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.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Michael's Musings

Making Cranbrook a dynamic and inclusive place is our responsibility

By Michael J Morris

When I first learned about the community conversation held in Cranbrook in March, I was optimistic that it would result in a new beginning to work towards moving the city back to one of the best places to live in Canada, at least in the annual Moneysense report.

In the 2014 Moneysense report, Cranbrook plunged from the 53rd best city to live in 2013, to 141st out of 201 surveyed, the biggest one-year drop of any community

Now that the final report on the conversation is out, I am not so sure about that prospect. Sponsored by the Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Government and paid for by Columbia Basin Trust, it was essentially a good idea to bring people together.

I attended the session with high hopes but perhaps the attendees, all of whom signed up for it, reflected the overall thinking of only a small part of Cranbrook's population. I hope so.

For example, economic development and maintenance and replacement of aging infrastructure were far and way the major concerns of the 52 attendees, hardly reflective of all the almost 20,000 who call Cranbrook home. However, social/cultural and recreational were almost a non-existent concern, according to the final report numbers.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am all for economic development, and for 25 years I have heard about Cranbrook being the pot hole capital of the country, but these do not totally define the quality of life that makes any community a dynamic and inclusive place to live, work and play.

In fact Moneysense and other surveys that are used to define the great cities large and small, include many features -- and sadly at the community conversation, there was hardly any interest at all in any of them

Here are some that really had little appeal, which I repeat, I hope is not reflective of the community as a whole: child care, health care sustainability, arts council, affordable housing, bicycle trails, walking, urban parks -- you get the idea.

I am a walker as many of you know, so I encounter many people along the way, and just saying hello to folks makes it a better place to live. I also like parks, especially Rotary Park in the heart of downtown Cranbrook. I just paid it a visit the other day and was so delighted to see how active a place it is.

Thank goodness for those good citizens led by the Cranbrook Rotary Club in the 1920s who set aside space for an urban park and created it.

The general lack of interest at the community conversation in health care sustainability is beyond my comprehension. In fact some members of Cranbrook city council have opposed discussion of this issue at its own family and community services committee while there are reports that over 3,000 citizens may be without a family physician.

Trust me on this one. The single most asked question as I wander about relates to health care.

So, the community conversation was an exercise, and it raises issues for all of us to consider in this municipal election year. I encourage everyone to become interested and make sure the candidates you vote for are concerned about, and will work on behalf of all citizens.

Making Cranbrook a dynamic and inclusive places for all citizens starts with all of us concerned about our quality of life. My email is

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.

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