Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Built to Last

 Smith and Hospital Creek Culverts, built and assembled between 1929 and 1935 revealed on 6th St N.  

The confluence of Smith and Hospital Creeks into Joseph Creek.  The bubbly water is the water from Smith and Hospital Creeks.

Joseph Creek Culvert

Saturday, August 30, 2014

1930's Storm Sewer still in good shape

Completed in 1935 and still going strong - this storm sewer system carries Smith Creek and Hospital Creek  under Cranbrook to the confluence with Joseph Creek.  This 30 inch box shaped concrete culvert is interspersed with manholes for work crews to check on the flow of water at any given time but its appearance has until now been a bit of a mystery to most.  We have heard about it and heard how it may not be as efficient as it once was but now revealed for all to view, it appears to be in very good health.  The culvert runs from close to the Cranbrook Museum of Rail Travel under the highway, along 2nd St, across Rotary Park and along Kootenay St until it reaches 6th St N. where it makes a right turn and follows 6th St N until it reaches Joseph Creek.

With road work being completed on 6th St N. the culvert has been carefully been revealed for other infrastructure work to be completed. 

click to enlarge

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fassbender's Three Steps to a Settlement

Another interesting read on the education dispute.

Fassbender's Three Steps to a Settlement, Translated Untangling Wednesday's statements on how to 'clear the way' back to school.

By Crawford Kilian, Yesterday,

Michael's Musings

Rope swinging into pool marks 50 years in journalism

By Michael J Morris

When I was a kid I loved rope swinging into the muddy waters of the Humber River in Toronto while on Summer vacation there with my Mom.

As regular readers know, for more than three years now, I spend time almost daily at the swimming pool, aka Cranbrook Aquatic Centre. 

One of the activities I have most enjoyed watching is the youngsters rope swinging, and I conduct my own contest selecting a boy and girl winner.. Of course, I don't announce the winners to anyone, but many of them are darn good at it.

Anyway, I guess I mentioned my prowess as a "rope swinger",  more or less 60 years ago. one too many times to the lifeguards, because a few weeks ago, Dane Ries told me, "We'll make it happen" He meant I was going to be able to get up on the diving platform and swing out into the pool, just like it was yesterday I last did it.

My training began mostly under the direction Jessica Portsmouth, Zach Smith and Louis Gauer and Dane.

I had to get used to wearing a life jacket, and they had me roll around in it. Great fun really. I passed their tests I guess because the date was set for the rope swing. In the interests of full disclosure I use a noodle while swimming, but I have a feeling, those days may now be numbered.

Dane advised me that the swing would take place on August 27 at six p.m. Jessica followed up with an email in the morning: "The rope swing is still happening at 6, we are all looking forward to it."

I arrived at the pool a bit earlier than usual and Dane was just completing his shift, and suggested that I do some warmup laps. When I looked over at the lifeguard room, it was more crowded than usual, and it struck me that the rope swing team were all off duty and were showing up to help with my rope swing attempt.

Trust me folks. These lifeguards are super, and have made me feel safe and secure since the first day I started going to the pool after returning from a trip to Florida where I swam every day.

I was so touched that they would give up personal time for me to repeat something I did as a kid.

It was time to do it, and I headed to the diving platform with Dane, Jessica and my friend Joel Vinge who had come to take some photos.

Although, I had told Dane  that I didn't think it was necessary to have lifeguards in the water, two of them were, just in case, and Louis even had his underwater camera.

Jessica positioned herself on the diving board while Dane and Zach got me into my life jacket and gave me instructions.

Up I went onto the platform with a boost from the guys, who were joined by at least one other lifeguard who was just off shift.

I grabbed the rope, edged close to the edge, and for the first time said to myself, "you crazy fool, what do you think you're doing?"

The moment passed, I waved at Joel, and said "Let's do it!" And away I went helped on by a little shove from Dane and Zach, not exactly soaring like the kids, but the next thing I knew I was in the pool. WOW!

Sometimes in this life time stops for a moment, and then for much much more than a moment, and then continues on its merry way. For me, that's the way it was for me, as I looked around me in the pool, and saw the smiles on the faces of the rope swing team. 

Jessica summed it all up in an email later with "YOUR BIG DAY" in the subject line.  Indeed it was, thanks to more than a little help from my friends who made it possible. Thank you so much! And thanks to Joel for being there and my friend Michael Pelzer for suggesting I start swimming again.

As an aside, never in my wildest imaginings think that I would be marking the 50th anniversary of my first job as a daily newspaper reporter with a story about me swinging on a rope into a swimming pool. But as Tom Brokaw, the longtime anchor of NBC Nightly News once said, "It's all storytelling, you know. That's what journalism is all about."  My email is 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What's Happening....

Saturday August 30th

Cranbrook Farmer's Market
9:00am -1:00pm
Tenth Avenue South

Summer Sounds with 'Space Castle'
11:00am - 2:00pm
Rotary Park

Dancing in the Park
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Rotary Park
Space Castle performs again

Tuesday September 3rd

Community Registration
Cranbrook Curling Rink
6:00 - 8:00pm

The Tunnel of Doom

A Funnel Spider's Web - photos, Stewart Wilson

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What's Jamming Teacher Bargaining? - The Tyee.

Lots of interesting comments to read after this article from the Tyee.

What's Jamming Teacher Bargaining?

Sources say Clark gov't insists on clauses insulating it from another Supreme Court loss.
By Crawford Kilian, 25 Aug 2014,

Excerpts from:

Bills 27 and 28, passed by the Gordon Campbell Liberal government in 2002 when Christy Clark was education minister, effectively tore up the contract teachers had been working under, and removed class size and composition from the bargaining table.
In 2011 the BC Supreme Court declared the bills unconstitutional. It gave the government one year to make amends, and in 2012 Victoria introduced Bill 22, effectively restoring what the Supreme Court had rejected.
Again the B.C. Teachers' Federation (BCTF) went back to the Supreme Court, and in January 2014 the court again ruled in the teachers' favour, saying "the government did not negotiate in good faith with the union after the Bill 28 decision.... Their strategy was to put such pressure on the union that it would provoke a strike by the union."

The government appealed the ruling and a decision is expected from the Court of Appeal sometime after hearings in October -- maybe as late as next year.

The Tyee could not confirm the existence of "rollback" language that would oblige the teachers to give up what they had gained in two Supreme Court decisions. However, the government has also proposed a clause stipulating that when the Court of Appeal decision is handed down, any existing contract may be terminated by either party and new bargaining will resume.
In effect, if the government loses a third time, it can ditch any contract the teachers may agree to in the next few weeks.

The proposal, "E.81," was submitted by the B.C. Public School Employers' Association on June 15. It says in part: "Within 60 days of the ultimate judicial decision, either party may give written notice to the other of termination of the collective agreement. If notice is given, the collective agreement terminates at the end of that school year, unless the ultimate judicial decision occurs after the end of February, in which case the termination takes place at the end of the following school year."
Strategic mystery

It is hard to imagine what the government was thinking when it proposed this, and also hard to understand why it wasn't promptly withdrawn. The BCTF has every reason to see E.81 as the government's admission that it will lose its appeal, but still hopes to escape the consequences.
Justice Griffin ordered the restoration of the 2001-02 contract, when the provincial operating education budget was almost $3.8 billion. All things being equal, that was the equivalent of $4.8 billion in today's dollars -- before adjusting to today's declining student numbers and aging-teacher demographics. And in fact last year's operating budget was $4.68 billion -- so a restoration of 2002-level funding wouldn't break the provincial bank

Think Political Donations Benign?

From the Tyee:
By Paul Willcocks
The public believes big political donations from corporations and unions buy special treatment from government.
The people writing those big cheques think so too. They spend the money expecting it to pay off in future.
The only people who don't believe that are the politicians getting the cash.
Maybe the Mount Polley mine disaster will finally force them to question the effect of unlimited contributions by special interests in this province.

Imperial Metals has given at least $233,000 to the BC Liberals since they have been in power. Billionaire Murray Edwards, a major shareholder, arranged a dinner in Calgary that raised more than $1 million from energy and mining companies for Christy Clark's Liberals.
B.C. remains one of three provinces that allow unlimited political donations from corporations and unions, in both provincial and municipal elections.
The Mount Polley disaster gave concrete form to the general public suspicion that big donors had big influence. It should be the spark that brings an end to big donations to political parties.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Oh, the tangled webs they weave

In an editorial a few posts back, the question was asked, "What happened to good old fashioned honesty?"
The following is a revealing post from MP Wilks and was picked up by the Huffington Post.  MP Wilks does not mention the spin that emanates from politicians or maybe the party to which they belong but what a twisted web is woven with all this spinning, a web that is difficult to see through at times but all too full of holes at other times.  It would seem honesty still might be the best policy for even the the most clever creatures can become entangled or be caught in that web sooner or later. Does more good honestly come out of the spinning manoeuvres, than telling the truth?

It is good to see the human side to a politician and good to see MP Wilks honesty in revealing his feelings.
david wilks

Teddy Bear Picnic Winners

 Visitors to Rotary Park were treated on Saturday August 23rd, to the sight of many well-dressed bears  picnicing for all to see. Several of these character bears have been donated  to Cranbrook and District Arts Council for silent auction.  The Art in the Park celebration was the culmination of a summer long Teddy Bear scavenger hunt involving many different Cranbrook businesses as well as a competition for the best-dressed bears. The bears for sale are on display at the Arts Council Gallery at 135 Tenth Av S. and will go to the final bidder on September 30th.  All proceeds will go towards Cranbrook and District Arts Council Projects.

Cranbrook and District Arts Council wishes to thank all those businesses who participated, Spring Honda for their sponsorship, Summer Sounds and their sponsors, the face painters and many others who contributed and volunteered for this fun day.

Sioban Staplin, President of Cranbrook and District Arts Council emceed the event
Abby Haarstad - winner of the Hide and Seek competition
Kyra Jackson, Runner up in the Hide and Seek competition

Pagey McBookins with both Abby and Christy Haarstad of Pages Book Emporium, winners of the Business category best dressed bear.   Pagey was displayed with her specially assembled beach paraphanalia.

The Dunn boys  hauled in the votes for a tie win for the People's Choice

Doug Mitchell ,who was part of the entertainment line-up
The crowd was treated to the music of Leather Britches, Angus MacDonald, Rod Wilson and Will Nicholsen.  Maddi Keiver and Audrey Jane also helped to entertain the crowd

Tamarack House with their 'Kustit' bear won the Over 14 years category. Jacob Dunn won in the Under 14 category with his bear Pronto.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Singer Barney Bentall entertaining at the Gran Fondo Sept. 7

Submitted by the Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary Club

With the deadline to register for this year’s Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo counting down to 11:59 p.m. Aug. 31, another entertainment headliner has been added to the big party taking place at the end of the event Sept. 7.
Singer-songwriter and Juno Award winner Barney Bentall will join the local group “The Testers” at the party, which takes place at the St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino, the starting and finishing point of the event.
“How cool is that,” says Al Davis of the Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary Club, which is organizing the event along with major sponsor Taylor Adams Chartered Accountants.
Bentall last appeared at the Peterborough Music Festival Aug. 6 and rose to fame as a solo artist founding the Legendary Hearts in the mid-1980’s. He later became a rancher in B.C.’s Cariboo region recording hits such as  “Gift Horse” and “Flesh and Bones” and formed a new band The Bonaparte’s. orse Horse  
Some 300 riders are expected to register for the second annual fondo which consists of three courses;  the “Piccolo 57 km, the Medio 102 km and the Gran 152 km. All the routes run from St. Eugene to Kimberley along the Rails to Trails bike route with the longest also taking in Wasa and Fort Steele before returning to the St. Eugene Pavilion for the windup dinner and party.
In recent years Gran Fondos have become a world-wide phenomenon with some participants treating them as a race and others as fun recreational events. In addition to prizes awarded, Fondos are often used as fund-raisers, which is the case which is the case with Rotary, which will use the money raised for various Rotary charitable projects as well as donating some of the money raised to the Northstar Rails to Trails Society.
Registration can be completed online in less than five minutes at . Any other information registrants need can be found at the Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo site on Facebook.
In addition to a continental breakfast, every rider in the event will get a swag bag with  a T-shirt, water bottle, mini-flashlight and a course map to help them through the route. There will also be prizes awarded for the Best Team Spirit and King and Queen of the Mountain Award  for the fastest time up the grueling, Fort Steel Hill.

The event is expected to give a major boost to the local economy with participants coming from all over the Kootenays as well as Alberta, other parts of Canada and the western US.

Humming along

There seem to be a lot of Humming Birds around this summer.  This one is after the Comfrey nectar.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Teddy Bear Picnic

The Teddy Bears gathered in Rotary Park on Saturday August 23rd for their picnic.  Although Kathy's Kitchen, 'Elinor' was too shy to join the party, the rest of the bears had a lovely time and were thrilled to have some of their own recognised for their style.  The judges choice of best dressed bears will be posted for all to see very soon.

Cranbrook and District Arts Council would like to thank Spring Honda for their sponsorship of this event as well as all the businesses that took part in both the Hide and Seek and the Teddy Bear Picnic.  More pictures and credits to follow.

Shakesbear, Jack and Jill, Gustav and Truffle all enjoying the picnic.  Poor Madison Bear Garden looks as though she is taking a nap.

An Artsy Deer from the Art in the Park 2013 and Raggedy Ann watch over the bears.

Bud Abbott, style judge having a very difficult time choosing the best dressed bear.  

Marg Skoberg and Mayor Stetski, having completed their task of picking a winner.

Kathy Simon reassures Elinor that being afraid of the attention is okay.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

From the Vancouver Sun, Stephen Hume: Political fallout from Mount Polley mine spill may come from U.S.

Heads-up, here comes the political fallout from that huge tailings dam spill at Mount Polley.
The provincial government still doesn't appear to grasp the gravity of what this accident means in terms of real politik and the albatross that ideologically-driven environmental deregulation may yet prove for its resource strategy.
But consider the toxic plume of disbelief wafting across the border from Alaska.
A coalition of prominent interests there is taking high profile umbrage at B.C.'s pedal-to-the-metal, slash-the-red-tape mining agenda. Thursday it asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to invoke the Boundary Waters Treaty to prevent future downstream effects from accidents like the one at Mt. Polley.
While our premier was Tweeting touchy-feely stuff about how her thoughts were with those affected by the torrent of toxic waste, here's what the senator was telling the secretary of state:
"Failure of the Mount Polley tailings pond dam in British Columbia validates fears Alaska fishermen have regarding Canada's proposed development of large-scale hardrock mineral mines near transboundary rivers with Alaska," Begrich observed.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Just suppose education woes took a different turn

Want a 10-Year School Deal, BC Liberals? Try These Terms
Europe's ambitious education strategy is no summer daydream.
By Crawford Kilian, Yesterday,
The Finns are comfortable with a shocking aspect of the Europe 2020 Strategy: "The Government will allocate special subsidies for the reduction of group size in education. Similarly, the provision of intensified and special support will be back by government subsidies. The realization of pupils' right to support will be monitored."
This is not some BCTF talking point, but hard government policy. Smaller classes are more effective classes, and if kids need extra help they are guaranteed to get it -- government auditors will police school spending to make sure.
On top of that, Finland offers its kids a youth guarantee: "that each person under 25 years of age, and recent graduates under 30 years of age, will be offered work, a work trial, or a study, workshop or labour market rehabilitation place within three months of registering as an unemployed jobseeker."

Suppose BC Liberal Education Minister Peter Fassbender sat down with the BCTF and dared the teachers to reject a 10-year contract based on the Europe 2020 Strategy.
Smaller class sizes? Absolutely. Special support for special needs? Yes, and we'll enforce it.
Not only that, but any kid who drops out before high school graduation gets a guaranteed shot at Grade 12 completion plus free post-secondary, whether academic or vocational.
And suppose Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk offered post-secondaries a similar deal: government covers tuition costs all the way to grad school, including international students. Yes, we know you're going to need huge capital spending; it's committed. Get out and hire the teachers you need.
Imagine the stunned silence that would fall on the trenches of the school wars. The BCTF would be shocked into acquiescence, quibbling only over the contract length: "How about 20 years?"

Michael's Musings

A duty to serve and participate as elections approach

By Michael J Morris

More than 25 years ago now I was discussing with my friend Frank the number of years he had served on the local school board. Frank told me he had been a member for 18 years.

"Why so long?, I asked him.

"Because Mr. Shoup told us we had a duty to serve," Frank replied. J. M. Shoup, a veteran of both World War 1 and World War 2 had been the elementary school principal and a long time member of the town council.

With a municipal election coming on November 15, where both council and board of education will be elected,  and a federal election slated for 2015, it might do us well to ponder our duty to serve participate in the political process.

Let me just clarify duty to serve as I see it before going any further. I came across a quote from Tim Fargo recently, the author of Alphabet Success: Keeping it Simple that seemed to sum it up: "Leadership is service not position".

The emphasis is on service! Today, at least at the national level it seems more like the maxim is more in tune with Lord Acton's dictum that "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

In recent municipal elections here, the turnout has been dismal, hovering at around no more than 30% of eligible voters turning out to exercise their right (duty) to vote, even though in the last election, there were a large number of candidates seeking office.

At the federal level in the riding of Kootenay-Columbia, it has been a Conservative (Reform, Canadian Alliance) stronghold for about 20 years, but hopefully this time around, the Liberals and New Democrats will field strong candidates.

What about us, who choose not to be a candidate? Are we going to become active and openly support a candidate  in the municipal, board of education and federal election? Are we even going to bother to vote?

When I was a boy, growing up in the Northern Ontario town of Chapleau, people took their politics seriously. And often they exposed themselves to great risk if they happened to support the party that lost. They could lose their jobs. And many did, not only in my own community, but in others across this vast and magnificent land.

However, they saw it as their duty to serve and participate, and they did. They accepted the sometimes high risks associated with political involvement. And you may think politics is brutal today. It is, no question and at the national level is permeated with "hate".

In Saskatchewan, as a young newspaper reporter in the 1960s, it seemed that everyone saw it as their sacred duty to be involved. At the time, the province was the home of two of the giants of Canadian politics, John Diefenbaker and T.C. 'Tommy' Douglas.

Mr. Diefenbaker, a Progressive Conservative, served as prime minister of Canada and Mr. Douglas as CCF-NDP premier of the province. Both were outstanding examples of persons who clearly saw it as their duty to serve and participate in the affairs of their nation.

And so, what about us in these times. As has been said by others including Tommy Douglas -- we have learned to fly through the air like a bird, swim under the sea like a fish, burrow beneath the earth like a mole. If only we could learn to walk  our nation as real people, seeing and accepting our duty to serve and to participate focused on things which bring us together rather than those which divide us, without hate and the politics of division -- what a paradise our nation would be!

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, August 21, 2014

What's Happening...

Saturday August 23rd

Cranbrook Farmer's Market
9:00am - 1:00pm
Tenth Av. S Cranbrook
Opposite Rotary Park

Cranbrook and District's Arts Council
Rotary Park
Art in the Park Event
A Teddy Bear Picnic - Teddy Bear display, judging, prizes
Face Painting
The Art of Henna
Entertainment by Maddi Keiver, Doug Mitchell, Leather Britches and Audrey Jane
Twice Loved Art and art supplies in the Gallery
11:00 am - 2:30pm

Dancing in the Park
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Rotary Park, Cranbrook

All weekend
The Cranbrook Dog Show
Moir Park

Start registering now for Fall Activities

Acrylics for True beginners
Weekend Workshop with
artist Mirja-Valhala
Friday September 26th to Sunday September 28th
$200 per person
To register and obtain supply list
phone Marisa at 250-426-4223 at The Cranbrook and District Arts Council

Funtastic Singing Just for Fun
begins September 23rd on every Tuesday 6:45 - 8:15pm
Phone Louise Selby 250-426- 5136

Community Registration for all sports and community groups at Western Financial Place
September 3rd

Key City Theatre Events and memberships at:!subscriptions/c10af


Robin's lunch  (photo Jenny Humphrey)
Sparrow's Lunch (photo Stewart Wilson)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fight to Protect BC Farmland is Not Over

A Message from the Wildsight Team.

Long-term protection of our food producing lands is critical to ensuring British Columbia’s food security. Since serious changes were proposed to the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) earlier this year as part of Bill 24, our farmland has been under threat.
Now, in the middle of summer—harvest time for most BC farmers—the government has opened an engagement process on the proposed changes.
Please take action and let the government know you want all of BC farmland to remain protected.
It is critical that despite the bad timing, we weigh in on this issue. The engagement process closes on August 22. It’s time to let the government know that you do not agree with some of the proposed changes to the ALR— a system of farmland protection that has been lauded and recognized around the world. A system that works.
The proposed changes maintain strong farmland protection for the proposed Zone 1 (Vancouver Island, the South Coast and the Okanagan) but in Zone 2 (the rest of the province), there would be new rules allowing non-agricultural uses of agricultural land, including oil and gas development, industrial and recreational development as well as subdivisions. The entire Kootenays as well as 90% of our province is in Zone 2.
Please take action. Stand with BC farmers by sending an email to the government. Let them know that you don’t agree with the new zoning. Strong protection of farmland must remain in place for the Kootenays and all of BC.
After local MLA Bill Bennett’s statement that to eat local “where I come from, you’d have to eat hay,” Kootenay farmers sent two of our own to Victoria to prove him wrong. Erin Harris from Kootenay Meadows in Lister and Oliver Egan from Edible Acres in Windermere delivered a strong message opposing the changes, bringing with them a cornucopia of Kootenay products to display on the lawn of the BC Legislature.
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” (all regions included in the new Zone 2). Soil experts have publicly opposed the proposed changes to the ALR and former Minister of the Environment Joan Sawiki calls it “short-sighted” as it would significantly weaken “the most successful agricultural land preservation program in North America.”
This is our legacy and our children’s future.
Ensure food security for all British Columbians.Take action by sending an email to the government. Let them know that the proposed changes to the ALR, specifically the newly proposed zones, do not help farmers but leave them vulnerable to outside interests.
If you have any questions, the Wildsight team would be happy to discuss this issue further with you. You can reach us at or by phone at 250.427.9325.

Robyn Duncan and the Wildsight Team

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mayor Stetski's Introduction to Cranbrook's first Multi-Cultural Festival

August 16, 2014
Coco Seitz opens the Festival with Mayor Stetski awaiting his turn at the microphone.
Thank you for being here – this is an important and exciting day!

When I was running for Mayor three years ago, I spent a lot of time thinking about the kind of Cranbrook I wanted to live in, and to help create.  One of the most important aspects was a community that truly values and celebrates the arts and multi-culturalism. 

Last August the Arts Council held its first Arts in the Park event and it is happening again next Saturday, August 23rd here in Rotary Park.  Today you are part of Cranbrook’s history by participating in our first ever multi-cultural festival!

It’s been an interesting progression.  The Ktunaxa First Nation, whose traditional territory we are standing on today, have been sharing their culture with us for a number of years through storytelling, drumming, dancing and singing. 

The Metis, who have the second longest connection with the land in Canada, have been very active the last three years celebrating their heritage at City Hall and in the community – it’s impossible to keep your toes from tapping when the fiddlers are playing and the dancers jigging!

The Filipino community has also played an important role in the last two years, sharing their dances, their colorful fashions, their music and their food, along with celebrating their Independence Day.

It has been such a pleasure to get to know all of these great people and to learn more about their cultures. Why not bring them all together and encourage other citizens with an interest in their cultures to participate?

Early this year I got a phone call from Coco Seitz who had read in the newspaper of my interest in having a multi-cultural festival in Cranbrook.  She asked to have a meeting.  When we sat down she presented me with a detailed proposal for a festival.  We came up with a list of people to contact, a meeting was held, a Society formed, fund raising commenced and today, due to a lot of hard work that I cannot take any credit for at all, we are celebrating Cranbrook’s first ever multi-cultural festival featuring a dozen cultures:
1.     Chinese
2.     Japanese
3.     Korean
4.     Indian
5.     Filipino
6.     Italian
7.     Dutch
8.     South African
9.     Vietnamese
10. Ktunaxa
11. Metis
12. Canadian

Having a festival like this is important from many aspects:
1.      It enriches our community – you’ll see today how many ways it does that.
2.      It makes a clear statement that Cranbrook is a welcoming place to live.
3.      It contributes to promoting tourism and the economy.
4.      It makes us more interesting and fun as a city.

So are we done – No, we are just beginning.  Today we are celebrating 12 cultures – there are 196 countries in the world if you include Taiwan – so yes, there is definitely room for growth, and there will be even bigger festivals in the future!!

Thank you to all of you who made this festival happen and for those of you who are here to enjoy the day.  For me, this really is a dream come true.

Mayor Wayne Stetski,

City of Cranbrook

Post Notes of the Council Meeting of August 18th 2014 in brief

This three hour meeting can be viewed at:

Prior to the Council meeting special recognition was given to Terry Miller for his recent Eric Hamber Award for theatre.

Mayor Stetski congratulates Terry Miller for his award and presents recognition from the City.
Councillor Pallesen absent.

The quarterly RCMP report was given and can be read at:

Prior to the Council meeting, a public hearing was held with regard to this issue.  Notice of this Bylaw has been given. There was one presenter to this hearing, a neighbour of the C3 zoning currently housing a daycare, at the intersection of 11th St and 11th Av.  While this parcel of C3 zoning is already zoned for food and beverage sales, serious concerns were raised should this become a reality.
From our understanding this proposed bylaw which has passed two readings, makes a blanket list of trade possibilities available to all C3 zoned areas in the city.  While some of these areas have been zoned for specific purposes in the past it is proposed that any of the uses listed below would now be possible. There are 11 of these areas in town , most of which already support small business of some kind.

Third reading of this bylaw was tabled for consideration of amendments.

For this observer, when Cranbrook is trying to revitalise its downtown core, this bylaw is a little baffling. Food and beverage outlets close to schools have also been known to problematic in the past and maybe more input from the public and affected neighbourhoods is required.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: .. At the July 14th Council meeting, the proposed amendment was given first and second reading, referred to the Advisory Planning Commission for comment and sent to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for approval. Notice was sent to adjacent owners/occupiers for properties affected by the amendment and the notice was published in the local paper.
The Bylaw was approved by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. The Advisory
Planning Commission recommended approval of the Bylaw. One general inquiry with respect to the proposed amendment from an affected property owner was received. Four general inquiries from adjacent property owners were received, one of which identified concerns (Baker Mtn Rd.).
The proposed amendment has been drafted in response to a request from the City's Economic Development Officer (EDO). It was suggested to planning staff that the existing C-3, Neighbourhood Commercial Zone was too restrictive and, from a business standpoint, opportunities to expand the permissible uses should be considered.
The proposed uses to be added to the C-3 zone include: drug and health supplement store; shoe, 
apparel/clothing store; food and beverage store; gift, novelty and souvenir store; photography 
studio/store; book store; hobby/craft store and music store. In order to keep the new uses 
compatible with the character of neighbourhood commercial, staff is proposing a new regulation to 
limit the gross floor area of retail trade businesses to 200. m2. This proposed size is consistent with the size limit established in the definition of "neighbourhood convenience store", which is currently a permissible use in the zone. 
The proposed uses were considered in relation to their compatibility with the intent and character of neighbourhood commercial zoning and were also compared to the downtown commercial zoning. This was done to determine whether any of the uses could negatively impact downtown business by encouraging outmigration from downtown. While there could be a possibility that businesses would move out of the downtown, currently the limited number of available C-3 parcels in the City should reduce this potential. There are approximately eleven (11) C-3 parcels scattered throughout the City, including one owned by the City.

6.5 Orchard Heights Reserve Fund
To obtain Council approval to establish a reserve fund, as per Section 188 of the Community Charter, for monies received from the settlement of the Orchard Heights litigation to be used for future repair, removal and replacement of failed infrastructure.
Three Readings - carried.

New Business

8.1 Notice of Motion from Mayor Stetski
City of Cranbrook Urban Agriculture Strategy
Whereas over the last couple of years the City of Cranbrook has received a number of requests and expressions of interest in conducting various forms of urban agricultural activities within the City, and currently, the City does not have a specific strategy or policy with respect to urban agriculture,
And Whereas an Urban Agriculture Strategy could:
• Provide guidelines, actions and policies with respect to urban agriculture;
• Promote sustainability and food security;
• Support economic initiatives for the agricultural sector;
• Provide support when seeking funding opportunities for agricultural related projects.
Therefore in consideration of the potential benefits of an Urban Agricultural Strategy,
Be It Resolved that Council adds the development of an Urban Agricultural Strategy to the list of
priority projects for consideration in the City's 2015 Corporate Workplan and budget


Notice of Motion  from Councillor Davis
Whereas, Cranbrook is situated in the southeast corner of British Columbia,
And Whereas, this southeast corner of British Columbia abuts the southwest
corner of Alberta, the Northwest corner of Montana, the Northern border of Idaho and the Northeast corner of Washington,
And Whereas these five areas represent jurisdictions with all different systems of governance, and this leads to many barriers to economic and social intercourse,
Therefore Be It Resolved, that the City of Cranbrook initiate steps to encourage the social and economic unification of these five (5) neighboring jurisdictions.
Submitted by: Councillor Angus Davis, 14 July 2014

Carried but with elimination of the word unification and the use of cooperation instead.

Notice of Motion from Councillor Warner
Whereas in 2013 there were 128 work-related deaths in B.C and hundreds more injured on the job resulting in millions in lost income to workers and their families and millions more in costs to industry, business and
And whereas WorkSafe BC administrator Gordon Macatee said WorkSafe BC investigators failed to prosecute those potentially responsible for two deadly sawmill blasts that resulted in the deaths of four workers and 22 injuries at the Babine Forest Products' sawmill in Bums Lake, BC and
the Lakeland Sawmill in Prince George in 2012.
And whereas police and prosecutors are not utilizing special amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada to hold corporate executives and directors criminally accountable for worker deaths and injuries that were written into the Code after the We stray Mine disaster in 1992 that killed 26 miners.
And whereas close to one thousand workers are killed on the job in
Canada every year. And whereas as an elected body resolutions passed by this Council influence public policy in Canada at all levels of government be it municipal, provincial or federal.
Therefore be it resolved that this Council support a United
Steelworkers campaign to ensure Crown attorneys and police are educated, trained and directed to apply the Westray amendments in all cases where workers are killed or injured on the job and there is a reasonable suspicion that criminal negligence was involved or laws broken. One more worker
killed on the job is one too many.

Carried by Mayor Stetski, Councillors Warner, Whetham and Cross with the caveat that the motion be submitted to Worksafe BC first.  Councillors Davis and Scott were opposed to the motion.

8.7 Social Media Policy
It was announced that the City of Cranbrook will soon have a Facebook Page for the purpose of conveying emergency information.

8.9 Appointments of David Humphrey and Jim Cameron to the Well and Heritage, Heritage subcommittee.

Council was pleased to see this new development by Canadian Tire going ahead.
That Council require the developer to extend the watermain and sidewalk along Theater Road adjacent to the northwest corner of the property on their side of the street and relocate a stormwater catch basin as a condition of issuance of a building permit;
And furthermore that Council require traffic light signalization be installed at the intersection of McPhee
Road and Theatre Road as a condition of issuance of a building permit and authorize the developer to
claim the traffic light installation as a DCC credit for their share of the cost of the signalization;
And furthermore that Council authorize the use of up to $150,000 from the General Operating Fund
Accumulated Surplus to fund the City's portion of the signalization of the intersection.

10.1 Administration Update
Can be read in full with attachments at:

12.5 Correspondence
Letters covered topics such as traffic calming on Innes Avenue, funding request for start up of Gifts that Give Hope, Worst Roads Survey and Stop signs.
begins at:
finishes at: with a letter against Urban Chicken keeping.

It is a Matter of Trust


Voting turnout is very poor no matter the level of government.  “I don’t trust politicians", is a frequent lament.  No wonder. 

On CBC radio this morning and in the Tyee, Rafe Mair is calling for the resignation of Mines Minister, Bennett because Mair says, it is a matter of responsibility.
The buck must stop somewhere in other words.  It is a question of who is ultimately responsible and personality has nothing to do with the argument.  Oversight does.

The news on the Elizabeth Lake flooding is encouraging - that a new culvert with a regulating gate will likely be installed soon.  However the statement recently heard that the real cause of the high water in Elizabeth Lake is not known, makes very light of what many feel they very well know and what they have been saying for months.  Once more, it is a question of ultimate responsibility. It is the quality of the work that was done, or not and its oversight that counts.

When issues such as these are made light of, dismissed or shuffled from one jurisdiction to another, it is no wonder the public loses trust.  No one takes responsibility and frequently it is the taxpayer who ends up paying a big legal bill through no fault of their of own.   Naturally, the voting public resent that.

Taking responsibility for ones actions or lack of, demonstrates maturity.  It is something teachers and parents try to instil in their children.  It is sad that in our politics of the day, too often wiggling, legal tactics are used instead of good, old fashioned honesty and responsibility.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Agenda for Cranbrook City Council Meeting, August 18th, 2014, 6:00pm

The full package can be read at:

Click on individual items to read them.  The public is welcome in the gallery to observe the meeting.

Included in this meeting are such items as, The RCMP Quarterly Report, a notice of motion regarding Urban Agriculture, Notes from Brown Bag Lunches, another letter about urban chickens, BCAA's worst road survey and many more items which concern the residents of Cranbrook.  With an upcoming election and past low voter turn-out, we only have ourselves to blame for not being involved enough to help encourage and be part of the governance which directly affects us.

Ministerial bafflegab doesn’t lessen the impact of the Mount Polley tailings spill

Ministerial bafflegab doesn’t lessen the impact of the Mount Polley tailings spill
“Perceptions” by Gerry Warner
“Tailing dams at operating mines have not ever failed in British Columbia. This is the first time. It is hard to plan for something that never happened,” said Mines Minister Bill Bennett in a front page Cranbrook Townsman story Aug. 12.
Assuming the quote is correct, and a former Kimberley resident said he heard Bennett say the same thing to the Vancouver media last week, Kootenay Bill must be having hallucinations over the mammoth Mt. Polley spill or he’s completely ignorant of the mining history in B.C.
Don’t believe me? Punch tailing dam breaches into Goggle and see for yourself.
The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) lists six pages of mine tailing dam breaches around the world – close to 200 in all – with six of the breaches occurring in BC at Invermere, Granisle, Pinchi Lake (two) and Kimberley. At the time, the only non- operating mine was the  Mineral King Mine west of Invermere, but it leaked anyway.
But yes, you read correctly one of the breaches occurred March 4, 1948 at the Sullivan Mine tailings pond above Marysville which released more than a million cubic metres of chemical-laced tailings when a dam wall broke during early spring run-off and washed out the railway tracks and the power line connecting the mine to the mill and almost drowned three security guards who barely escaped the ocean of sludge, according to a 1948 story in the Cranbrook Courier. 
More spills, including the ones in BC, are listed in The Chronology of Major Dam Failures which says “the challenges associated with tailings storage are ever increasing.” Despite this, ever since the Mt. Polley mine discharged 14.5 million cubic metres of mine processing water and sand into Quesnel Lake, reports have been circulating that inspections of the tailings pond fell off dramatically after Liberal government cutbacks began in 2001 and repeated Environment Ministry warnings about environmental issues and high tailing levels behind the dam were ignored by Imperial Metals Corp., the owners of the mine.
In an interview with the Vancouver Sun Tuesday, Bennett said the Mt. Polley spill can no longer be seen from the air. That’s comforting, I suppose.

Out of sight; out of mind. Bennett also insisted the Mt. Polley breach wasn’t an environmental disaster and compared it to the “thousands” of avalanches that occur in BC every winter. Really! Naturally occurring avalanches of snow being compared to a tailings pond breach spilling toxic chemicals like arsenic and poisonous metals like mercury, cadmium and lead. Now that’s a stretch!
But maybe this is what to expect from a mines minister that doesn’t know the history of tailing pond breaches in the province even when they occur in the riding next to his. Bennett accuses his critics of “taking cheap political advantage” in the aftermath of the Mt. Polley spill. That’s pretty rich coming from a mines minister brazenly trying to downplay the seriousness of the biggest tailings pond spill in the province in recent years. At 530 metres (1,739 ft.), Quesnel Lake is the deepest in BC and one of the most pristine. Who in their right mind thinks the purity of this salmon-spawning lake is going to be helped by having 14.5 million cubic metres of mine sludge dumped into it?
But what’s really sad here is that Bennett’s bluster may be damaging the very industry he so zealously supports. According to the Mining Association of BC, mining contributed $8.9 billion to the BC economy in 2010, provided more than 45,000 direct and indirect jobs and paid $938.6 million in taxes and royalties to all levels of government. I grew up a Cominco brat myself and owe my university education to Cominco. And I can tell you that Trail, BC, where I grew up, is a green and beautiful town today thanks to the millions, if not, billions spent by Teck-Cominco to clean the smelter up from the bad old days.
An industry as advanced as this needs a mines minister that can deal forthrightly with the public and better knows his own portfolio.

 Gerry Warner is a retired journalist and Cranbrook City Councillor, who in his younger days, worked in a few mines himself. His opinions are his own.