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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What Municipal Issues Concern You? Here are the results of our Community Conversation.

On March 13, 2014 of this year Cranbrook residents enjoyed a Community Conversation to discuss issues which might concern them around local government.  From the results it would appear most found it a very worthwhile exercise.  It was disappointing to those who attended that some who said they would attend did not but those who did were able to voice their concerns and now everyone will be able to evaluate the results and hopefully learn from them.  

It is interesting to compare the communities who were privileged to take part in this exercise as some issues are very much the same in all but there are distinctive differences with some individual needs.


From the report:
'Meeting participants were given a flipchart sheet with twenty boxes marked off, and were challenged to come up with twenty key issues or opportunities that their community should be talking about in this. They then used a prioritizing method to determine which five issues their table could agree on as being the top priority for exploration and discussion. The table below shows issues that made the “top five” list at tables in each community. The numbers show how many tables in that community put that item on their “top five” list. Items that were very similar have been grouped.' 

For the whole report:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

CBC Interview with Hans Buchler concerning proposed Bill 24

http://www.cbc.ca/daybreaksouth/2014/04/28/whos-view-on-changes-to-the-alr-will-prevail/


Post Notes from the Council Meeting of April 28th, 2014

Delegations

5.1     Operation Street Angel,  Shannon Girling-Hebert
Shannon Girling-Hebert and a counsellor from Street Angels showed a short, professionally made film about Cranbrook's highly respected Street Angel Program.  The film highlighted the work undertaken by the group and also some of the clients who have benefitted from the program.  Girling told council that the program can see between 75 and 80 clients in any one day and often feeds up to 100 for an evening meal.  The program is funded through the Ktunaxa Nation, Community Action Initiative, Interior Health and grants from businesses such as Teck and others.The organisation receives the services of a Nurse Practitioner and a Justice Court Worker.

Bylaws

6.1  PURPOSE:
To consider first reading of a proposed amendment of the Official Community Plan to re-designate a property located on 30th Avenue North from a "Highway Commercial" designation to a "Low Density Residential" designation.

Business Arising


7.1  RDEK Bylaw Referral 2516
The RDEK has referred a proposed amendment to the Rockyview Official Community Plan (OCP) to the City for comment. The Rockyview OCP includes the Wycliffe area and rural areas surrounding Cranbrook.
On April 7, 2014, Council deferred consideration of the proposed Bylaw amendment to the Rockyview OCP until clearer map attachments were provided. For purposes of increased clarity, City staff have added labelling of recognizable features and directional orientation to assist Council
in its consideration. The Rockyview OCP includes Development Permit Area #1 (DPA #1) which is intended to protect various environmentally sensitive areas within the OCP area. Proposed amendment Bylaw No.2516 is intended to clarify the purpose, requirements, exemptions and justifications of Development Permit Area #1.
Carried

New Business


8.1     To consider appointment of a representative from the Wellness and Heritage Committee to the Highway 3/95 Revitalization Committee.
Sandy Zeznik was appointed.

8.2     To consider renewal of the Cranbrook Transit System Annual Operating Agreement.  https://cranbrook.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=3868
Carried. The issue of ridership and bus size was discussed once again.  Mayor Stetski reiterated the results of the conversations he has had with the Ministry and Cranbrook has been assured the Province is working on the potential for some smaller buses by 2016.  Counsellor Pallesen was at the recent Public Transit Conference but did not go to see the new prototype 'Sprint' type bus.  CAO Staudt advised Council that the costs of rising gas prices will be shared with the Province.

8.3     To consider approval of a Baker Hill Development Permit to enable construction of an accessory building (detached garage) on property located at 222 - 11th Avenue South.
Carried.

8.4     To consider allocation of funds for the Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Programs (2014/2015).
https://cranbrook.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=3870
Carried.  The highest award was $45,000 for the Trans Canada Trail only remaining link.  Columbia Basin Trust was thanked for making these grants possible. 

8.5     To seek Council's direction on a preferred Option regarding the Resident / Non-Resident Leisure Services fee structure for submission to the RDEK for their consideration.   The options can be read at:
https://cranbrook.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=3871
Counsellor Whetham suggested that the true costs of running Cranbrook's recreational facilities be made known to the RDEK and that public informational meetings be held.  It was unanimous around the table that all Councillors and Mayor wish to see the end of the two tier system but as there are costs to running these facilities a discussion with RDEK residents could result in a fairer cost sharing initiative.
Rather than choosing an option, this topic will be taken to the RDEK for discussion.

8.6     That Council approve the adjustment of the Fire Services training facility budget from $375,000.00 to $415,700.00.
Carried

8.7     To seek Council's approval to waive the Rotary Park band shell rental fee for a series of 13 free music concerts to be held in Rotary Park throughout the summer of 2014.
Carried

Committee Recommendations

8.8     Cranbrook in Motion
To seek Council's approval for the recommendation made by the Cranbrook in Motion Committee regarding crosswalks at the intersection of Baker Street and 17 Avenue S.
The recommendation was that no new crosswalks be located at this location.  Carried with Councillor Warner opposed.


8.9     Environment and Utilities
That Council approve the following recommendations from the Environment and Utilities Committee:
1. That the Environment and Utilities Committee receive a copy of the fleet replacement policy for review.
2. That the Environment and Utilities Committee look at a long term facilities replacement strategy including the cycle/walk path and the Joseph Creek area.
3. That the Environment and Utilities Committee seek a delegation from the Ministry of Environment, Water Protection to come and speak to the committee.
There was much discussion around these recommendations and most Councillors wished for clarity on exactly what was being examined.  Councillors Pallesen and Scott felt it was not necessary for a committee to examine department policy.  Council wanted to know that duplication of existing tasks was not going to take place.
Defeated.

Administration Update


Attachments 2 and 3 contain the results of the Community Conversation held March 13th in Cranbrook.
The Administration update can be read at the link above.
Of particular note are the results of the Community Converstion held in March.  These results can also be found on the City website.

Correspondence

12.1 – 12.16
beginning:
https://cranbrook.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=3879
Recommendations around items of correspondence 12.1 - 12.6 all carried.
Council will assist Relay for Life, the Children's Festival and the Cranbrook Public Library with their events as requested with costs of table rentals, barricades, garbage can setc coming from Council Contingency.
Free transit to the Cranbrook Farmer's Market will once again be available during the weeks of operation. Councillor Pallesen suggested the hours be extended to cover the Summer Sounds Concerts.
Remaining correspondence can be read at the link above.




Rhetoric and Rhubarb


 As the rhetoric flows over Bill 24 and the ALR, the first crop of the season is ready in many gardens but it is not hay.

Those first tender and delicious stalks of rhubarb are only found when drawn to the light by placing a pot over the crowns when they first emerge from their winter dormancy. This early rhubarb is known as 'Champagne Rhubarb' and is grown commercially this way in some parts of the world because it is considered the best.

It is ironic that these days most consider rhubarb a humble food and champagne tastes might be considered to be more in line with foods from 'away'.  In my house my own home grown champagne rhubarb is still considered best.

For more about Champagne Rhubarb:
http://www.cooksinfo.com/champagne-rhubarb


Monday, April 28, 2014

More Comment on Agricultural Land Reserve proposed Bill 24

Chris Walker of CBC interviewed both Dermot Travis from Integrity BC and Hans Buchler from BC Wine Grape Council this morning on CBC.  Ministers Letnick and Bennett were unavailable.  The position of Integrity BC can be read here:  

http://www.integritybc.ca/?page_id=65

Kootenay ALC stats cast doubt on Bennett’s claims

(Victoria, 28 April 2014) – IntegrityBC has reviewed 660 applications to the Agricultural Land Commission filed in the Kootenay district, following comments from Bill Bennett, Minister Responsible for the Core Review, that the proposed changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve are the result of listening to his constituents.
“Based on Bennett’s claims one would imagine that application after application was routinely coming back from the ALC stamped ‘rejected’,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis. “And that’s far from the case.”
According to IntegrityBC’s review, 72.3 per cent of the applications to the ALC (from 2006 to 2012) in the Kootenays were approved (some with conditions) and 27.7 per cent were rejected outright. Numbers that point to the need for public consultations on Bill 24 – as Agriculture minister Norm Letnick promised last week – and not shotgun passage of the bill as Bill Bennett threatened the next day.
“This is a debate that needs far more fact-based analysis and far less old wives’ tales,” said Travis.

Mr Buchler also had concerns and called for a step back.

Advance Notes for the Council Meeting of April 28th 2014

Delegations

5.1     Operation Street Angel,  Shannon Girling-Hebert

Bylaws

6.1  PURPOSE:
To consider first reading of a proposed amendment of the Official Community Plan to re-designate a property located on 30th Avenue North from a "Highway Commercial" designation to a "Low Density Residential" designation.

Business Arising


7.1  RDEK Bylaw Referral 2516
The RDEK has referred a proposed amendment to the Rockyview Official Community Plan (OCP) to the City for comment. The Rockyview OCP includes the Wycliffe area and rural areas surrounding Cranbrook.
On April 7, 2014, Council deferred consideration of the proposed Bylaw amendment to the Rockyview OCP until clearer map attachments were provided. For purposes of increased clarity, City staff have added labelling of recognizable features and directional orientation to assist Council
in its consideration. The Rockyview OCP includes Development Permit Area #1 (DPA #1) which is intended to protect various environmentally sensitive areas within the OCP area. Proposed amendment Bylaw No.2516 is intended to clarify the purpose, requirements, exemptions and justifications of Development Permit Area #1.

New Business


8.1     To consider appointment of a representative from the Well ness and Heritage Committee to the Highway 3/95 Revitalization Committee.

8.2     To consider renewal of the Cranbrook Transit System Annual Operating Agreement.  https://cranbrook.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=3868
8.3     To consider approval of a Baker Hill Development Permit to enable construction of an accessory building (detached garage) on property located at 222 - 11th Avenue South.

8.4     To consider allocation of funds for the Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Programs (2014/2015).

8.5     To seek Council's direction on a preferred Option regarding the Resident / Non-Resident Leisure Services fee structure for submission to the RDEK for their consideration.   The options can be read at:

8.6     That Council approve the adjustment of the Fire Services training facility budget from $375,000.00 to $415,700.00.

8.7     To seek Council's approval to waive the Rotary Park band shell rental fee for a series of 13 free music concerts to be held in Rotary Park throughout the summer of 2014.

Committee Recommendations

8.8     Cranbrook in Motion
To seek Council's approval for the recommendation made by the Cranbrook in Motion Committee regarding crosswalks at the intersection of Baker Street and 17 Avenue S.


8.9     Environment and Utilities
That Council approve the following recommendations from the Environment and Utilities Committee:
1. That the Environment and Utilities Committee receive a copy of the fleet replacement policy for review.
2. That the Environment and Utilities Committee look at a long term facilities replacement strategy including the cycle/walk path and the Joseph Creek area.
3. That the Environment and Utilities Committee seek a delegation from the Ministry of Environment, Water Protection to come and speak to the committee.

Administration Update


Attachments 2 and 3 contain the results of the Community Conversation held March 13th in Cranbrook.

Correspondence

12.1 – 12.16
beginning:


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Keep Pitch In Week Every Week.

With Earth Day Week now over let's hope everyone continues to Pitch In to keep our City free from garbage.

A big Thank You to all those students and other residents who were out there this week cleaning up.

Students from Gordon Terrace cleaning up the bioswale.

Water Water Everywhere

Elizabeth Lake flooding issues are unresolved with most concern from observers focusing on a culvert which flows under the highway.  If this is the problem, it likely would be the responsibility of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.  While the City pumps away to alleviate the problems, many are wondering when something can be done.

Additional lay observations:  The culvert which underpasses Wattsville now seems to be the focus of the problems and how many levels of government, and or organisations would be involved in the fix is unknown. It is also unknown how long this problem will take to be solved.

Many are understandably perplexed and concerned, those who must listen to the noise of the pumps, the many walkers who miss the park and those who own property and businesses which are affected.

We look forward to an informational bulletin from the City.
It is too bad that some drivers would choose to go into the parking lot.



No problem for these residents however.



Photos - courtesy Stewart Wilson.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Trashion Fashion at the Tamarack Mall

Mount Baker School art class students and their teachers put on a creative and fun fashion show on Friday April 25th.  All clothing modelled by the students was made by students out of recycled material.  Everything from Twister and  Monopoly games to plastic grocery bags and newspaper were used to create tutus, wedding dresses, shorts, dresses and other 'everyday wear.'

Well done students - your design skills and artistic abilities will serve society well .  Maybe in a few years the clothes we wear will be designed by some of you.
                 

















Friday, April 25, 2014

BC Mayors' Caucus, Cranbrook April 2014

BC Mayors Caucus
BC MAYORS SEEK ‘A SEAT AT THE TABLE’
 

April 25, 2014

Cranbrook, BC: After two days of meetings in Cranbrook and Kimberley, members of the BC Mayors’ Caucus renewed a call for:
  1. The creation of a Premier’s Roundtable with the BC Mayors’ Caucus to discuss public policy changes that affect local government budgets and delivery of services;
  2. Elimination of the ad hoc granting process in favour of one that is sustainable, accountable, quantifiable and allows for long term planning by local governments;
  3. Review the mandate of the Municipal Auditor General;
  4. Develop a roundtable on aging infrastructure that includes federal, provincial and local government participation;
  5. Re-affirm the core service delivery of each order of government;
  6. If services are devolved to local governments, a sustainable revenue source for those services must be identified;
  7. Develop a coordinated approach to how social services are delivered into a community;
  8. Call for a full review of ambulance service delivery;
  9. Establish flexibility around the federal gas tax and the Build Canada Fund to be goal oriented to the priorities of the specific communities;
  10. Update on the status of the 2010 Regional Districts Task Force. 
The mayors expressed particular concern over issues affecting BC communities, and specifically, are seeking a more effective partnership between municipal, provincial and federal governments to better address the challenges facing BC residents. In other business, the mayors affirmed support for the UBCM Strong Fiscal Futures report.

Members of the BC Mayors’ Caucus Steering Committee are:
  • Mayor Wayne Stetski of Cranbrook
  • Mayor Lori Ackerman of Fort St. John
  • Mayor Peter Milobar of Kamloops
  • Mayor Shari Green of Prince George
  • Mayor Dianne Watts of Surrey
  • Mayor Jack Mussallem of Prince Rupert
  • Mayor Taylor Bachrach of Smithers
  • Mayor Greg Moore of Port Coquitlam
  • Mayor Dean Fortin of Victoria
  • Mayor John MacDonald of Sayward

The date of the next BC Mayors’ Caucus will take place September 22nd in Whistler. For more information visit: www.BCMayorsCaucus.ca.

Ministers Bennett, Letnick, Bill 24 and Selective Listening



 Global News
B.C. farmers gathered at B.C. Legislature in Victoria today to voice their concerns about changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).
Farmers brought a cornucopia of food products to deliver to MLA and Energy Minister Bill Bennett to show what’s being grown in his backyard.
“We are here because we want to kill Bill 24,” said Oliver Egan, a farmer from Windermere, B.C. “We feel that it is bad for active farmers and it will pull farmland out of the ALR.”
“The proposed changes are not in the farmers’ best interest. As a farmer from the area and a stakeholder, we have not been consulted,” says dairy farmer Erin Harris.Calling themselves “real farmers,” they flew to Victoria with food grown in the Kootenays to confront Bennett, who has been instrumental in introducing Bill 24 that would substantially change the province’s rules around the Agricultural Land Reserve.
“We are dependent upon rental land that is protected by the Agricultural Land Reserve.”
In response to Minister Bennett's statement today about Agricultural Minister Letnick's call for consultation, Wildsight has released this message.
Farmers across the province are up in arms over proposed changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), laid out in Bill 24. These changes would divide agricultural lands into two zones, facilitating development on 90% of agricultural reserve lands - including the entire Kootenay region - for non-agricultural uses, like industrial development, subdividing land and energy developments. Protection of our food producing lands is critical to ensure British Columbia’s food security.
There has been no public consultation on proposed changes to the ALR. This week, after weeks of mounting opposition across the province to Bill 24, Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick announced a province-wide consultation
In a stunning about-face, this morning Minister Bennett countered that announcement, saying that although a public consultation will take place, it would not result in any substantive changes to Bill 24. Announcing the pre-determined outcome of a public consulation before it has begun flies in the face of the democratic process. It's more important than ever to stand up for the ALR. 
What are farmers saying? 
Kootenay farmers have been vocal in opposing these changes. Rallying against the claim from Minister Bill Bennett’s response to eating local in the Kootenays  - “where I come from, you'd have to eat hay" - Erin Harris (Kootenay Meadows Dairy Farm, Lister) and Oliver Egan (Edible Acres Farm, Windermere) took a message to Victoria on behalf of Kootenay farmers, opposing Bill 24 and displaying a cornucopia of Kootenay-produced products. 
This week, the BC Agriculture Council reversed its position, publicly opposing Bill 24. 
Soil experts have publicly opposed Bill 24 and former Minister of the Environment Joan Sawiki calls it short-sighted, saying it would significantly weaken "the most successful agricultural land preservation program in North America”.
The high quality of agricultural lands in the Kootenay region was recently re-emphasized by the Chair of the Agricultural Land Commission: “the majority of prime agricultural lands are situated in the Interior, Kootenay and North regions”.
Thank you for standing up for BC's farmland and farmers!
The Wildsight Team

Michael's Musings

Second Coming Needed on Canadian Political Scene
By Michael J Morris
Thinking about the dismal state of politics at the federal level in Canada , my mind wanders back to a much simpler time when those we elected more or less at least, served the general "public good" .
Now, I suppose back in the day, the public good was defined differently depending on whether one was a Liberal, Progressive Conservative, or CCF/NDP, and where you lived in Canada also played a role.
But, given the Senate scandals, the Robocalls affair, the debate over the proposed new elections act, just for starters, and most recently, the revelations about abuse  the temporary foreign workers' program, methinks that Lord Acton's dictum that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely is in progress in the federal ruling party led by one Stephen Harper.
However, concerns about Canada becoming a defacto one-party state did not begin with Harper. Way back, or so it seems, in 2001 Jeffrey Simpson wrote a book called 'The Friendly Dictatorship' after Jean Chretien formed his third majority Liberal government.
Simpson noted that Canadian parliamentary democracy places more power in the hands of the prime minister than does any other democracy. Also, and of great concern he wrote that "...Canadians’ increasing discouragement over their political system can be seen in a declining voter turnout, a documented erosion in respect for all politicians, and in an increasing interest in other forms of political engagement as opposed to partisan political parties".

Chretien and the Liberals are now gone of course, but Harper and the Cons have sure improved on the playbook.
And our discouragement with the political system, as noted by Simpson in 2001 has assuredly increased.
There are all kinds of examples but here is one that is just gaining the headlines. The federal government has a temporary foreign workers' program which is supposed to be used when employers are unable to find Canadians for positions.
On April 23, CBC News carried reports about alleged abuses of the program at Tim Hortons outlets in Fernie (just down the road from Cranbrook, in the riding of Kootenay-Columbia, held by Harper government MP David Wilks) and in Blairmore, Alberta, just a little further down the road.
The upshot was that Tim Hortons stepped in and took over the franchises from the franchisees.
Following the pack after more complaints arose about the program, Jason Kenney, the employment minister in the Harper government announced that the program was suspended for fast food outlets -- but according to news reports, they would be able to keep workers already in place.
My goodness, I am not a minister of the Crown but I have heard stories for some time about abuses in the program and how Canadians who are qualified are being replaced.
The "public good" to me at least means that the government of the day looks out for all Canadians and their best interests.
Perhaps the Harpercons believed nobody would really get upset about those abused by the program -- whether they be temporary foreign workers or Canadians who lost jobs because of it.


I leave you with lines from 'The Second Coming' by William Butler Yeats -- hoping that a second coming that ensures the best of the best for all of us arrives on the Canadian political scene sooner rather than later. Enjoy the metaphors.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming!

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, April 24, 2014

A Bigger Think on MLA Bennett's Proposed Changes to the ALR after Public Responses

Minister promises consultation on Agricultural Land Reserve

Bill could be changed or withdrawn, Norm Letnick says after daylong meeting with farmers’ group
Rob Shaw / Times Colonist
April 24, 2014 10:03 AM
- See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/life/minister-promises-consultation-on-agricultural-land-reserve-1.982892#sthash.PkWVqEHd.dpufVICTORIA — B.C.’s agriculture minister says he’s willing to reconsider legislation that would change the Agricultural Land Reserve, but wants to hear from all British Columbians before he makes up his mind.

Norm Letnick emerged from a seven-hour meeting with farmers and ranchers in Abbotsford on Wednesday to say he needs to hear from the rest of the province before deciding whether to change or withdraw from the legislature the proposed legislation that would alter the ALR.

“The opportunity is everything from amending the bill to leaving it alone to removing the bill,” Letnick said in an interview. “I haven’t landed on any particular recommendation yet, because I’m not finished my consultation process.”

Letnick said he’s asked ministry staff to organize a B.C.-wide consultation, which could take the form of a phone, Twitter or Web-based town hall meeting.

Core Review Minister Bill Bennett crafted the bill to change the ALR in late March, saying it was necessary to modernize and improve the management of protected farmland in the province, as well as the Agricultural Land Commission that oversees that land. - See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/life/minister-promises-consultation-on-agricultural-land-reserve-1.982892#sthash.PkWVqEHd.dpuf

See also
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/new-bc-agriculture-minister-steps-into-alr-quagmire/article17943825/

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

Ongoing

'Art 75' Exhibit
Cranbrook and District Arts Council
135, Tenth Avenue South

Thursday April 25th

'Watermark'
Film about water presented by
Canadian Columbia River Intertribal Fisheries Commission
Key City Theatre 7:00pm $13 at the door or online for $10 at wildsight.ca

Saturday April 26th

Beginners Henna Workshop
with artist Raylene
$35 per person includes supplies
to register phone 250-426-4223 and talk to Marisa
Cranbrook and District Arts Council

The Friends of the Cranbrook Library
Garage Sale
9:00am - 1:00pm

Cranbrook United Church
Garage Sale
9:00am

Locals Coffee House
Studio Side Door
Tickets Lotus Books
$8

Social Dance
Cranbrook Seniors Centre
7:00pm
Info 250-489-2720

Wednesday April 30th

Tribune at the Byng

GoGo Grannies Travelogue
A year of teaching and Travel in China
COR lecture Theatre 7:00pm






Wednesday, April 23, 2014

BC Agriculture Council withdraws support for Bill 24

http://www.timescolonist.com/farm-group-withdraws-support-for-agricultural-land-reserve-bill-1.979620
Rob Shaw/Vancouver Sun
VICTORIA — The organization representing B.C. farmers and ranchers has withdrawn its support for proposed changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The B.C. Agriculture Council, which publicly endorsed the government’s overhaul of the ALR when it was announced last month, will instead meet with Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick on Wednesday to try to convince him to delay and change the legislation.

“What we’re really hoping is that the minister will take the approach that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done here,” said council chairman Steve Vander Waal. “We need to consult with agriculture and other citizens in the province to actually come up with the right long-term solution. So we’re going to park this thing for a period of time and actually go out there and consult and get the right changes in place.”

The government introduced a bill in late March to split the ALR into two zones and relax rules for farmland development in the zone that encompasses B.C.’s Interior and North.

The Agricultural Land Commission, which oversees reserve land with a mandate to protect it for agricultural use, will be allowed to consider non-agricultural purposes, such as economic, cultural and social factors, in deciding whether farmland can be developed.
At first, it appeared the agriculture council endorsed the changes on behalf of its 14,000 members.

And chairwoman Rhonda Driediger attended a government news conference at the legislature and publicly declared: “We’re looking forward to the changes.”

But Driediger retired, and the council voted unanimously two weeks later to oppose the changes.

“Rhonda didn’t have the knowledge of what was in Bill 24 at that time,” said Vander Waal. “She hadn’t seen it, or had the ability to go through it.

“BCAC cautiously supported the legislation when it was tabled, based on verbal information, based on video conference calls with the minister and the draft press release. After reviewing the actual legislation, and hearing farmers’ and ranchers’ concerns, BCAC had no choice but to withdraw its support.” 
- See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/farm-group-withdraws-support-for-agricultural-land-reserve-bill-1.979620#sthash.1wkkdzWi.dpuf


From Councillor Whetham

Letter to the Editor

“Think Globally, Act Locally.”  The actual quote has been attributed to a number of different people but the principle is said to have been put forward initially by a Scots Planner, Patrick Geddes, as far back as 1915. Whatever its origins, it is becoming more widely accepted that effective action, even on global issues, begins at the local level.

Not only is this a matter of individual choice and responsibility but also an issue for local governments.  As senior levels of government download or back away from responsibilities for affordable housing, health and social services, and the environment, local governments are increasingly called upon to address these needs. At the same time, municipalities across the country face infrastructure deficits and rising costs for core services. Property taxation is one of the few options available for local governments to raise funds yet municipal councils must attempt to keep taxes within affordable levels. 
 
Daunting? Yes, but also a challenge - especially when considered in the context of outside influences. Climate change may be a subject for debate but, using water as an example, there can be little doubt that a trend towards warming temperatures and an earlier spring runoff is already having an impact on our own ability to meet the peak summer demands. Upcoming councils will have to consider strategies to address this issue by way of increased storage capacity, water metering, or other means to reduce consumption. The solution will likely be costly and economic factors outside our immediate control will influence our ability to pay for these and other improvements necessary to meet the city’s needs. Taking steps to ensure that services are provided to support a vibrant and healthy community is an ongoing task that requires creativity and an ability to collaborate with other city organizations as well as senior levels of government.

All of these issues at some point become topics for council discussion and debate. Despite the direct role of local government in many areas of our daily lives, voter turnout is abysmally low, averaging about 32% across the province. By comparison, the voter turnout for federal and provincial elections is nearly double. Many reasons are given including cynicism about politicians generally, apathy, voter alienation, and the difficulty in getting information to make informed choices. Another factor is simply the number of candidates on a municipal ballot. Federal and provincial ridings are represented by a single candidate while municipal governments have positions for several councillors as well as a mayor. Disturbingly, voter registration is lowest among the 18 – 24 age group.

Regardless of voter turnout, municipalities must continue to function. The question for individual electors is whether or not you wish to take part in the decisions that affect you and your community. Information on City of Cranbrook functions is provided together with contact information, council minutes and agendas on the city website: www.cranbrook.ca. Council meetings are open and later televised. As we approach the fall election, there will also be one or more forums to provide an opportunity to hear and question potential candidates.

For those who choose to put their names forward and stand for office, it is worth noting that local government is non-partisan. Each councillor is responsible and accountable to electors for his or her own position when voting on city matters. Serving on council involves a considerable commitment of time with limited financial remuneration but for someone interested in taking an active role to ensure that our city is the best it can be, there are less tangible rewards.  

Ultimately, the choice to have a say is yours.
Councillor Bob Whetham
The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the City of Cranbrook.





Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jian Ghomeshi's Earth Day Message

If you missed Jian Ghomeshi's Earth Day message on Q today:
http://www.cbc.ca/q/blog/2014/04/22/earth-day-2014/
or for just sound:
http://mobilevideo.cbc.ca/u/ref~s-audio~~1~1~83842540~000020623622/1

Elizabeth Lake High Water

The reason for the high water at Elizabeth Lake has not yet been determined.  It would appear from the movement of the water and the rising levels north of the road that there must be an obstruction of some kind north of the lake, park and road.  General opinion is that it has nothing to do with the new weir.  Despite at times, three pumps to take water over the road, the level continues to stay at a high level in and around the lake.  However the level of the water over the road also continues to rise and appear to be very slow moving.
Many are watching with interest, naturalists, stream keepers, walkers and neighbours.











Happy Earth Day from Elizabeth Lake Cranbrook

Twelve months, twelve Stewart Wilson photos from Elizabeth Lake.  

Elizabeth lake is currently higher than it has been in many many years - a story that is unfolding.
















Happy Earth Day from New York

The Story of a Tree in New York
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/22/new-york-today-an-old-trees-second-life/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

Happy Earth Day.
There are 600,000 trees growing along the streets of this city.
This is the story of one that died and was born again.
It was a gigantic red oak in Queens — 5 feet across, 8 stories high and approaching 300 years old.
The tree had presided over 84th Avenue in Richmond Hill since before there was an 84th Avenue. Since before there was a Richmond Hill.
It was on the New York Tree Trust’s list of about 100 Great Trees. People called it the Robin Hood tree.
In 2010, it was toppled by a tornado.
The mighty oak was chopped, chipped and hauled away.
That would have been the end.
But a man on the block showed the city a red oak sapling in his yard.
The city determined it must have hatched from an acorn of the Robin Hood tree.
It was the only other red oak in the vicinity. And you know what they say about the acorn not falling far.
The owner, Clark Whitsett, offered the city his Robin Hood sapling.
“If I leave it on my property, someone who buys my house can just cut it down,” Mr. Whitsett said.
“If it’s planted on the street, no one can: It was a way of protecting the tree.”
The parks department tended Mr. Whitsett’s sapling for three years until it was ready.
And on April 9, workers dug it up and planted it in the very spot where the Robin Hood tree had stood.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

Hopefully everyone will get a chance this weekend to see some of abundant flora and fauna that is now showing us Spring is really here. 

 Happy Easter

photos Stewart Wilson

Coot


Sagebrush Buttercups

Pasque Flower/Crocus

Mertensia

Killdeer