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, March 30, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Response to MLA Bennett’s Statement of March 27th

 A response to MLA Bennett’s statement of March 27th,  "I get a kick out of the 100 Mile Diet, which is a great idea, except that where I live you'd have to eat hay."


Mr Bennett went on to say:
 "It's great, it's a great idea, and you've got a market garden in the Kootenays, but it can't feed 80,000 people."

'A market garden'? – Surely he meant to say gardens and he was surely just using the statement to justify the changes in the Agricultural Land Reserve.  Mr Bennett would not infer that if all food delivery stopped tomorrow the valley's inhabitants could not feed themselves, would he? 

Really - would that not be possible?
Apart from the beef cattle, sheep, goats and wild meat, we do have market gardens, home vegetable gardens, fruit trees, local eggs, Creston grains, wine and cheese.  This valley even supplied potatoes and other produce to Calgary at one time. There still could be a whole lot more food growing opportunities if those food commodities received their true value and if it were the choice of those who live here to farm or garden the land for that purpose.

However we have come to rely on and choose cheap, often imported, mass-produced food, often with unknown content.  The art of raising and storing our own food has been lost by many
including our local agricultural economy since the Province put a stop to farm gate sales that we used to enjoy.  This leaves British Columbians, and indeed, most Canadians to support foreign food growers, rather than our own producers. The 'buy local' campaigns are relative. Merchants want us to shop in their stores to purchase goods but those goods are often imported from elsewhere. Those businesses provide some local employment but in the case of food, we have a real opportunity to support genuinely locally made, and that keeps even more of the money circulating within our area economy, and more local employment rather than in another country or province.  

If we are unable to feed ourselves, what does that say about food security, and our ability to be self-sufficient if necessary?  If it was possible one hundred years ago and it was, there is no doubt it should be possible now if necessary.


Using an 'eat hay' analogy to justify the decision to unlock the gates on future agricultural land reserves allowing, 'whatever' would appear very short sighted.   If it is possible to grow food on an artificially lit, glass covered rooftop, it is possible to raise food on much of the natural mineral rich Kootenay land. Preserving that precious resource for future use when it might be more highly valued would seem to many, the wisest thing to do.

Kudos to the many who do know how to feed themselves and kudos to all those who provide us with a wonderful locally grown product.  We shall not eat hay.



Michael's Musings

Minding the public purse responsibly right here in Cranbrook

By Michael J Morris

Although the expenses of politicians in Canada at all levels of government have dominated the news for over a year now, Cranbrook city council at a December 2013 regular meeting declined to delete a section of its policy and procedures manual covering spousal/partner travel and expense costs.

Perhaps, given the most recent revelations involving BC Liberal MPP Linda Reid, who is also the Speaker of the British Columbia legislature and BCNDP MP Jenny Kwan, Cranbrook council will revisit its policy.

In Reid's case she has just recently repaid over $5,500, the cost of her husband's flight to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in South Africa, which had originally been paid by BC taxpayers.

Reid was attending in her capacity as speaker, in comments on the situation, noting that "It is important work on behalf of democracy."

Maybe so, but working on behalf of democracy also means minding the public purse responsibly.

In Kwan's case, she recently repaid $35,000 to the Portland Hotel Society, an agency that provides health and social services, housing, and drug treatment in Vancouver's notorious Lower East Side. It is part of Kwan's riding and apparently she has a long connection with the society.

An audit discovered that the society had paid expenses for a Kwan family trip to Europe and another to Disneyland.

No matter that these two politicians, along with the continuing investigation into members of the Senate of Canada involving expenses, the citizens of this province who are also Canadian citizens, deserve better from those they elect to public office at all levels.

Which brings us back to Cranbrook.

Councillor Sharon Cross introduced a motion at the December council meeting to amend Policy Number 40-301 of the city's policy and procedures manual titled travel expense claims to amend it by deleting a paragraph which reads "Spousal/partner travel and event costs shall be reimbursed upon approval of the Mayor for members of council, volunteers and the CAO"

and "Spousal/partner travel and event costs shall be reimbursed for city personnel upon approval of the CAO."

Unbelievably, in 2014, given the uproar over travel and expense claims by politicians, council chose not to support the motion by Councillor Cross, to delete the section. Apparently, there have been no requests during the term of this council for spousal/partner travel and event costs reimbursement, but it seems like council wanted to keep the policy in place just in case.

Or maybe they thought that Cranbook politicians live in splendid isolation from the rest of Canada

Cranbrook council would show it gets the message that public expectations are that the gravy train on travel costs by politicians must end by revisiting this policy and deleting that section. Otherwise, it is fair question to ask those who seek re-election later this year, "Why not delete it?"  My email is mj.morris@live.ca

DISCLOSURE: Sharon Cross and I have been personal friends for almost 25 years, but in no way has she influenced me in any way in the writing of this column. In 50 years of journalism, I have strived to follow the words of Dennis Adkin, editor of the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, that a good reporter has "no friends and no enemies." Just tell the story.
 






Thursday, March 27, 2014

What's Happening......

Friday and Saturday March 28th, 29th

Cranbrook Library
mini Book Sale
Friday Friends members only
Saturday - everyone welcome 9:00am - 4:00pm

Saturday March 29th

IceCream and Jam Social
Cranbrook Seniors Hall
1:30pm - 3:30pm

KISS Tribute Band
Destroyer
Key City Theatre
7:30pm
250-426-7006

April 3rd -5th

Cranbrook Community Theatre
"The Foreigner"
The Stage Door, Door 11, 11th Av S.
7:00pm
Tickets Lotus Books

Get your tickets now for
'A Celebration of Excellence'
Symphony of the Kootenays
Saturday April 12th







World Theatre Day

Thank you to all our local Thespians who provide us with year round opportunities to escape into the wonderful world of theatre.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Youth Survey Results Release, March 31st 4:00 - 7:00pm City Hall.

Cranbrook Youth Survey Results Launch at City Hall

Cranbrook, BC -- According to Cranbrook youth there are three local businesses that they count as the most youth friendly in town. At the upcoming CBKyouth Youth Survey Launch Party they will be showcasing those businesses and summary of the survey results.  In November 2013, Big Brothers Big Sisters with CBK Youth asked Cranbrook youth, ages 12 – 19 about how youth-friendly our community is. They surveyed more than 350 students from Parkland, Laurie, Kootenay Educational Services, T.M. Roberts, Mount Baker, College of the Rockies, and the homeschooled students to get a snapshot of where our youth community is right now. At the event CBKyouth will be asking parents, youth, the municipality, local youth service providers, and passionate community members to strategize the action items that we can work on, together, to make Cranbrook more youth-friendly. The event, on March 31, 2014 at City Hall will also take time to recognize those local businesses that are “Certified Youth Friendly”. The CBKyouth team is excited about the opportunity to use City Council Chambers for the launch. This is just part of the ongoing support that Mayor Stetski and Council have shown for improving things for Cranbrook’s youth is what helps make projects like this successful.

CBKyouth is the youth project hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters in partnership with the City of Cranbrook, CBAL, Cranbrook Public Library, United Way and CMHA Kootenays to create more things for young people to do and to make Cranbrook overall more youth friendly. The overarching goal is that current and future youth programming will work together to fill the gaps and create new opportunities for young people. This will be done through coordination of our current activities, creating new youth opportunities, the coordination of a youth service provider’s network and working with a Youth Action Team.

If you want to hear about and recognize what businesses are the most youth friendly places, as well as hear about the youths biggest struggles and the percentage of youth who feel heard then you’re not going to want to miss out!

The survey launch will be open to the public at City Hall, on March 31st from 4:00pm-7:00pm. This will be the opportunity to get the real snapshot of where the youth of Cranbrook feel they are.


Contact:  Dana Osiowy and Carly Eldred
carly.eldred@bigbrothersbigsisters.ca
100 Cranbrook Street North Suite 250
Cranbrook, BC.
250-489-3111





BC's Historic Hotels

As tweeted by Chris Walker. Worth checking out:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/westcoasthistory/sets/72157628749899017/


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Message from Shannon - Community Garden Coordinator, EVENT TODAY

Everyone is invited to the Cranbrook Public Produce Garden to start planning the season ahead.

We are celebrating the start of the season with a ribbon cutting for our newly constructed pergola.  The Mayor will be on-site to help us officially open up the season, and we'll have some light refreshments.
Tuesday, March 25 at 1pm

We'll also be starting to plan the season ahead by mapping the garden, assessing needs and deciding generally how things should be organized this year.  Your input is important and highly valued! Please come and contribute your thoughts.
There will be other planning sessions in the weeks to come if you can't make it today, or feel free to respond to Shannon.

Time always seems to speed up in the spring as the weather warms and light increases, we'll be eating out of the Garden before you know it! I look forward to another great year of seeing this exciting community space develop.  Bring a friend along next week, it'll be fun!

Look forward to seeing you there,

Shannon Grey Duncan
Cranbrook Public Produce Garden Communications Coordinator
(250)427-7981

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Blast from the Past - The Skunks Have Arrived

So is this who started it?
Cranbrook Courier December 1923


Today is World Water Day



69.6% frozen in ice sheets, glaciers, permanent snow cover and permafrost
30.1% beneath the ground
0.3% in lakes, rivers, and wetlands, in plants, animals and in the atmosphere

(Source - National Geographic, April 2010)

Understanding the role water plays in our existence is multi-faceted. Much information can be found at:
http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/home/es/

This is just one of several videos on the World Water Day Website.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Michael's Musings.....

Meeting needs of those in "shadows of life"
By Michael J Morris
It seems like the Family and Community Services Committee appointed by Cranbrook city council provoked much debate at a recent council meeting after a request was made to meet with Mayor Wayne Stetski about its "function and relevance."
It also wants to meet monthly on its regularly scheduled date regardless of whether or not there are items referred to it by council. Apparently, if there are no items, then it would hold a roundtable discussion on issues within its mandate.
Sounds pretty simple to me, but as always, there are wheels within wheels, and one should never assume.
According to a report in the Cranbrook Guardian, Councillors Angus Davis, Denise Pallesen and Diana Scott felt that council needed to have "control over committee activities and felt there should only be meetings when there was a direction from council to meet over specific topics."
Seemed like a top down approach to me but before I started spouting off about committees and volunteers, thought it best I visit the city's web site and look at the committee's terms of reference.
Councillor Sharon Cross, according to the Cranbrook Guardian report did point out that this particular committee had a lot to network about and there was value in meeting regularly even if there was no particular direction from council.
Yes, indeed, part of the committee's mandate is to review issues referred by the council, but it goes much further.
The committee is charged with the responsibility of researching and exploring opportunities for enhancement of services for seniors, youth and homeless people, and physically challenged and enhancement of physical accessibility for all Cranbrook citizens.
Most importantly, the objective of the committee is to provide information and insight on creating a livable, diverse and inclusive community.
My goodness, if the committee was to come even close to meeting its objective as set out in its terms of reference in Cranbrook approved by city council, it could meet at least weekly, never mind monthly. Of course city council makes the final decision on any recommendations made.
Taking a look at its membership, all appointed by council, it has eight, two of whom are council members and the other six represent a wide cross section of the community.
However, if the committee's mandate does not meet the political agenda of priorities of some members of council, then I understand that they may wish to curtail its activities. If so, then they should propose a motion amending its terms of reference at an open council meeting.
This is a municipal election year, and those elected will for the first time serve for four years. More than ever, citizens need to know where candidates stand. By the way, I have no idea who on the present council is planning to seek re-election.
The upshot of the discussion is that Mayor Stetski plans to meet with the committee.
The late Hubert Humphrey, vice president of the United States and Senator, in his last speech said: "The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped."
Here is link to terms of reference
My email is mj.morris@live.ca
 Full disclosure: I am not now and never have been a member of the Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society; however, I did conduct a workshop for its members for which I was paid. 



 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What's Happening.......

March 24-28

Spring Break Day Camp
Fort Steele
Lunch included. Space limited.
Call 250-417-6000

Tuesday March 25th

Zucchero
Kay City Theatre
7:30pm

Friday March 26th

Mini Book Sale
Cranbrook Public Library
Manual Training building
Friends members only
6:00-8:00pm

Ongoing to March end

Cranbrook and District Arts Council
"Slapshot' Exhibit
Art in Sport
Photographs, paintings,
historical photos of The Fernie Swastikas, Moyie Mill team and more.



Mayor Nenshi on More than Redford Resignation

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Post Notes for the Council Meeting of March 17th 2014

Delegations
5.1 David Wilks MP
MP Wilks outlined upcoming granting programs including those proposed for communities under 100000 population.  Money will be available for Infrastructure, Arts and Culture and Sports.  Mr Wilks indicated to Councillor Davis when asked, that Canada Post at this time, has no intention of changing the decision to halt home delivery of mail.
5.2 Carbon Neutral Kootenays Dale Littlejohn and Megan Lohmann
Dale Littlejohn summarised the progress made through the use of this program. The program is now wrapping up. This presentation can be viewed at:
https://cranbrook.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=3790

Bylaws
6.1 3791 OCP Northern Area
To consider third reading and adoption of an amendment to the City's Official Community Plan. The proposed amendment will:
• add a new area plan for lands in the northern part of the City which were incorporated in a  2007 boundary extension;
• add new land use designations to the properties in the plan area which currently do not have an OCP land use designation
Adopted

6.2 3793 Zoning  Adoption
On March 3, 2014, Council gave first and second readings to "City of Cranbrook Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 3793, 2014", referred the application to the Advisory Planning Commission for recommendation, and scheduled a Public Hearing for 6:00 pm on March 17, 2014.
The subject property is legally described as Lot L, District Lot 36, Kootenay District, Plan 2668, and located at 3113 - 2nd Street South (see attached location map).
The currently proposed rezoning from "Rural Residential (Country): RR-8 Zone" to "Single Family Extended Residential Zone: R-1" will enable low density residential development of the property for a single family dwelling.
There was considerable discussion around the issue of run off and drainage and how this might affect properties below the subject lot.  Council was assured that mitigation procedures are now mandatory in this kind of situation.  The rezoning was approved.

6.2 Bylaw 3794 Five Year Financial Plan First Second and Third Readings
First, Second, Third readings all carried.  It is noted that the tax increase originally proposed at over 6% has now been reduced to just under 4%.

New Business

8.1 Coffee with the Mayor
8.2 Mayor’s Brown Bag Lunch
8.3 Coffee with the Mayor
8.4 Industrial Development permit For Selkirk Signs and Services
To consider approval of an application for an Industrial Development Permit to enable revised development of a property located at 421 Patterson Street W., and zoned "M1 - Clean Industrial Zone".
Approved

Committee Recommendations

9.1 Highway 3/95
That Council approve the following ordered list of the Highway 3/95 Revitalization Committee's priority
projects:
1) Fix / replace the North Entrance sign
2a) Create a path from the current location of Rotary Trail near the Prestige Rocky Mountain
Resort to Elizabeth Lake
2b) Upgrade Way Finding Signage to direct traffic off of the Highway and to City attractions like
parks, Western Financial Place, etc.
Considerable debate surrounded this priority list.  Although there is some funding place for items 1 and 2a Councillors Davis, Pallesen and Scott were concerned about being kept informed of the projects progress and costs.  The motion was amended to receive the list for information only. Carried.

9.2 Family and Community Services Committee
That Council approve the following recommendations from the Family and Community Services
Committee:
1. That the Family and Community Services Committee meet monthly on its regularly scheduled date, regardless of whether or not there are items referred to it by Council and that if there are no items referred to the Committee by Council, a roundtable discussion be included as a matter of business on the Committee agenda; and
2. That the Family and Community Services Committee invite Mayor Stetski to attend its next meeting in order to have a broader discussion around the function and relevance of the ‘Family and Community Services Committee’.
Much debate precipitated out of this suggestion also.  Councillors Davis Pallesen and Scott felt Council needed to have control over Committee activities and felt there should only be meetings when there was a direction from Council to meet over specific topics.  Councillor Cross countered that this particular committee has a lot to network about and that there was value in meeting regularly even if there was no particular direction from Council.  Mayor Stetski agreed to be present at their next meeting to discuss the role of Council Committees.

10.1 Administration Update
Canada Post,Western Financial Place, Dog Parks, Shaw Broadcasts, Library Services
Chris New from Leisure Services outlined the current Dog Park proposal options excluding the Moir Park Gravel pit option.  There were comments that Cranbrook is behind other communities in the development of these facilities.  Options, including the Muriel Baxter site will continue to be explored.

Correspondence
12.1 – 12.10

At the end of the meeting and in Round Table comments Mayor Stetski referred to the letter in the Townsman March 17th, from MLA Bennett concerning the city's DCC's.  He said the facts in the letter were largely correct. A comment from the City will be published later this week.

Comment
It should be noted that council members do not deal with provincial staff directly over these matters. It is City administrative professionals who are given direction to carry out these tasks.  Considering the debate, considerable discussion and effort put in by this Council around DCC's and the half a million dollars spent by the previous Council to assist in putting this process in motion it is quite shocking that no progress has been made in bringing Cranbrook more in line with other communities.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Advance Notes for the Council Meeting of March 17th 2014 6:00pm

Delegations
5.1 David Wilks MP
5.2 Carbon Neutral Kootenays Dale Littlejohn and Megan Lohmann

Bylaws
6.1 3791 OCP Northern Area
To consider third reading and adoption of an amendment to the City's Official Community Plan. The proposed amendment will:
• add a new area plan for lands in the northern part of the City which were incorporated in a  2007 boundary extension;
• add new land use designations to the properties in the plan area which currently do not have an OCP land use designation

6.2 3793 Zoning  Adoption
On March 3, 2014, Council gave first and second readings to "City of Cranbrook Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 3793, 2014", referred the application to the Advisory Planning Commission for recommendation, and scheduled a Public Hearing for 6:00 pm on March 17, 2014.
The subject property is legally described as Lot L, District Lot 36, Kootenay District, Plan 2668, and located at 3113 - 2nd Street South (see attached location map).
The currently proposed rezoning from "Rural Residential (Country): RR-8 Zone" to "Single Family Extended Residential Zone: R-1" will enable low density residential development of the property for a single family dwelling.

6.2 Bylaw 3794 Five Year Financial Plan First Second and Third Readings

New Business

8.1 Coffee with the Mayor
8.2 Mayor’s Brown Bag Lunch
8.3 Coffee with the Mayor
8.4 Industrial Development permit For Selkirk Signs and Services
To consider approval of an application for an Industrial Development Permit to enable revised development of a property located at 421 Patterson Street W., and zoned "M1 - Clean Industrial Zone".

Committee Recommendations

9.1 Highway 3/95
That Council approve the following ordered list of the Highway 3/95 Revitalization Committee's priority
projects:
1) Fix / replace the North Entrance sign
2a) Create a path from the current location of Rotary Trail near the Prestige Rocky Mountain
Resort to Elizabeth Lake
2b) Upgrade Way Finding Signage to direct traffic off of the Highway and to City attractions like
parks, Western Financial Place, etc.

9.2 Family and Community Services Committee
That Council approve the following recommendations from the Family and Community Services
Committee:
1. That the Family and Community Services Committee meet monthly on its regularly scheduled date, regardless of whether or not there are items referred to it by Council and that if there are no items referred to the Committee by Council, a roundtable discussion be included as a matter of business on the Committee agenda; and
2. That the Family and Community Services Committee invite Mayor Stetski to attend its next meeting in order to have a broader discussion around the function and relevance of the ‘Family and Community Services Committee’.

10.1 Administration Update
Canada Post,Western Financial Place, Dog Parks, Shaw Broadcasts, Library Services

Correspondence
12.1 – 12.10

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spring Evening Drapery

Stewart Wilson photos


The Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program

The Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program is a collaborative undertaking by 30 partners to restore grasslands and open forests in the East Kootenay and Upper Columbia Valley region of south eastern British Columbia. Restoration produces enduring benefits for plants,animals and people:

» more abundant natural forage for domestic livestock and wild ungulates, particularly elk, deer and bighorn sheep
» improved habitat for wildlife species that are endangered, threatened or of special concern
» healthier forests that are less susceptible to disease and insect attack
» reduced risk of severe wildfire near communities and across the landscape
» ecosystems that are more resilient to a changing climate.

The Trench ER Program was launched in 1998 to restore grassland and open forest ecosystems on Crown land. The program now includes restoration in provincial and federal parks, on private conservation properties and First Nation reserves. Program partners represent:
» government ministries and agencies
» First Nations
» the forest, ranching and guide-outfitting industries
» wildlife conservation and hunting associations
» land conservation trusts
» naturalist and environmental societies, and other citizen stakeholder groups.

The restoration program in the Trench was the first in BC and has become the model for other similar programs in the province.
To read the full summary go to:
http://trench-er.com/images/uploads/Blueprint2013_summaryweb.pdf

Friday, March 14, 2014

Calling All Professional and Amateur Artists Arts Organisations and Cultural Workers

FREE Workshop April 5th at 135, 10 Av. South
Call 425-4223 to register your attendance


What's Happening.........

Saturday March 15th

Cranbrook and District Arts Council
135, Tenth Avenue S.
BellyDance Workshop
with Kossene foster
$25 per person
Phone 250-4223

St Patrick Tea and Bake Sale
Cranbrook Senior Centre
1:00-3:00pm

Social Dance
Cranbrook Senior Centre
7:00pm - 11:00pm

Monday March 17th
Travelogue
Stories Around the World
John Przeczek and Percy Davis
7:00pm

Wednesday March 19th

Friends of the Public Library
Travelogue
Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil
with Gebhard and Sabine Pfeiffer
Entrance by donation

March 17 - 21st
March 24 -28th
Spring Day Camps for Kids Gr 1 - 6
at Fort Steele
Phone 250-417-6000

Tuesday March 25
'Zucchero'
Key City Theatre
7:30pm


Michael's Musings

Cranbrook plunges on best place to live list but community conversation brings hope for future
By Michael J Morris
How appropriate it was that an interactive community conversation was taking place in Cranbrook just as MoneySense magazine revealed its 2014 list of Best Places to Live in Canada.

The conversation, or community engagement project sponsored by Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments with funding from Columbia Basin Trust brought about 65 interested citizens together to discuss challenges facing the city. It was open to all citizens.

Leslie Taylor, a former councillor and mayor of Banff, facilitated the evening, and I extend kudos to her on  a job well done. Cranbrook can be a tough place to bring folks from all over the political and economic spectrum together in common cause but it worked out real well.

It showed that well intentioned people, can focus on things bringing them together rather than those dividing them, for the betterment of the community.

Given the MoneySense results showing that Cranbrook plunged from being the 53rd best place to live in 2013 to 141st out of 201 surveyed for 2014, the biggest drop of any city in Canada, the time has really arrived for those of us who live, work and play here to look at what ails us and address the issues openly and honestly to ensure a better place for all.

No need to spin the stats as I have already seen being done by some. If Cranbrook could make it to 53rd best place to live it can return. No need to weep and wail at all.
In fact, the community conversation provides a starting point once the report on the discussions is completed for a plan incorporating a vision and implementation plan to make Cranbrook the best place in Canada to live. 
This is also a municipal election year in Cranbrook, and according to Mayor Wayne Stetski, voter turnout was only 33% in the last one in 2011.
Here is background on the survey from a MoneySense news release:
"MoneySense's Best Places to Live in Canada" is a comprehensive data-driven snapshot of Canadian cities. The magazine looks at dozens of factors that contribute to the quality of life in 201 communities across the country, including unemployment rates, taxes, income and home prices. Beyond financial measures, the magazine also considers other key factors that contribute to community's livability, such as the weather, access to health care and crime. In total, MoneySense's Best Places to Live ranks every Canadian community with a population of 10,000 or more in 34 different categories. For full methodology visit: moneysense.ca/bestplaces.
As I was "Googling" for best places to live, Edmonton popped up which is working on a plan "The Way We Live" all of which was an interesting read, but I share one with you that I liked. It is called For the Love of Winter, and compared to Cranbrook its winters are brutal. Here is the blurb:
  • Edmontonians were invited to contribute ideas to help embrace winter for the WinterCity Strategy, endorsed by City Council. With hundreds of ideas submitted from river valley warming huts, free skate and ski rentals, to outdoor patios with fire pits and heaters, For the Love of Winter was developed by Edmontonians for Edmontonians. An implementation plan is now being developed to make our City more livable, inviting and more fun during the winter months.

By the way, St. Albert, just outside of Edmonton was named the Best Place to Live in Canada. Edmonton is ranked number eight and Calgary second, being displaced by St. Albert.  Here is the ranking list  http://www.moneysense.ca/canadas-best-places-to-live-2014-full-ranking
Thanks for the invite to the discussion.. My email is mj.morris@live.ca
Full disclosure: I am not now and never have been a member of the Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society; however, I did conduct a workshop for its members for which I was paid. 




Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Message from the Wildhorse Cycling Club

Some of you may know that Ryan Hamilton, our fearless president of the Wildhorse Cycling Club, has been nominated as a deserving rider to win an entry into the sold out B.C. Bike Race. He was nominated by his fearless wife, Gemma. Many of us know that he is deserving of this based on all that he has done in the community for cycling. And that he is a teacher. Teachers are the best. 

He has been chosen in the top 6 of the contest. Please go here to vote and help him win:
Vote Ryan Hamilton!

On another note, riding season is nearly here! The trails are still super mucky, icy and snowy. Before taking your rig out there make sure the trail is dry enough so as to avoid leaving mud trenches on the trails. No one likes those.

Jason de Rijk
Vice President - Wildhorse Cycling Club

Lessons to Consider From Finland’s Top-Ranked Schools


Value Teachers, Customize Learning for Students, Let Teachers Shape Curriculum & Policies

By Jay Walljasper

Teachers are given considerable freedom to shape curriculum and student assessment policies in their classrooms, which Sahlberg believes translates into better educated kids.
Educators and school reformers all over the world are descending on Finland to learn from the success of their educational system, which since 2001 has ranked #1 (or close to it) for the performance of 15 year olds on standardized tests in reading, math and science.  The irony is that Finland— a prosperous, technologically top-tier nation— doesn’t place much emphasis on standardized tests.
What they value most is teaching.  Surveys show that Finnish men name teachers as the most desirable profession for a spouse, while Finnish women rank only doctors and veterinarians higher as potential mates.  That’s according to Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Changes in Finland? by Pasi Sahlberg of the Finnish Education Ministry.  This kind of respect means that teachers are given considerable freedom to shape curriculum and student assessment policies in their classrooms, which Sahlberg believes translates into better educated kids. 
Another element of the Finnish success story is a focus on personalized learning: students work at their own pace based on particular abilities and interests.  “Personalization is not about having students work independently at computer terminals,” Sahlberg notes.  Indeed, Scholastic magazine notes that visitors to Finnish schools are surprised to find relatively little technology in classrooms, even in a country with a strong high-tech economy. 
“The Finnish Way is to tailor the needs of each child with flexible arrangements and different learning paths,” Sahlberg adds. “Technology is not a substitute but merely a tool to complement interaction with teachers and fellow students.”
Sahlberg’s conclusion: “Creative curricula, autonomous teachers, courageous leadership and high performance go together.”

Adapted from 27 Bright Ideas We Should Steal From the Rest of the World, a report on best practices by Jay Walljasper published by the McKnight Foundation of Minnesota


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Water Advisory Rescinded


Urban Forestry in Halifax

Oh, Those Darn DCC's

Editorial

Development Cost Charges (DCCs)
Development Cost Charges are a form of levy which developers pay to a municipality to help fund major infrastructure projects which will provide benefit to the new development. The types of infrastructure for which DCCs can be collected, as well as guidance on how DCCs should be calculated, are largely prescribed by the Provincial Government.

Cranbrook's half a million dollar growth Management Study was a foundational document containing information, which would support new Development Cost Charge rates for the City. The proposed DCC rates have however apparently been turned down by the Province.

The initial budget for the City’s $500,000 Growth Management Study was set in 2007 with the work to be carried out in 2008.  The City received it in the summer of 2009 and it was given to Council in September 2010 but then it underwent a staff review to establish accuracy.  It was not presented to the public until 2011.  It took a change in Council and until 2012 to propose the recommended raise in Development Cost Charges.  Cranbrook’s Development Cost charges are very low compared to other municipalities of similar size in the Province and a review was in order.

The Province according to City staff, has not approved the proposed DCC rates which came about as a result of the GMS.  The rationale for the refusal is unclear as no letter of reason was presented at the Council meeting.  In the discussion following the motion to rescind the bylaw recommending the new rates, the City Engineer can be heard to say(City Council Meeting video, ( http://cranbrook.ca/our-city/mayor-and-council/city-council-meeting ) :

"What we ran into in terms of growth- related needs that were identified  ….. The document was a reflection of the times; modelling and analysis, was done in 2007-2008, so we had difficulty justifying some of the growth related needs based on changes in population, growth expectations and on the fact that two very large developments had either failed or were in some form of a limbo situation - but timing of growth related needs, associated with those developments have changed quite drastically.
Then we were asked for justification on some improvements that were being reflected in water and sewer systems and it turns out that quite a number of these water related needs that had been identified had in fact been corrected.  It became apparent that the information is dated.  It was correct at the time.  I don’t think there has been a letter but the indications were that there were problems substantiating the costs, there were problems trying to substantiate the need for some of the storm project costs. Some of the recommendations we don’t know where they came from.  I just couldn’t substantiate them. This just led me to believe the DCC Bylaw as submitted and the report that went with it were going to be rejected basically because the information it is based on, is dated and the information changed too radically.  We need to look our needs and go at it."

It was also stated that there was at the time of the GMS, an expectation by some that growth would be substantial.  The GMS however stated:
“At an average annual growth rate of 1.2%, it would take 57 years for the City to reach a population of 36,000.”

If the predicted growth rate is based on historical growth it is difficult to understand how that statistic could change.
Does staff have a letter of rationale or not?
Major waste-water improvements have been made but are not complete yet although close.
Major water delivery issues and storm projects have not been completed and have they gone away? 
If staff reviewed the document for accuracy why can the infrastructure costs not be substantiated?
Is another study to establish needs really necessary? 
Have the infrastructure needs identified by the Growth Management Study changed that much?
Will a new study also be too be outdated by the time another DCC review is in order?

This doesn’t bode well for taxpayers in the future when improved road construction standards must be met for new subdivisions.  It does not bode well for taxpayers when improved water delivery and storm drainage to new subdivisions is required.  Developers may benefit but these infrastructure needs must be paid for somehow and improved revenue from updated DCC’s was going mitigate that burden just a little.

As new major developments had been approved before any new DCC application was made to the Province and with little chance at this time of any major new development approval, Cranbrook seems destined to continue to have some of the lowest DCC rates in the Province.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Five Year Financial Plan Review

It is now too late to make a written submission concerning the City's Five year Financial Plan but interested citizens may wish to listen to the:
Special Meeting - 2014-2018 Five Year Financial Plan Public Submissions Review
Written submissions will be considered by Council at a Special Meeting on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 from 4 to 6pm in Cranbrook Council Chambers at City Hall.
TuesDay MARCH 11, 2014 
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
City Council invited participation regarding the proposed Financial Plan before it is adopted.
Copies of the proposed 2014 – 2018 Five Year Financial Plan are available for pick up at City Hall or for download by clicking the link.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

RDEK- Run off in Region

click to enlarge


Celebrate International Women's Day


Precautionary Boil Water Advisory

Click to enlarge




Genome


photo - Dynamic Innovator Bringing Genomics to Cranbrook

Dr. Robin Coope will be exploring genomics at a free presentation on March 11 at College of the Rockies.
From the College of the Rockies media release:

Genome British Columbia is taking our community engagement program, “Bringing Genomics Home” on the road to Cranbrook for the fourth year in a row. “Engineering genomics” is a lively and engaging presentation about the interplay of technology and life sciences by Dr. Robin Coope with a special video introduction by Dr. Jennifer Gardy, a national figure in science communication. Community members are welcome to join him at College of the Rockies for a conversation about genomics and how we can use DNA sequencing to solve all sorts of mysteries – including how a disease outbreak happens.

Dr. Robin Coope is Instrumentation Group Leader at the BC Cancer Agency’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre and Co-Director of the Genome BC Technology Development Platform. Dr. Coope, with a diverse career in science TV, art installations, Lego robots and research innovation is well known in the life sciences community for his enthusiasm and diverse portfolio of projects, from laboratory automation to medical devices.
“We are delighted that Dr. Coope is able to bring his insight and knowledge to the people of Cranbrook”, says Dr. Alan Winter, President & CEO of Genome BC. “This young researcher is at the forefront of his field and he will bring a special combination of energy and passion to their presentation.”
This free public talk begins at 5:30pm on Tuesday, March 11th at College of the Rockies’ Cranbrook Main Campus Lecture Theatre, Room 250. For more information and to register for this free event please visit:www.genomebc.ca/cranbrook.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Michael's Musings

Silence of the Harper government backbench on Veterans issues is deafening
By Michael J Morris

The Royal Canadian Legion is trying to ensure that Canada's veterans receive the treatment they deserve from this federal government
They were put in harm's way in their service to the country.
For example, according to the award winning Canadian journalist Michael Harris, the Harper government spent $128 million promoting the War of 1812, but for living soldiers this same government cut $35 million from Veterans Affairs and closed much needed veteran sites.
Gordon Moore, the Dominion president of the legion, said before appearing before a Parliamentary Committee that the "legion is concerned that the government has forgotten the moral obligation to look after veterans and their families who have been injured as a result of their service to Canada.

“The government put them in harm’s way, now the government has an obligation to look after them.”

A Canadian Press story highlights the fact that the Harper government has endured a barrage of criticism in recent months on its perceived treatment of veterans, and not only as a result of dissatisfaction with the charter.

It adds that a plan to shutter eight regional Veterans Affairs offices triggered widespread outrage, as did a heated – and televised – confrontation in January between Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino and a group of angry veterans.

And, this week,  Defence Minister Rob Nicholson issued a blunt apology in the House this week upon hearing that a Hamilton mother whose son killed himself after a seven-month stint in Afghanistan was issued a one-cent “release pay” cheque by the federal Public Works department, the Canadian Press reported.
Personally, among all the issues with which I disagree with the Harper government, its shabby treatment of our veterans ranks high on my list, Why, some of you may ask.
Well, for starters, my father Jim Morris was killed in the service of Canada while on active service in the RCAF during World War II. His father, my grandfather Harry Morris, served in World War I, and his brother was killed in action during that war,
Also, two of my grandmother Morris' brothers served in World War I.
And I come from a small community in Northern Ontario, Chapleau, where the veterans of World War ! and II respectively, worked tirelessly upon returning home to make it a better community for all of us -- "They served to death, why not we?'" and they did.
In Cranbrook, as many of you know I often visit the Wall of Honour in Rotary Park where the names of those men and women from Cranbrook and area are listed -- reminds me of home where ordinary folks accomplished extraordinary things.
I have lived in five provinces and it's been the same everywhere.
In a scathing article about the dismal failure of the Harperites to properly treat our veteran, silence in iPolitics, entitled "Baffling Silence of the Backbench", Mr. Harris writes,
"Who can explain the silence of the Cons?
"I don’t mean the cabinet snake-oil parodies on the nightly news — the ones who would sell their mothers, not to mention Canada’s veterans, down the river for a chauffeur and a fat paycheque.

"I am talking about the ones who let Julian Fantino and Stephen Harper turn their names to mud back home with the people who sent them to Ottawa.

"Does anyone seriously believe that Conservative MPs are getting fan-mail over the atrocious disrespect the Harper government has shown to soldiers, ex-soldiers and their families? After all, the PM once said these soldiers were the best of Canadians. Is it likely these silent MPs will be greeted with brass bands when they return to their ridings?"
Here is link to complete article by Michael Harris:  http://www.ipolitics.ca/2014/02/06/the-baffling-silence-of-the-backbench/
Like Mr. Harris, I simply don't get it. Surely the Conservative MPS  Canadians  sent to Ottawa have more backbone than they show. If not, best we dump the lot of them in 2015 .. or sooner if that is possible!
MPs are starting a two week break now, so how about asking your member to take a stand. End the baffling silence of the Harper government backbench.
My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Full disclosure: I am not now and never have been a member of the Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society; however, I did conduct a workshop for its members for which I was paid.

Thursday, March 6, 2014