I am going to start by recognizing a number of things that I seldom have to think about as a citizen of Cranbrook, or as Mayor.
· Is my drinking water clean, safe and available? Yes it is and the citizens of Cranbrook have reduced water use by nearly 15% since 2009 due to water conservation measures initiated by city staff – well done!
· Where does the used water go when it leaves my house? It goes into a nationally recognized waste water treatment process that converts sewage into growing hay crops.
· What happens if I have a medical emergency or a fire in my house? A first class Fire Department will be there for me and my family.
· When I walk to work, which I like to do, will I be safe? We have 26 RCMP Officers looking after us.
· Will I wake up one morning to find an inappropriate or unsafe development being constructed on my street? No because we have an Official Community Plan with zoning, engineering, construction and bylaw standards to prevent that from happening.
· What will I do with my time outside of work? There are many indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities; amazing local, national and international entertainers performing at Western Financial Place, the Key City Theatre and the Studio Stage Door; Kootenay Ice Hockey games in the winter and the Farmers Market in the summer; and art exhibitions and workshops put on by the Cranbrook and District Arts Council…to name a few.
All of these and more are things that I seldom have to think about on a day-to-day basis because of the great work that city staff does daily. We are so fortunate to live where we do when you look around the world!
What are some of the initiatives that your Councillors and I would like to highlight for 2013?
· the upgrading of the Elizabeth Lake Information Area in partnership with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Columbia Basin Trust, the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce, the Ktunaxa First Nation, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Rocky Mountain Naturalists – just one example of a number of projects accomplished through partnerships and collaboration.
· improving mobility access for the disabled/seniors/parents with strollers, through improvements to sidewalks, automated access to public buildings, an elevator at the Seniors Centre, and a ramp and stairlift into the RCMP building.
· establishment of the Highway 3/95 Revitalization Committee to recommend improvements along the highway through Cranbrook, which is used by 1,300,000 vehicles each year.
· the hiring of an Energy Manager, cost shared with BC Hydro, to make our city more energy efficient.
· completion of road and sidewalk improvements to 14th Avenue, including the introduction of bio-swales, bicycle lanes, benches and garbage containers.
· undertaking a charette to involve the public in coming up with ideas for the short and long term uses of city owned buildings in downtown Cranbrook.
· beginning implementation of the recommendations from the Barriers to Business report I requested from the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce.
· updating three complex bylaws through extensive public consultation – the Building Bylaw, the Sign Bylaw and the Sea Can Bylaw.
· updating our Official Community Plan to add new sections referencing the city’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan and the Growth Management Study, and adding new policy direction for municipal boundary expansion and sustainable land use.
· donating a city lot to help realize Cranbrook’s first Habitat for Humanity housing project.
· strengthening the relationship between youth and our community by encouraging the development of a Youth survey and a Youth Committee, and supporting funding for youth led projects.
· working with our Communications Officer to upgrade the City of Cranbrook’s websites so that they are easier to navigate and find the information needed.
While your Mayor, Council and city staff have a large impact on the quality of life in Cranbrook it is YOU, the citizens, who really make this a great place to call Home. Your willingness to volunteer, to contribute financially to many worthwhile causes, and the care that you demonstrate for one another and for the community on a daily basis is truly what makes our city of 19,319+ citizens special. On behalf of all of us, your municipal leaders and city workers, Thank You for helping to make 2013 a good year for Cranbrook!
Mayor Wayne L. Stetski