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.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy Canada Day

We try not to do commercials on The Cranbrook Guardian blog but this one is too good!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Around Town and Looking Good

The Murals of Elizabeth Lake Lodge

These murals, painted by artist Christina MacDonald, are a cheery welcome to Cranbrook and are an introduction to the history and wildlife that surrounds us. Kudos to George and Rachel Freitag, whose motel has won several awards for their hospitality as well as the lovely ambiance created by them surrounding their lodge.

In this final photograph, students of Stewart Wilson's Gordon Terrace Class, watched over by Christina, are privileged to paint the Saskatoon berries in the mural.  

Thank you to Stewart Wilson for the photos.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Michael's Musings

 Remembering "a duty to serve" on Canada Day
By Michael J Morris
Those were the days when I always made sure I was up to hear the sound of the cannon being fired at seven a.m to mark the beginning of the Dominion Day celebration, organized each year by Branch Number 5 (Ontario) of the Royal Canadian Legion in my home town of Chapleau, Ontario. The name was later changed to Canada Day.

In those growing up years, veterans from World War I and World War II, took responsibility for the celebration, and what a great day it was. The vets, all ordinary men and women, citizens of the Canadian village all, came home and made their communities a better place to live, work and play. Lest we ever forget!

Many readers know that my father Flying Officer Jim Morris did not return from World War II. He was killed on active service in the RCAF in July 1943, so yes, there is a special place in my heart for our veterans.
Such was Dominion Day for a child who had to get his costume ready and tricycle decorated for the annual July 1 parade that marked one of the highlights of the year for me in the years following World War II that I still recall the celebrations like they were only yesterday.
My Mom, and my grandparents would help me get ready for the parade and off I would go for a day packed with activities for our entire community.
Leading the parade of course was a Legion Colour Party and the Chapleau Town Band that was in existence over 100 years . J. M. Shoup, a veteran of both World War I and II, principal of Chapleau Public School and township councillor would get us all organized for the parade and later the children's races at the beach. I was also proud to see my grandfather Harry Morris, a veteran of World War I, and one of the first group of members of Branch 5 formed in helping out at the activities.
Near the end of the war, Dr G.E. Young, a local boy who had come home to practise medicine, using his own money, had created a truly wonderful beach area on the banks of the Kebsquasheshing River, and it was the scene of swimming and canoe races, as well as canoe tilting contests.
Dr  Young's beach was complete with change rooms, wading pools, a nicely grassed area and each year he had truckloads of beach sand brought to refresh it.  Dr  Young practised medicine for 50 years in his home town and I guess I took it for granted there would never be a family doctor shortage. Times do change. 
As an aside, Dr Young had a British Columbia connection. His mother was from Creston, and in 2004, he made his last trip west, and we went to the cemetery there to visit the graves of his grandparents.
In the afternoon of July 1, games of chance would be underway while the Town Band would give a concert in the bandstand at the beach area, while over at the ball field there was always an exciting ball tournament. My favourite team was always the Legion.
By the end of the day I would head home tired but happy looking forward to my summer vacation, cruising around Chapleau on my tricycle, and playing with my friends at the Big Rock, the beach and down the lake.
In those years, there was great pride associated with the Dominion Day celebration. Sadly, I don't see that much enthusiasm now for Canada Day. In many communities, including Cranbrook, there has been some difficulty in recent years finding a sponsor. This year, thanks to the good folks at Connect Church, there will be a celebration starting at five p.m. at Moir Park.
There aren't too many of those World War II vets left across our vast and magnificent land, and none from World War I. I remember all I knew very fondly, and I am sure you do too from wherever you were brought up. In war and peace, they made their communities and our country a better place for everyone. Why? As Mr Shoup once said, they had "a duty to serve". What about us? 

Happy Canada Day! 

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.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

What's Happening....

Thursday June 26th

Mount Baker Students Graduation Ceremony
Western Financial Place

Friday June 27th

Heavy Metal MiniFest
at the Byng

Saturday June 28th

Cranbrook Farmer's Market 
resumes at the regular location opposite Rotary park
Tenth Avenue South
9:00am - 1:00pm

Summer Sounds Concert Series begins

Rotary Park
11:00am - 2:00pm
followed by DJ spinning tunes from 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Geology in the Nature Park
with Ralph Rudser
3 hour hike
Meet at Mathew Creek turn-off 9:00am

Cranbrook and District Arts Council Presents the Work of Victorine Kierstead

An exciting new exhibit will be showing in the Cranbrook and District Arts Council Gallery beginning on Tuesday of next week, July 2nd.  If you stop by the Gallery on Saturday, June 28th the exhibit maybe hanging already.  The Gallery is open 10:00am to 2:00pm on Saturdays, perfect for a visit after the Farmers' Market; Tuesday to Friday 11:00am to 5:00pm.  The reception for the exhibit will be held Thursday July 3rd and is open to everyone.

Victorine Kierstead:  A Lost and Found Exhibit

Having been locked away, hidden for many years, this collection of paintings resurfaced when a Creston resident attended the auction of a storage locker.  We all hear of finding a painting in the attic or some far and forgotten corner but imagine finding a storage locker full of boxes of paintings.   This is what happened to Tracie Truscott’s mother when she attended a sale of the contents of a locker in Creston.  In the boxes she purchased, were over one hundred drawings and paintings by Victorine Kierstead.

 After Tracie approached Cranbrook and District Arts Council with the possibility of an exhibit and sale, several members of the Arts Council became interested in the history of these paintings.  Local genealogist David Humphrey took on the task of tracing the origins of this collection of paintings.

It was known that the paintings had belonged to Ron Brown, also known as, ‘The Bead Man of Crawford Bay’.  Ron Brown died on February 10, 2006 in Creston, BC.  Before obtaining his obituary and with clues from accession forms in the collection of paintings, it was determined that Victorine Kierstead had lived in Toronto during the thirties, forties and fifties.  She was an aunt to Ron Brown and had left no recorded family when she died. She was listed as a teacher by profession, living on Howard Street, Toronto in the voters’ list of 1972. On previous voters’ lists she was listed as an artist and then an art teacher. In the collection of work by her was an accession form to the Ontario Museum of Art at a time when the Group of Seven were frequently showing. Their influence can easily be recognised in her work. 
It is unknown if this painting in the collection is a self portrait

Victorine was actually Alice Victorine Kierstead, born to Victorine Pelland and William Henry Kierstead on August 20th 1913 in Heron Street, Deer Park, Toronto.  Her nephew was Ron Brown of Creston, whose mother was Mildred Kierstead, sister to William and  married to Russell Brown. It appears Victorine was an artist most of her life for along with her extensive collection of work, submission forms for the Toronto Museum of Art, it has also been determined she was a member of the Watercolour Society of Canada. 

The collection of paintings, watercolours, acrylics, silk and block prints is extensive and on loan from owner, Tracie Truscott.  Please see our administrator   Marisa Philips if interested in purchasing any of those works listed ‘For Sale.’

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Post Council Notes from the Meeting of June 23rd 2014

The Electrical Building has received another extension of the stay on demolition for fundraising purposes. In the meantime procedure will be determined for rescinding the original demolition order.

As no one was present from the Cranbrook Guardian blog to report on last evening's meeting, it best be watched at:

Elizabeth Lake News

Since our last report we have learned from the RDEK that the City met with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Water Stewardship on June 18th to discuss options for removing water from Elizabeth Lake.  The City of Cranbrook and the RDEK representatives subsequently met to further discuss options.  These meetings follow a number of meetings that have been held to discuss flooding at Elizabeth Lake.  The City is now apparently making plans to put another system in place.  Pumps were used initially.  A trial opening of the culverts was tried but as flow was not restricted and some flooding ensued, it has now been artificially cut off with gravel.

It is known several suggestions of siphoning systems were forwarded to the City in early April.  It is being rumoured that a system is being worked out.

We wait again with interest.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Advance Council Notes for the Meeting of June 23rd 2014, 6:00pm

Fiscal responsibility was one of the major topics of interest at the Community Conversation held some weeks ago.  There are many ways one can learn more about how tax dollars are spent.  Reading the Five year Financial Plan, reading the Annual Report and watching the decision making process at Council meetings will give an indication of spending priorities for this City.

Tonight's Council meeting agenda and the accompanying material, correspondence, resolutions etc can be found at:

Administration update:

If you were present at a Brown Bag Lunch or Coffee with the Mayor, notes about those conversations and any subsequent actions will also be found in this package.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Rotary Park, Sam Steele Days

There were no lack of activities for kids in Rotary Park during Sam Steele Days and by the huge crowds in attendance they were well appreciated.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Blast from the Past - Moir Park, Jubilee Sports,

As Cranbrook celebrates its annual Sam Steele Days started in 1965, it is interesting to reflect on past celebrations and those places that held them.  Moir Park still plays a roll albeit in a very different location.  The original Moir Park is now a gravel pit.

Cranbrook Courier, May 20 1948
click to enlarge

Friday, June 20, 2014

Michael's Musings

Canadians pick Pierre Trudeau, Medicare as Number One in online consultation process
By Michael J Morris
Just imagine that you were the prime minister of Canada and had approved a poll, paid for by the taxpayers, to come up with a Top 10 list of our country's greatest heroes, and you and your political party were essentially shut out by the almost 12,000 Canadians who participated.
Well that's the news Stephen Harper and the Harpercon government received recently as the result of an online consultation process over several months, conducted as part of the preparations for Canada's 150th birthday in 2017.
The Canadian Press announcing the results said that "Canadians have handed the Harper government a Top 10 list of the country’s greatest heroes, featuring some of the Conservative party’s greatest adversaries, past and present."
It is unlikely that the results would ever have seen the light of day had the Canadian Press not obtained them under an Access to Information Act request, even though, we, the taxpayers paid for the project.
In answer to a question "Which Canadians have inspired you the most over the past 150 years?" leading the list was none other than Pierre Trudeau, a name which would most assuredly have sent the Harpercons into a fit of rage. The former prime minister not only made the Top 10, he was Number One.
The rest of the Top 10 list in order were: Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox; former NDP leader and premier of Saskatchewan Tommy Douglas; former Liberal prime minister Lester B. Pearson; astronaut Chris Hadfield; environmental activist David Suzuki; former NDP leader Jack Layton; Canada's first prime minister, a Conservative, Sir John A. Macdonald; hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and outstanding soldier and recently retired Liberal senator Romeo Dallaire.
To me at least, it looks like a pretty Canadian list, and I was really delighted that Don Cherry did not make the cut. The only Tory was Sir John A. If he was still around, it is highly unlikely he would make it into a Harper cabinet, much less become prime minister leading the Conservative Party as it is constituted today -- Liberal maybe?
Canadian Press reported that the consultation also asked which of Canada’s accomplishments of the last 150 years “make you most proud to be a Canadian?”

The results showed  that medicare topped that list, followed by peacekeeping, then the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms at No. 3.   The  rest in order were: Canada's contribution to World War II; the Canadarm; multiculturalism; contribution to World War I; bilingualism; space exploration, and the Constitution Act of 1982.
Again, although one may switch the preference order of the Top 10, a pretty Canadian type list of what makes us proud to be Canadian, although not exactly the Harpercon view for Canada.

As the Canadian Press story notes for example, the present government has "recently been buffeted by a series of Charter-based losses at the Supreme Court of Canada,  (and) did not mark the 25th anniversary of the Charter in 2007, nor the 30th in 2012."

In 2015, Canadians will judge the Harpercons at the polls. Personally, I am proud to be a Canadian, and generally agree with the Top 10 list of those who inspire me and the accomplishments that make me proud. Thanks to the Canadian Press for obtaining the results of the consultation and making them public. 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.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What's Happening....

In the Cranbrook and District Arts Council Gallery
 A unique exhibit by Nadine Stefan continues until the end of the month

Last week for businesses to register for the
Arts Council  Teddy Bear Hide and Seek 
Bears at, 135 Tenth Av S. $25

Library Display
Sam Steele Days Memorabilia

Thursday June 19 through Sunday June 22nd

Sam Steele Days
See website for activities

Saturday June 21st

Aboriginal Day 
St Eugene Mission
beginning 11:30am
Food, games,  tipi raising, basket weaving

Saturday June 28th

Geology in the Nature Park
Hike with Professional geologist Ralph Rudser
9:00am Matthew Creek turn off

East Kootenay Senior Caregiver's Network

East Kootenay Caregiver's Network provides support for family caregivers of elderly persons who are living at home, in the community, or in a facility (assisted supported or in full care).

It is frequently the caregivers who feel isolated when caring for relatives who demand a lot of their time and energy.  This publicly funded organisation is run by a part time employee and volunteers.  They are there to help through emotional support and by providing resource information.  With a toll free number 1 877 489-0803 and a new website at:

they are not far away.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Let BC Vote

Unwanted pipeline, unwilling province
First Nations, 2 in 3 British Columbians deny Northern Gateway permission to proceed

Unwanted pipeline, unwilling province
Jun 16, 2014
Vancouver, June 16 2014 – A coalition of First Nations and civil society groups today delivered a final rejection of Enbridge’s pipeline and oil tanker project. With many First Nations gearing up for court battles to protect their territories from this risky proposal, representatives of Coastal First Nations, Dogwood Initiative, Unifor, West Coast Environmental Law, Douglas Channel Watch and One Cowichan promised to work together to defeat Northern Gateway, regardless of any approvals issued by the federal cabinet.
“Our people have lived on this coast for 10,000 years,” said Art Sterritt, Executive Director of Coastal First Nations. “Over that time we developed laws and protocols to keep human impacts on the landscape in balance. Those laws are still in effect. Crude oil tankers are banned in our territories under First Nations law.”
Survey results indicate the majority of British Columbians support legislation in line with the First Nations ban. Polls consistently show two-thirds of B.C. voters agree the North Coast is no place for oil tankers. A recent Bloomberg-Nanos poll found only 29 per cent support for the Northern Gateway proposal.
“This is an issue of democracy,” said Will Horter, Executive Director of Dogwood Initiative, B.C.’s largest nonpartisan organizing network. “The democratic majority of British Columbians agree with First Nations and share the same values. Our communities will work together to defeat this pipeline, be it in the courts or at the ballot box.”

Oil tanker and pipeline proposals could change B.C. forever. Whether you support them or not, British Columbians deserve a vote.

Cranbrook Crew at the Vernon Regatta


photos courtesy Bronwyn MacDonald
It was a cool and blustery day in Vernon on Saturday 14th when the Vernon Rowing Regatta commenced. Among 30 crews from centres as far apart as Vancouver to the Cariboo and the East Kootenay were two crews representing  Cranbrook’s Rockies Rowing Club.

from left to right; Zoe Chore, Reili Savage, Coach Roberta Rogers, Katie Clark, Danielle MacDonald

Four young ladies, members of the Rockies Rowing Club, learned to row and train on Jimsmith Lake this year in double scull racing boats owned by the club. They worked hard to gain their skills under dedicated organization and coaching by Roberta Rodgers. They were out on the water at 6-30 or 7.00am most mornings and many evenings and eventually met with good success at Vernon as well as gaining invaluable experience.

Our girls raced in double sculls over a distance of 3,500m and finished ahead of a number of entries. This race was a major test of endurance for everyone with difficult wind conditions. The second race was a 500m sprint and our girls were in a four seat sculling boat called a quad.  This was a difficult race for them, being in a different sort of boat and no time to become familiar with it. Plans for the future include racing at the BC Summer Games in Nanaimo on July 17th to 20th as well as other regattas in the area. On the second day of the regatta there were technical training sessions including one-on-one coaching which provided important experience.  The whole exercise was orchestrated by our principal coach, Roberta Rodgers.

Reili, Zoe, Danielle and Katie
The Rockies Rowing club is supported by a small but dedicated group of local enthusiasts led by Roberta. We have three doubles and two singles with the capability of providing adaptive rowing for handicapped oarsmen. Rowing is an exciting sport and an excellent way to use all the muscles in your body at a rate that suits each individual. Our program includes learn to row classes lasting approximately six hours on the water and then novices as well as experienced rowers can row together or singly for recreation or upgrading to racing standards. All interested people are welcome to come and see the boats and talk about the sport by contacting Roberta at 250 489 0174 or Brian Passey at 250 489 2220 ( Lessons can be arranged at that time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Elizabeth Lake Problems Continue

Jenny Humphrey

I attended a meeting last evening, June 16th 2014, convened by the RDEK for the residents affected by the flooding at Elizabeth Lake.    Our RDEK neighbours to the south of city limits have claimed expensive damage to their small holding properties with the rising water table caused by the high water. Water is currently almost a metre above the level of the weir.  More potential damage is anticipated to cement foundations and septic fields.  Some residents in town are now also seeing the effects on their properties of the high water table caused by the back up of water in Elizabeth Lake.  All evidence, according to many long time residents, for the cause of this high water level points to culverts under Wattsville Road that have not been maintained for several years.

As many know, the City was attempting to mitigate some of the problems by pumping water out of the lake, over the road and back into its natural path of flow, in Smith Creek.  When emergency funding for this process ran out, the pumping ceased.  On Monday June 9th the City attempted to unplug the system under Wattsville Road.  With the sudden flow of water into properties downstream, the culverts were, within a short period of time, artificially blocked with gravel.

Questions from those affected, included at last evening’s meeting were:

Why, when the City has been notified and several occasions in the last few years have the culverts not been monitored more closely and regularly cleaned out?
Why were the Wattsville culverts not properly cleaned out this spring when the City was first alerted that a major problem was developing?
Why, when they were cleaned out on Monday June 9th, were no control methods to steadily restrict flow if necessary, put in place at the culvert location?
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure confirmed it had not received notification that an attempt was to be made to clean out the culverts prior to action being taken.  Why was action taken before confirmation of any notification?
Downstream residents were not notified.  Why not?
Why were no sandbags or monitoring procedures in place downstream in case of a fast rise in water?
Where is the agreement between the City and Ducks Unlimited that spells out how the outflow culverts from Elizabeth Lake need to be maintained?

I must give credit to Mayor Stetski and those Councillors Warner and Whetham, who have recently taken a sincere interest in this issue and who have stated they will do their utmost to work through their CAO with the appropriate departments.    However, it would seem this bottleneck of water, communication and facts is a fine example of where governance and bureaucracy goes wrong.  Most want to do the right thing, are afraid to do the wrong thing and as a result nothing gets done. 

As a resident of Cranbrook I am not directly affected financially by this situation at this time.   However, the costs and they could be substantial, for some property owners will be borne by taxpayers.

I have been asked by a member of Council why I have so much interest. I don't believe I am alone in my interest but this was my response as a City resident and someone whose property is not directly affected.

Firstly I have been exceedingly disappointed to hear that some city staff would feel threatened by interest in our city park, a unique area that has been loved and used for years by residents, especially those on this south side of Cranbrook.

Over a period of forty two years, I have regularly and frequently walked and sat in this park and since before it was enhanced to the degree that it has been today.   My visits are probably less now than in a ‘normal’ year and my focus slightly changed but I take as much interest in this area as my own backyard for, in many ways, it is an extension of my own backyard.

In spring I wait for the Ribes odoratum, the only fragrant currant I know in the whole area, to come into bloom.  With its pale yellow flowers and fragrance that drifts as far as the visitor centre it has been a destination for many plant lovers in the area who wish to see it or collect a seed berry or for those who wonder where that fragrance is coming from.  It is now under water and in all likelihood will not recover.  Like all the trees and shrubs under water, its roots will have been starved of oxygen for too long to survive.  It was unique to the area and I will miss it.

In spring I have looked forward to accompanying my or one of the many classes on their educational field trips to the dock where a muskrat might be seen and turtles can be observed going about their daily routines.  The pond dipping activities that take place in the safety of this dock have not been possible this year as the dock is flooded and inaccessible.  The bridge over the creek is under water and probably dangerous to anyone trying to use it. The turtles nesting area is under water and with the difficulties they are facing one must wonder how this situation will affect them.   I wonder what repairs will be necessary to the dock and bridge, if indeed they can be repaired after being submerged so long.

In spring and fall I look forward to spending time in the bird blinds looking for the Red Winged Black Birds first arrival and the many migratory birds that pass though this staging area twice a year.  The bird blinds are in water and the wooden blind will probably need repair and stabilisation after being in water for so long.  I wonder how those amenities will be repaired and who will do the work and pay the cost.  In the Fall of 2012, I watched as Ducks Unlimited installed a new weir at the same time as the Tundra Swans and Snow Geese were passing through.  We all enjoyed the spectacle.  The new weir is now submerged and unable to do its work.

The paths I use regularly, year round for my walks are under water and the work of all those volunteers who have spent countless hours constructing them, gone.  Wood chips have floated away and the log edgings are doing the same.   Restored native planting has been under water so long it will have partially evolved into lake bottom and will take time to fully recover. I am concerned about how restoration will be paid for.

In summer I look forward to being in this place within walking distance of my home, where I know it is possible to cool off as a cool breeze drifts down off the lake.  With less accessibility to the park and a probable rise in mosquito populations, it likely will not be such a popular destination this summer.

In winter I value the stability of wood chip paths for walking, the red rosehips that linger, the stunning views of the mountains and the rime and hoar frost on grasses that is a photographers’ delight.

The value of having this safe, public and almost natural area so close to our homes cannot be measured for it is invaluable and that is why I care and that is why I take the interest I do.

Elizabeth Lake and the public area attached to it, is my/our park.   If the flooding was a natural problem, an ‘act of God’, I would take just as much interest.  Call me ‘an armchair quarterback’ if you like but in my opinion, it is not.  If a naturally rising water table, as I have heard being blamed, is partly the cause, the water table would be causing similar problems on the north side of Wattsville, as the south.  It is not yet, at this time, to my knowledge.  I believe this to be a man made problem that has been obvious from the beginning, that had and has, a man made solution albeit a much more complicated solution now.  I have watched and waited for man to deal with it.

I am fully aware these issues are typically dealt with by City Departments and that Council alone is not responsible but I am disappointed and quite dismayed with the ongoing situation.   It is my hope that the governance of this town will have the assurance from the departments responsible for this area that the situation will be remedied very soon in a controlled and successful manner, before the water table caused by the high lake level, does seep into town and even more damage occurs.


Councillor Cross Reflects


Steep learning curve.  Many new relationships.  Like having several new dance partners. Some stepping on toes and awkward moves.  We readjust and move on, because there’s so much to do.  Staff provide years of experience and knowledge to help Council move forward on the ever changing dance floor that is our community. 

Reflecting on some of the important achievements in this first term on City Council, we have made tremendous advancements in the social sector - one of the four interconnected pillars of the Cranbrook Connected document.

Volunteering expands understanding.  The work of these Committees:  Family & Community Services Committee; Community Social Planning Society; Urban Governance Committee (with Ktunaxa Nation & Street Angels and various social service agencies); Habitat for Humanity Committee; Child Care Needs Assessment Task Force; Food Action Committee; and the Division of Family Practitioners Supply Task Force (among others), has resulted in:
  • Our first Habitat for Humanity house is being built;  
  • RCMP report that crime is substantially down in Cranbrook over last year, due in part to strong relationships with Street Angels and social services; 
  • A Task Force just embarking on a regional child care needs assessment to identify gaps.  Lack of child care is an economic barrier. Phase Two will be an action plan;
  • Conducting the first ‘Red Carpet’ welcome to a potential new doctor.  Success!  Cranbrook area is short several doctors, leaving about 3800 people unattached to a physician, and straining hospital emergency resources; 
  • City donated land for the Community Produce Garden (at McKinnon Park), where anyone can plant, weed, harvest, and attend workshops.  Widely used by youth, seniors, homeless, low income earners, great gardeners, neighbours; and 
  • Achieving a healthier community through improved accessibility in and around town for seniors, the ably challenged, parents with strollers, walkers, and cyclists. 

Cranbrook has approximately 300 people in varying stages of homelessness.  The Salvation Army and Street Angels provide and coordinate much needed support services.  The costs of homelessness to our community is due to their reliance on emergency services (emergency shelters, soup kitchens, and day programs), increased illness and more health care, and involvement with the justice system.  However, reports illustrate that if this same population was provided with adequate housing and supports, the cost per person would drop substantially.  There is a strong community effort underway to address Cranbrook’s homelessness.
Social services is a provincial and federal government responsibility, not the municipality’s.  However, there is an impact on our community we can’t ignore. Sometimes, feelings of helplessness overwhelm me at committee meetings while listening to stories about residents in dire need.  Frantically searching my mind, “What can I do? Where do I start?”  What I’ve learned, is that City Council can be the catalyst for change by gathering our community members and partners together to move forward on some of the issues listed above.  We truly are stronger when we work together, making Cranbrook a more welcoming and livable community.  I see this in our service clubs and organizations as their many volunteers give us parks, bicycle and walking paths, trees, flowers, shrubs, gardens, and much, much more.
Each New Year, a key word comes to mind.  Over the years, ‘creating community’ and ‘service’ have helped me focus.  Volunteering my time, and being on Council are real opportunities for connecting to those key words.  To serve with respectful discussion and debate is my ‘intention’.  Each key word begins a dance.  Some missteps and awkward moments.  I move on, hoping that my ‘intentions’ will come from a good place, because there is so much more to do.  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Michael's Musings

Celebrating three years at the (swimming pool) aquatic centre
By Michael J Morris
It was a day for me to celebrate  recently and no better place to be was at the Cranbrook Aquatic Centre (which I still usually call the swimming pool) at Western Financial Place.
First, it was National Health and Fitness Day, and although I am admittedly not in top shape as I slowly  reach "the winter of my years", I do walk almost everywhere I go, and I visit the pool pretty well every day for my "noodle" swim.
I was also celebrating that it was three years to the day since I started swimming regularly after returning from a visit to Orlando, Florida, where I spent time in the pool daily, and my friend Michael Pelzer suggested I continue to do so back here in Cranbrook. Michael has given me lots of great advice over the years, but I thank him again so much for suggesting I swim.
 I took advantage of the free community swim which are held regularly throughout the year, and managed to find a small space in the "big" pool to do my laps. It was a busy place, and let me share some of the activities that were occurring all at once, conducted and being watched over by the exceptional team of lifeguards.
Before I share, let me extend my most sincere thanks to all of them, who from the first day I went to the pool have looked after me, and made me feel safe and comfortable. Kudos also to the staff at the leisure services desk.
In the lanes, about 20 members of the Cranbrook Triton Swim Club were going through their paces, and one exercise looked like a brutal version of deep water aquafit but it looked like they enjoying every moment.
Eleven new lifeguards were in training along one wall, and this is something I particularly enjoy watching, as it gives an insight into how thoroughly prepared they are.
Suddenly two of the lifeguards appeared from the equipment room attired in a hard hat , with a  tube around their waists, wearing  goggles and carrying watering cans. They went into the pool and recruited four young swimmers to participate in the "Sun Smart Relay". It looked like great fun and I was almost tempted to ask if I could join them
Later, the lifeguards put the canoe into the big pool and the kids enjoyed a version of 'tippy canoe" under the supervision of lifeguards. All the kids wore life jackets. This took me  back many years as I learned canoeing from my grandfather Harry Morris, who hated outboard motors, so we paddled around Lake Windermere in Northern Ontario. For really long trips we did put an outboard motor on a freighter canoe.
While all the organized activities were going on, kids were enjoying themselves in the wave pool and off the diving board and the usual group were in the hot tub and sauna.
I asked four of the lifeguards if they would be willing to answer a couple of questions for my column. In asking Jessica Portsmouth, Dane Ries and Zach Smith, they seemed to have been on duty over the past three years when I needed assistance or was "graduating" to a new level. Louis Gauer arrived on the scene and has been most helpful when I tried aquafit class and always ready to assist.

Thanks to Louis for arranging the lifeguard photo
and to Jessica for the one with Dane (on left) and Zach. 
My questions were, "Why did you become a lifeguard?" and "What do you enjoy most about being a lifeguard?"
Here, with just a little editing are their replies:
Louis Gauer

"I became a lifeguard because of the versatility it gave me for working hours, while being a student. However I quickly realized that lifeguarding was much more than a simple job I originally viewed it as; it was a perfect starter job for my degree in nursing. I have pursued higher levels of training strictly for this reason. I am very passionate about the medical industry and love being a first responder."

"This one is tough to answer, the rush you get during a rescue is a great feeling, teaching all ages to swim is unbelievably rewarding, and getting to be a fun spontaneous aqua-fit instructor is a blast; but there is one thing I have recently discovered that stands out. I have recently become a lifeguard instructor and it is one of the best feelings I have had during my time in aquatics. I am part of the team creating the next generation of lifeguards and instructors. To me that feeling is unparalleled, I get to test my skills and mould the young into the first responders that people see on all pool decks across the country and I love that."

Jessica Portsmouth
"I have always enjoyed being around the pool and i thought this was the perfect opportunity, also my mom forced me through it.
"What i enjoy most about my job is teaching other people new skills everyday and being able to see the big smile on their faces when they succeed with our help. I also really enjoy being social with the public and seeing new faces and learning something new every day."
Zach Smith
"I love helping people and first aid and biology are extremely interesting to me so after I finished swim lessons I decided to put my passions to use and became a lifeguard."
I love my coworkers and the atmosphere at the job and I love being trained and able to help people if they are in need."
Dane Ries
"I was always a water bug and loved the water. Medicine also intrigued me because my father is a doctor so the job came naturally to me."
"The people I work with and associate with are all one big family, and I love coming to work to see everyone."
Thanks so much for sharing  --- and now the really big news!
As some of you know, I really enjoy watching the rope swing into the pool, and have mentioned to some of the lifeguards that I would like to try it. As a kid when we were in Toronto in the summer, I would rope swing into the muddy waters of the Humber River, and loved it. My Tom Sawyer moments.
Anyway, Dane Ries chatted with me about the possibility and said, "We will make it happen..." So, who am I to argue with a lifeguard, so I am officially in training for the "Rope Swing Moment" to be held later in the summer as the highlight of my fourth year at the swimming pool  --- I mean Cranbrook Aquatic Centre!
Thanks so much to all  my friends, the lifeguards who ensure that  swimming is such a pleasant experience. Yes, it is also a social time too. Thanks to Louis for arranging the lifeguard photo and to Jessica for the one with Dane (on left) and Zach. 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.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mayor Stetski announces his intention to run for a second term

"I have really enjoyed working for the citizens of Cranbrook and therefore am announcing today that I will be seeking re-election as Mayor on November 15th, 2014" said incumbent Mayor Wayne Stetski on June 11th outside City Hall.  The term Mayor Stetski is seeking will be potentially for four years.

Mayor Stetski stated he felt good progress was being made on such items as removing barriers to business, making Cranbrook more accessible to those with mobility issues, working towards a youth friendly community, on improving roads and infrastructure, supporting arts and multi-culturalism and in beautifying Cranbrook.
In the question and answer period after the announcement, Mayor Stetski was asked if he knew who his opponents might be.  He stated that at this time he did not know but he did elaborate a little on the qualities he felt were necessary to hold the position, those being a genuine liking of all people, happy and unhappy.  He also stated that the number one quality to have is patience as, "You won't change the world overnight.  It takes time to bring change."

Despite the many distractions of the job Mayor Stetski said he has learned to stay focused on the tasks and goals that are important.

Pictured above, Mayor Stetski with his wife Audrey and below Mayor Stetski talking to press.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Post Notes for the Council Meeting of Monday June 9th

Notes in brief.

A delegation of local postal workers presented their case for continuation of door to door delivery.  The lawn signs and handouts were also made available to Council.  These signs are available to anyone from postal workers. The delegation received good support from some Councillors but with Councillor Scott admitting she has reservations and stating that times have changed and maybe we need to accept that change.

Cranbrook Community Theatre lease was repealed.

There was considerable discussion around the Asset Management Recommendations.  It was pointed out by CAO Staudt that for a couple of years the Five Year Financial Plan and Asset Management Plan might be in conflict of one another and that some capital project priorities might change.

Jeanette Sissons was appointed to the Wellness and heritage Committee as the representative for the newly formed Heritage Subcommittee.  Three more appointments will be made to this committee.

The report recommendation and priorities from the Wellness and Heritage Committee which were requested by Council passed.  Councillors Scott and Pallesen opposed this recommendation however as they objected to items 3 and 4 and assumed this would cause more work for staff.

1. THAT Council direct staff to enter into formal discussions with the School Board No.5 Southeast Kootenay to propose establishing an off-leash dog facility at the old Muriel Baxter Elementary school site; and
2. THAT Council reallocate funds in the 2014 budget for fencing an off-leash area at Moir Centennial Athletic Park toward any improvements required for an off-leash area at Muriel Baxter Elementary school site as required.
3. THAT the Wellness and Heritage Committee recommends that the following items be established as the City's three community health priorities:
• Providing accessible recreation opportunities to promote lifelong active living
• Education and Awareness, to inform the community of the variety health,
wellness and support services available to them
• Supporting Food Security and Local Food Production initiatives; and

4. THAT if the three community health priorities are accepted, Council would direct the Wellness and Heritage Committee to identify potential action opportunities within each priority, and present action opportunities to Council at a future date.

Administration Report can be read online at:

In Correspondence (beginning,
a motion was made to send a request to BC Transit asking that a drop off bus stop be added as requested by 12.1

CAO Staudt stated that as much is being done under the City bylaws as is possible with regard to 3113 2nd St S. 12.2

The request for additional $3350 for Canada Day Celebrations was approved.

Paving of the RV Park road was not approved as the Five Year Financial Plan has been set and it is against the Community Charter to change the Plan.

The request from Mandie Bessie of the P.A.R.T.Y. program was deferred until Council can determine if funds have been allocated previously.

Sierra Oatman whose letter requesting a Bylaw to permit Backyard Chickens received praise from all Councillors for her letter to Council.  Mayor Stetski indicated this matter will come back to Council as he supports it.  Councillors Warner, Cross and Davis and also supported her request.

Tania Symonds letter indicating support for a Dog park on the Muriel Baxter site was well received.

The Ribbon Cutting for the Bike Skills Park will occur June 14th.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Michael's Musings

Bruno Serato plans to expand meal program for 'motel kids'
By Michael J Morris
When my friend Bruno Serato invited me to attend the annual lighting of the Christmas tree at his Anaheim White House restaurant, with real snow falling during the ceremony, I just couldn't resist making the trip to California.
Imagine, me a kid from Northern Ontario, brought up in a village surrounded by Christmas trees, going to California for a tree lighting with snow.
What I didn't know when I left Canada was that because of his mother Caterina, Bruno was on a mission to feed "motel kids" at that time in Orange County, CA but since is spreading across the United States.
On a trip to visit Bruno, Mrs. Serato learned that children at a Boys and Girls Club were not getting proper nourishment, so she told her son to feed them.
Not one to disobey his mother and having been brought up in a poor family in Europe, arriving in the United States with very little, Bruno started to feed "motel kids" pasta every night from his restaurant. The pasta was made by Bruno or his executive chef and was provided at no charge.
"Motel kids"  live in cheap motels because their families can not afford apartments or houses.
Bruno started his project nine years ago, and every night, a van leaves his restaurant at dinner time filled with meals, and is delivered to Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs or other locations where the motel kids gather. I saw it first hand during my visit.
On the first night, Bruno says he fed 75 kids and now, nine years later, he estimates he has fed 750,000 children.
"I didn't want to stop so I've done it every night since then," Bruno said in an interview with the Huntington Beach Independent.
 CNN aired a story on him recently.  He had been awarded the CNN Hero's Award in 2011 for his work in Orange County, and his mission to feed underprivileged children around the United States which the Huntington Beach online paper notes.

 "From 2005 to 2009, we were averaging about 150 kids a day," he told the Huntington Beach Independent. "After 2009, the economy crashed and [the average] jumped to about 300 to 400 kids a day."  It is more now.

With help from the Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim, Bruno started the nonprofit Caterina's Club, named after his which aims to provide dinner for children in dire living situations, such as those living in motels.

Now Bruno wants to expand the program.

"My goal is to get every Boys & Girls Club in the country to feed kids," he said in the newspaper interview. "It's a piece of cake to do. I don't perform miracles. God does miracles. I just use two hands to cook pasta."
Somehow, after spending time with Bruno, I believe he will do it. Bruno says it is a "piece of cake to do." Well, when I was visiting him, one day he asked me my favourite desert. I have several but blurted out, "lemon tarts". It seemed like within moments I had a tray of fresh lemon tarts --- the best I ever tasted --- in front of me.
Somehow, my visit with Bruno Serato turned into much, much more than the lighting of a Christmas tree celebration, although I am well aware of the metaphorical connection. 
I am sharing Bruno's story about feeding the hungry which I have thought about more than the lighting of the Christmas tree, although that was pretty cool, especially the real snow that came falling down .

Who knows?  Maybe in Canada there will be some who would like to follow his example. If so, please feel free to contact me for more information. 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.

Council Meeting 6:00pm, June 9th

To see the agenda go to:

World Oceans Day

Today June 8th is World Oceans Day.

Everything we do here affects the water and the oceans that sustain us.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Population boom at Elizabeth Lake

Easy to see where the expression 'Bald as a Coot' came from in these photos of young Coots.

Stewart Wilson Photos