices at 135 - 10th Ave. from 6pm-10pm
Also continuing on Jan 24 and 31 and Feb. 7
Please contact CDAC for more information at 250-426-4223

Saturday, January 19th

Tragically Hip
Western Financial Place
Additional Tickets have been released
Cost $80.25

'Nude Art' Exhibit
Cranbrook and District Arts Council
135 - 10th Ave S.

Surviving Progress

“We’ve been waiting for this film to become available and are thrilled to be able to show it” said Dan Moe, Wildsight Kimberley/Cranbrook Director. “It’s based on well-known Canadian thinker Ronald Wright’s groundbreaking Massey Lectures he gave across Canada a few years ago.

 This is a big picture film that looks at environmental impacts of our current civilization and the impact of concentrating wealth in the hands of a few.” Moe will introduce the film in Kimberley while Councillor Sharon Cross will give the introduction in Cranbrook.

“Surviving Progress” presents the story of human advancement as both awe-inspiring and double-edged. It reveals the serious risk of running the 21st century’s software on the ancient hardware of our primate brain. With rich imagery and an immersive soundtrack, filmmakers Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks launch us on a journey to contemplate our evolution from cave-dwellers to space explorers. The film brings well-known thinkers to the big screen, including Stephen Hawking, Jane Goodall, Margaret Atwood and David Suzuki.

  ‘Surviving Progress’ will show in Cranbrook at the College of the Rockies in the Lecture Theatre on January 31st, and in Kimberley at Centre 64 on February 1st, where the audience will watch the film on the recently installed high resolution screen thanks to a partnership between Kimberley Arts Council and Wildsight. . Both showings are at 7:30 pm. Admission is by donation

Monday, January 14, 2013

Arts Culture Poll

Majority of Canadians believe arts, culture should get government support: poll
Michael Oliveira
TORONTO — An overwhelming majority of Canadians believe arts and culture should receive government support, according to the results of a recently released poll commissioned by Canadian Heritage.
When asked how much importance governments should place on supporting the arts in Canada, 39 per cent chose “a great deal” as their response, while 48 per cent chose a “moderate amount.” Nine per cent said “not very much” and three per cent responded “no importance at all.”
The poll of 1,001 Canadians, conducted by Phoenix Strategic Perspectives Inc., last summer, found about 83 per cent said they attended a live performance or arts event — such as concerts, theatrical performances, readings, crafts shows or festivals — during the past year.
About 57 per cent said they were personally involved in an artistic activity during the past 12 months. The most common act was donating money, goods, or services to an arts or cultural organization (26 per cent), followed by acting, dancing or making music (22 per cent), making photographs, movies, videos, animation or new media art (20 per cent), and using technology to “create something creative or artistic” (20 per cent).
Two-thirds of those polled said it was important to have arts and culture in their lives, and roughly the same number said it was important that access be within 45 minutes of their home.
But not all Canadians felt they had good access to quality arts and culture.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cranbrook Brand New

The Vision

The vision for Cranbrook is to create a self-sufficient, low carbon new community in close proximity to skilled employment opportunities, encouraging people to use sustainable modes of transport and to reduce the need for them to travel between work and home by car.
Work is underway on the building the new community of Cranbrook, with outline planning permission (subject to a section 106 agreement) for 2,900 homes. 
Our aim is to build Cranbrook to the highest code for sustainable homes we can and by doing so become a trail blazer for low carbon mass open market housing developments.

Looking our Best in Winter

From the West Hill
Thank you Stewart Wilson

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What a Weather Week

 The weather warning on the morning of Jan 7th was right.

Photos Jenny Humphrey and Stewart Wilson

Friday, January 11, 2013

An Antidote for the January Blues

Warner’s Ultimate NHL Hockey Dream

Perceptions by Gerry Warner
“I have a dream.”
With apologies to Dr. Martin Luther King, who uttered this statement in the most famous speech delivered in the 20th Century, I too have a dream, but my dream has to do with a much more modest goal than liberating an entire race of people.
I just want to feel good about hockey again.
Now that the NHL lockout is over, doesn’t it warm the cockles of your heart to know that the team owners obtained their goal of retaining half of the league’s $2.27 billion in annual revenues? And those ever-suffering players can go back to earning as much as $100,000-a-game (you read that right) not to mention their gold-plated, defined pension plan that no ordinary schmuck has a chance of earning and the half-dozen rich teams will keep getting richer while the 18 teams that lost money last season will continue to lose.
And they have the gall to say this is the deal that will “save hockey,” or at least hockey NHL style. Well I’ve got news for the greedy NHL owners and players. You can count your millions and billions for as long as you like, but this deal is no more sustainable than the last one. And it’s only a matter of time until the league that’s lost 2,365 games to strikes and lockouts over the last 20 years (more than the NFL, NBA and both major baseball leagues combined) exhausts its ever-forgiving fans and collapses of its own accord. And what will Bettman and Fehr do then? Count their millions? But it won’t be coming from the league they destroyed. However, don’t despair! There’s hope. And with apologies to Jonathon Swift, allow me to make a modest proposal to save professional hockey.
First step, abolish the NHL.
I’m not kidding. This corrupt organization of millionaires and billionaires has dissed the fans one too many times. And in its place there should be a new league making use of something hockey has got that football, baseball and basketball sadly lack  – international popularity.
In Canada, hockey is virtually a religion with the Stanley Cup its Holy Grail. No argument there. But hockey is also very popular in some – and I emphasize – “some” parts of the US, but not the South like idiot Bettman thinks. Hockey is also wildly popular in several European countries – Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Slovakia and the like. And then there’s Russia, Canada’s greatest hockey rival and the only other country as passionate about hockey as Canada. (Hell, both Harper and Putin are tremendous fans.)
And that’s the formula all you disillusioned fans out there. Reconfigure hockey on an international basis and to hell with the NHL. Do I need to remind you of how popular the World Jr. Championship is every Christmas ? More popular than Santa Claus even when Canada doesn’t win a medal. So using soccer – the most popular game on earth – as a template, let’s remake hockey in a similar international style.
There would be three leagues – the Canadian, American and European including Russia of course. Canada could easily support 10 or a dozen teams with additional franchises in Quebec City, Halifax, Hamilton and maybe even a Saskatchewan team playing in Saskatoon or Regina or both. The US could also easily support 10 or so teams, throwing out all the teams of Bettman’s “southern strategy” with the exception of maybe Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area and adding Portland and Seattle. (maybe  a New England team too)
As for Europe, you just watch them. With the caliber of hockey played in Sweden, Russia and the Czechoslovakian states, it could very easily be the strongest league of all. And look what you would have? Hockey played in places where people love the game, support it and where there’s snow on the ground half the year. You would have national, international and ethnic rivalries just like the great rivalries in soccer. You could have league championships with shorter seasons followed by a World Hockey Championship every year played in sold-out arenas in every league with world-wide TV coverage. How could it lose? ow couldHow   
Yes, maybe the current players and owners wouldn’t make quite as much money in a set up like this. Cry me a river. But it would be Great Hockey and who’s going to argue with that? Impossible, you say. Yeah, right. And how many of you a month ago would have said the Kootenay Ice would be riding a six-game winning strike now?
Remember the old saying, “build it and they will come.” Let’s build it.

 Gerry Warner is a retired journalist and international hockey nut. His opinions, as bizarre as they may seem, are his own.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What's Happening

Thursday January 10th

Rockies Film Series
'Searching for Sugar Man'
7:00pm Columbia Theatre

Cranbrook and District Arts Council 
'Nude Art'
Exhibit ongoing
Reception tonight 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Friday January 11th

BDO Game Night
Western Financial PlaceTime: 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm 
Call 250-426-4285

Thursday January 17th

You Should Write That
Family History/memoirs Writing Course
Jan 17th through Feb 7th
$120 for members
Register now at Cranbrook and District Arts Council

Friday January 18th

Fort Steele Theatre Camp
to register

The Chamber and the NDP Dilemma

A Chamber of Commerce executive who wants to run for the New Democrats in the B.C. election next May has been told she will lose her job if she wins the party nomination in the riding of Chilliwack.

The dilemma of open partisanship for Chambers of Commerce is certainly not new as we found out recently in Cranbrook when our local Chamber did not host a business audience to hear Adrian Dix, Leader of the Opposition.  The question of whether local government should fund openly partisan organisations such as a Chamber will not go away and increasingly other decisions of some Chambers of Commerce are also being questioned.  It would seem times are changing and considering many Chambers in the Province may be working with a different government after May, one would think it might be in their best interest to show interest in forging relationships with those people they may possibly need to work with in the future.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hollywood Legend Ed Asner Has Caused a Stir Over This Animated Short

To see source:

Red Sky in the Morning

Shepherd's warning!  The weather certainly took a turn today.

Sunrise, Jan 7th  (Stewart Wilson photo) 

Enviable Situation in Sweden

Sweden runs out of garbage, forced to import from Norway
by Matt Hickman

Sweden, birthplace of the Smörgåsbord, Eric Northman, and the world’s preferred solar-powered purveyor of flat-pack home furnishings, is in a bit of a pickle: the squeaky clean Scandinavian nation of more than 9.5 million has run out of garbage. The landfills have been tapped dry; the rubbish reserves depleted. And although this may seem like a positive — even enviable — predicament for a country to be facing, Sweden has been forced to import trash from neighboring countries, namely Norway. Yep, Sweden is so trash-strapped that officials are shipping it in — 80,000 tons of refuse annually, to be exact — from elsewhere.
You see, Swedes are big on recycling. So big in fact that only 4 percent of all waste generated in the country is landfilled.
Good for them! However, the population's remarkably pertinacious recycling habits are also a bit of a problem given that the country relies on waste to heat and to provide electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes through a longstanding waste-to-energy incineration program. So with citizens simply not generating enough burnable waste to power the incinerators, the country has been forced to look elsewhere for fuel. Says Catarina Ostlund, a senior advisor for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency: “We have more capacity than the production of waste in Sweden and that is usable for incineration.”