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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Annual Harvest Party at the Public Produce Garden

This Thursday, October 2 from 5-7pm is our annual Harvest Party at the Cranbrook Public Produce Garden. It looks like the weather will be sunny, perfect for celebrating the season!
We will be bqq-ing up local sausages and veggies, digging up the last of the potatoes, apple juicing, and planting some garlic. There will be kid's games (and a new playground right beside the garden, if you haven't visited that yet), so bring the whole family for dinner in the garden. 
If you have an abundant harvest of your own, bring something to share or trade - we'll have a trading table set up. The apple press will be set up also, so bring your apple to juice.

Give me a call if you have any questions or if you're keen to help by manning a bbq or apple press for some time that evening.
Looking forward to seeing you there :) and spread the word! ALL WELCOME!

Project Manager
Cranbrook Food Action 

Mount Polley Inspection Reports

September 26th From the Vancouver Sun

VICTORIA — The B.C. government’s refusal to release inspection reports for the Mount Polley mine dam is “nonsense” and smells like a coverup, according to the province’s Opposition leader.
NDP leader John Horgan said Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett has a public obligation to explain what, if anything, the government did to address a tension crack in the earthen dam that was highlighted in a 2010 safety inspection the province has tried to keep hidden.
“To have a four-year-old record showing a 10- to 15-metre tension crack at the mine site is something the government should have responded to,” said Horgan. “If Mr. Bennett has nothing to hide, he should demonstrate government took this information and acted upon it.”
The government again refused Friday to discuss the report or provide subsequent inspection reports from 2011-2013, citing that it can’t share any information during its ongoing investigation into how the dam breached.

Read more:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Municipalities respond to Christy Clark's Study Release and Provincial refusal to meet with UBCM regarding Strong Fiscal Futures

Reaction to the release of the Ernst and Young study on public sector compensation has been strong. Despite the UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities) resolution, below, from 2013 and subsequent requests no meetings or audience were ever granted to municipal leaders by the Province.

Special Resolution - SR1 Strong Fiscal Futures, 2013                     
UBCM Executive

Whereas the UBCM membership unanimously endorsed the Strong Fiscal Futures report at the 2013 Convention;

And whereas UBCM has sought to engage the Province on strengthening the local government finance system and improving taxpayer value through a spirit of collaboration and partnership;

And whereas the Province, through the "Core Review" process, without consultation with UBCM, identified areas of provincial concern with the local government finance system:

Therefore be it resolved that UBCM urge the Province to commit to meaningful engagement under the Strong Fiscal Futures framework in order to meet our respective mandates of strengthening the local government finance system.

click to enlarge

See also:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

No Anonymous Comments Please

A reminder|:
Sometime ago we made it a policy not to publish anonymous comments.  We ask that verifiable names be submitted with comments - just use the URL of the page you are commenting to.

World Rivers Day and Cranbrook

Joseph Creek
On this beautiful sunny Sunday, it might be a good time to think about the designation of 'World Rivers Day' given to this date.  Joseph Creek, Jim Creek and Hospital Creek, our own little rivers which flow though Cranbrook on into the St Mary River have suffered several serious abuses this summer that we know of. Who knows how many more doses of irritants were released into their waters, ever increasing the contaminants that eventually flow into the sea.

As many as forty dead fish were discovered within city limits in Joseph Creek this summer, the cause not confirmed.  A diesel dump into a drainage ditch and storm sewer outlet into Elizabeth Lake killed much fauna including the freshwater shrimp along the length of the ditch and the ramifications on and into the lake are not known.  Attempts have been made to discover the sources of these events and attempts were made to clean things up but that is not good enough for these occurrences should never have happened in the first place.

On top of those environmental infractions, our major tourist attraction, Elizabeth Lake and the park on the north end suffered badly from an unnatural dramatic rise in water level which raised the water table, flooded pathways, caused large floating islands of cattails to form which lodged at the north end of the lake completely changing the landscape and impeding sight lines for birdwatching and educational field trips. This major tourist attraction and beloved park is now reliant on volunteer efforts to restore the pathways, refloat the dock and clean up the birdblinds.   There are suggestions for dealing with the large floating islands which impede wildlife viewing but it is not known if these will be dealt with or if nature will be permitted to take its course.  As this lake is a managed  water feature, valued tourist and educational resource for Cranbrook it would be most beneficial to see restoration take place. Undoubtedly  Rocky Mountain Naturalists would welcome financial and volunteer help to complete these tasks.  No doubt financial help from the city that benefits from this park would also be welcomed.

Cranbrook Streamkeepers would be delighted if those using Rotary Way and other paths close to the creeks would be the eyes and ears necessary to protect these valuable water resources. Any concerns can be phoned in to Stewart Wilson at 250-489-1422.

Michael's Musings

Christy Clark drops bombshell in speech to Union of British Columbia Municipalities

By Michael J Morris

Premier Christy Clark dropped a bombshell to Union of British Columbia Municipalities members when she urged that unionized municipal pay rates to be an issue in the November municipal elections in British Columbia.

I shook my head in wonderment at first glance as unionized municipal pay rates don't even make it into my top 20 major issues for Cranbrook, where I live. Then I chuckled. The premier is facing flack on several fronts so it is the old game of centralized power and decentralized blame and municipalities are easy prey, especially in an election year for them.

With no advance warning to the municipalities, the Clark government released a study by Ernst and Young  days before the convention by the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation.

According to a story by Tom Fletcher, "It calculated that unionized municipal staff received pay increases of 38 per cent between 2001 and 2012, twice as much as unionized provincial staff, and ahead of inflation of 23 per cent during the same period."

The Fletcher story added that NDP local government critic Selina Robinson said the report, prepared and leaked without notice to the UBCM, "hit a group of people over the head with a two-by-four."

Clark told the UBCM delegates that she was not there to "point a finger" at anybody (of course not Christy) but "I think it's a legitimate issue to be discussed because it's taxpayers who pay for these compensation costs,"

Clark told reporters after her speech. "Further than that we'll wait until we have new municipal councils to speak with, and then we can talk about the next steps."

Wait for new municipal councils? Then "we can talk about the next steps"!

A bombshell indeed. Just as municipal election campaigns are really getting underway, the premier issues a veiled threat that candidates better make it a major issue, or else. Or else what Christy?

Maybe create a mess like the bolox made of the elementary and secondary school teachers negotiations that go back at least to those days when you were minister of education.

In reality it seems this is an effort by the premier to deflect attention from her government's failings, and appeal to the party's right wing base. Christy will fix those unions.

Here in Cranbrook, there has been a reasonably good relationship between the city and its unionized employees for 14 years after the bitter strike of 2000.

The premier's rant seems typical of conservative politicians these days, and there is nothing Liberal about the BC Liberals -- divide and rule, rather than focus on those things that bring all citizens together for a better community, province and nation. Such a shame.

I hope all candidates in municipalities across British Columbia tell the premier to go gently into that good night.

In the interests of full disclosure, I was a teacher for more than 30 years, secondary in Ontario and college in British Columbia. I was also employed on a contract basis by the Canadian Union of Public Employees as a communications consultant here in Cranbrook during the 2000 unionized municipal workers strike. I am not a member of any political party... My email is

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sustainability Symposium

With 50% of the spots for CBEEN's Voices for Sustainability Symposium already spoken for, we thought we'd send out a message to let you know that if you are thinking of joining us, you will want to register soon. To register you can click here or find out more information here.

This event will take place at Quantum Leaps Lodge in Golden from 4:00pm on Friday, October 17 to 1:00pm, on Sunday, October 19 (all times in Mountain Time). Classroom teachers and outdoor/environmental educators will have the opportunity to share their passion and knowledge, discuss challenges and opportunities, and develop a plan of action for overcoming obstacles & achieving success.

Thanks to support from the Columbia Basin Trust, Rocky Mountain School District 6, Wildsight-Golden and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, we are able to offer this at a very affordable rate - only $150 for CBEEN members and $175 for non-members. This includes an inspiring venue with great accommodation, locally grown and organic food, and very friendly facilitators!

Click here to register today!

Food Preservation Workshop Series Continue

This fall, the Local Food in the Kitchen workshop series will cover fermentation, meat preservation, vinegars and homemade drinks. Fall is traditionally the time to preserve the summer's harvest for the winter ahead and this year Wildsight and the Cranbrook Food Action Committee are teaching locals modern and traditional techniques to create delicious preserved foods from abundant local produce and meat.

"There's an abundance of local food sources still at this time of year" said Shannon Duncan of CFAC and Wildsight, "but that drastically changes when the snow starts falling. Plan ahead and delicious local meals can be had all year round."

The fall session of the Local Food in the Kitchen workshops will cover three areas of food preservation: making drinks and vinegars, fermentation, and meat preservation.

"A big part of the fall workshop series is fermentation and the traditional techniques that transform simple ingredients into the complex flavours of fermented foods with great nutritional value" added Duncan. "Fermented foods are one of our earliest technologies - and the basis of so much culture around the world."
"Preserving food doesn't have to be complex" added Duncan, "and our workshops will give people hands-on experience so they can start stocking their cupboards."

For the fall season, the workshops will cover seasonal preserved foods including apple cider vinegar and infused vinegars, fermented condiments, and meat. The series runs from Sept 30th to October 22nd on Tuesday evenings in Kimberley and Wednesday evenings in Cranbrook.

1. Homemade Vinegars & Drinks (Sept. 30 and Oct. 1): Apple cider vinegar, herb-infused vinegars, herbal decoctions and infusions.

2. Gourmet Fermentation (Oct. 7 and 8): Fermented condiments: gourmet relish, salsa, chutney, and sauces

3. Meat Preservation (Oct 21 / 22): Jerky and pressure canning. Local sources of meat.

Workshop details and registration are online at or by phone at 250 427 7981. The workshop cost is $20, which includes food, so participants will take something home from each workshop. Participants are asked to register as early as possible to help the organizers plan ahead to buy ingredients.
"After the success and feedback from the first three summer workshops in the Local Food in the Kitchen series, we are excited to get back into the kitchen" said Duncan, "and we are very excited to be covering meat preservation with a guest expert as well this fall."

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What's Happening......

Friday September 26th

Tanya Lipscombe
Cranbrook and District Arts Council Gallery
Doors open 7:30 for 8:00pm performance
Entry by donation
135 Tenth Av. S, Cranbrook

Acrylics for Beginners

Saturday September 27th

Cranbrook Farmer's Market
Tenth Av S
10:00am - 1:00pm

Summer Sounds
Rotary Park
11:00am - 2:30pm

Locals Coffee House
Studio Stage Door

Tuesday September 30

'Potholes, Policing and Plowing'
How do we Pay for it?
College of the Rockies

Tales of Wrestling with Mick Foley
Key City Theatre

Wednesday October 1st to Sunday September 5th

Cranbrook Library Annual Book Sale 

Thursday October 2nd
Rockies Film Series

Paws for a Cause

Our local SPCA held their annual Paws for a Cause Walk and Open House on Sunday September 21st. This well attended event was a lot of fun for pet owners, children and dogs alike.  After the short walk in the Community Forest, hot dogs and chile were available before the games and dog show.  Funds were raised through participants collecting pledges prior to the walk.  It is not known at this time if the goal of $15,000 was raised.  However donations are always welcome at the SPCA to aid in the very valuable services they provide.

Meet and Greet

 Open House
adopt ME



Bobbing for Hot Dogs - Speed Competition


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sharon Cross seeks re-election in 2014.


Sharon has served on Council since 2011.  Previously, she worked in economic research, broadcasting and educational administration.  Currently, she manages Joseph Cross’s Art Studio.

Sharon has helped create a community we want to live in through a strong leadership record in the many committees she volunteers on. She Chairs the City’s Environment & Utilities Committee, and Family & Community Services Committee.  Listening to where there is a need, she takes action representing the broader community and taxpayers interests.

A proven record: 

  • walking the talk
  • bringing people together
  • seeing a project through to completion
  • doctor shortage Task Force
  • child care needs assessment
  • 100% attendance at Council

The economic, environmental, social, arts & cultural pillars need to be balanced.  For example, the floods and drought in North America, in areas that we call our ‘food basket’, mean we must prepare now for a more local, secure, safe, and sustainable agricultural sector.  The employment potential would boost our local economy.

Ensuring these needs are balanced with prudent use of tax dollars, and responsible, planned development, are a priority for Sharon.  A healthy, vibrant community comes through communication, collaboration and creative thinking. 

Note:  At this time we invite other candidates for the upcoming Municipal Election to submit their bios for the public's consideration.

Michael's Musings

Celebrating Social Media Week with great choirs and organists

By Michael J Morris

While musing about how to celebrate Social Media Week, I decided to listen to some great choirs complete with the passion of a great organist on Youtube.

I am able to enjoy them again thanks to the generosity of my friend Joel Vinge who recently gave me a set of super headphones. In an admission of my approaching Winter years, and a bit of hearing impairment, I accepted them and spent a totally marvellous afternoon attending concerts featuring great choirs.

Choirs and organs by the way are not part of  my upbringing: they are part of my DNA. My grandfather George Hunt, who played organ in churches and, yes, piano in English pubs, played for family concerts Sunday after church. His daughter, Muriel, my mother, with her incredible soprano voice, was a soloist, choir director and director of musicals, including 'HMS Pinafore' by Gilbert and Sullivan.

In the interests of full disclosure though, I must admit that I neither play nor sing well, but have directed concerts and musicals and studied drama at the University of Toronto.

Enough already. You are wondering what the history of my family in music has to do with Social Media Week underway from September 22 to 26, and the theme is Reimagining Human Connectivity: The Future of Now, Always On, Always Connected

Everything.  I attended my Youtube concerts, featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. the choirs of the National Cathedral in Washington, Westminster Abbey, St. James Cathedral (Toronto), St. George's Cathedral (Kingston), St. Paul's Bloor Street (Toronto) and a few others.

Youtube is a huge player in social media, and there I was in front of my computer being connected in a moment to great choirs of my choosing -- in effect experiencing the future of now, always on, always connected. In fact I am listening to selections by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as I type.

One of the comments I saw on Youtube was that there is "nothing more beautiful than voices of a great choir and the sounds of a talented passionate organist."

I agree. With all respect to choirs here which I enjoy, I always enjoyed trips to Vancouver where I could attend Christ Church Cathedral and connect to the choir and organist. I have sat in the pews at St. Paul's Bloor Street in Toronto and listened to the Anglican Bishop of Toronto speak "at" the congregation --- as Timothy Findley wrote in his awesome novel 'The Wars'. Best use of a preposition I ever saw!  But mostly I was there for the music.

For each choir and each song I heard, a story from my own personal experience arose, and I was connected in a moment to my past, present and future. Also I am Irish and I have a photo of my parents beside my computer, and they are always smiling, but sometimes more so than other times like they were yesterday. I know. I know!

Let me share one anecdote though that came to mind. In 1935 at the 50th anniversary of St. John's Anglican Church in Chapleau, my grandfather was the choirmaster, my grandmother Edythe, and their daughter Elsie were in the choir, and my Mom was soloist. Mom sang 'Now the Day is Over'. I listened to it sung by the Hastings College Choir.

Social media lets us re imagine human connectivity. We just have to collect metaphors and apply them to do so..

Last night at the swimming pool I was supposed to get some advice on getting rid of my new noodle (metaphor there lol) but told Dane Ries I had to leave early to work on my column. Chatting briefly, Dane told me he had learned to play the drums by ear, and that is how my grandfather played too. Grandpa could not read one iota of  music.

Dane is learning guitar by watching others play on Youtube cause he doesn't read music either. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose!

I plan to continue celebrating Social Media Week with Peter, Paul and Mary; Pete Seeger and Daniel O'Donnell, working on reimagining human connectivity. Feel free to share how you are celebrating Social Media Week. Thanks Joel and Dane.. My email is mj.morris@liveca

It's Fall

Monday, September 22, 2014

March for Action on Climate Change

On the eve of the UN-hosted summit, which is set to discuss carbon emissions, thousands around the world marched to demand action from governments.  In Cranbrook those gathered, marched from Rotary Park to MP Wilks office on Saturday September 20th.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Welcome to Cranbrook, Cranbrook and Nancy and Drew

How about that! A Lucky happenstance occurred to Stewart Wilson on Thursday September 18th.
This couple from the US were determined to bring their vintage 1951 auto through its name sake on their way to Banff for their honeymoon.  Nancy and Drew(yes, Nancy and Drew) were happy to pose for Stewart Wilson (whose own daughter gets married this weekend), by the red Cranbrook sign at Elizabeth Lake where Stewart happened to greet the visitors.
Serendipity indeed.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Marching for Change

Cranbrook Joins Global Climate March Saturday, September 20th

This Saturday in Cranbrook, the People’s Climate March hits the streets to demand action against climate change from our elected leaders. The march is part of the global weekend of action ahead of the UN Climate Summit in New York City. Cranbrook will be joining hundreds of thousands of people in New York City and at more than 1500 other rallies in 130 countries.

“This will be the biggest worldwide climate march yet” said Lars Sander-Green, Wildsight’s Climate Program Manager, “and will send a strong message to our elected leaders that real action on climate change just can’t wait any longer.”

Wildsight is leading the Cranbrook march and joining with more than 1000 other groups around the world coming together for the worldwide event. More than 75 000 people have already committed to joining events around the world and many times that number are expected by organizers.

“Climate impacts are already beginning to be felt by frontline communities around the world, who are often some of the most world’s most vulnerable people,” added Sander-Green, “so we need coordinated international action now to drastically reduce carbon emissions. That’s the message marchers will be sending to Stephen Harper, our MP David Wilks, and all the world leaders who will be attending the UN Climate Summit.”

The climate march starts at noon on Saturday, September 20th at Rotary Park in Cranbrook (on 11th Ave S at 1st St), with marchers gathering to make signs at 11:30am. From Rotary Park, the march will pass through downtown and end up at MP David Wilks’ office to send a message demanding action on climate change. More information is available by calling Wildsight at 250 427 2535 x2. Everyone is welcome to join the People’s Climate March, which will last about one hour.

“The transition to a world economy that works for people and the planet is not far out of reach, but we need a global push now before runaway climate change takes root,” said Sander-Green. “That’s why we’ll be marching in Cranbrook on Saturday.”

What's Happening.....

Friday September 19th

Artists for Peace Reception
Cranbrook and District Arts Council Gallery
135, Tenth Avenue South

Book Launch
Fisher Peak Chronicles
by Keith Powell
Lotus Books

Saturday September 20th

Cranbrook Farmer's Market
Tenth Av. S.
10:00am - 1:00pm

Summer Sounds
11:00am - 3:00pm
Rotary Park
The Hoodis

Climate March
begins Noon, Rotary Park
demanding action against climate change from elected leaders
Through downtown to office of MP Wilks

Social Dance
Cranbrook Senior's Centre, $12
Don Davies Quartet

Sweet Lies
Key City Theatre

Six in the Stix
Bike Race takes place in the Cranbrook Community Forest this weekend.
Watch for bikes.

Sunday September 21st

Hazardous Waste Round -Up
9:00am - 2:00pm
Click to enlarge

Celebrating International Day of Peace

1:00pm - 4:00pm
Rotary Park

Mayor Stetski's Community Update - presentation to the Chamber, September 17th 2014

Community Update 2014 – Mayor Wayne Stetski

Good afternoon.  It is a real pleasure to be here today to provide an update on some of the things that have helped to make Cranbrook an even better place to live over the last year.  When I look at what is going on around the world, I am so happy that the most common day to day issues I have to deal with are potholes and urban deer and, with the upcoming change in seasons, how quickly the snow gets plowed off our streets.  We are truly blessed to live where we do!

My challenge today is to compress a year’s worth of progress into under 20 minutes.  I want to be very clear right from the start that what gets accomplished here in Cranbrook in any year comes about because of what we accomplish together.  By together, I mean City Council, City staff, service clubs, volunteers, businesses, the Chamber, the Downtown Business Association, the arts community, newcomers from a variety of cultures – all are citizens of Cranbrook who love our city and contribute to it in many different ways.  To all of you I say Thank You!

Arts and Culture

To quote from one of my all-time favourite cartoon shows, Bugs Bunny and Friends, “On with the show this is it”.  So let’s begin with Arts and Culture, which you, through taxpayer-funded grants and your own personal generosity, have had an amazing year!  Let me give you just a few examples:

·        The successful revival of the Symphony of the Kootenays.  We are one of the smallest cities in Canada to have a symphony orchestra.

·        Performances at Western Financial Place, which in the last year has included Dwight Yoakam, Alice Cooper, Larry the Cable Guy, Dean Brody, Charley Pride and the Gambler himself, Kenny Rogers.  What I do for every performer is to offer them a meet and greet from your Mayor and, regardless of whether they say yes or no to that, I send each of them a hand-written card thanking them for coming to Cranbrook.  Alice Cooper, who, as you know has performed all over the world, told FJ Hurtak that a thank you card from the Mayor had never happened to him before – another first for Cranbrook!  A quick story, though, about the risk of meeting performers before their show – Larry the Cable Guy said at the start of the show “I met your Mayor before the show. What a great guy and a real good kisser too!”

·        Another highlight was Cranbrook’s first ever multi-cultural festival, representing 12 cultures, celebrated in Rotary Park.  It will continue to grow as both a celebration of our diversity and as a tourism draw for our city thanks to our new Multi-Cultural Society.

·        Cranbrook’s second Art in the Park festival, organized by the Cranbrook and District Arts Council.  This year’s theme was a Teddy Bears Picnic, and I know a number of you took part by purchasing and dressing up a teddy bear.

The list goes on, great performances at Key City Theatre and the Studio Stage Door,  the best ever Sam Steele Days, the New Year’s Eve Family First Celebration at Western Financial Place, the International Choir Festival, Saturday afternoon Summer Sounds Music and evening Dancing in the Dark at Rotary Park, ….  We are a community rich in arts and culture and your tax dollars and your personal support are important to making it happen.

A Healthy Community

Many of you will have heard me say before that for every $1.00 each of us pays in taxes every day, $0.50 goes to the Federal Government; $0.42 to the Provincial Government; and $0.08 to City Government.  Out of that 8 cents, we are responsible for roads, garbage, snow removal, sewer, water, policing, fire services, parks and recreation, proper city planning – BASICS, I call them.  We know and respect that as your Council.  But what about all those other things that are important to a healthy Cranbrook?  Poverty.  Hunger.  Homelessness.  Physician Shortages.  Day Care Challenges.

What we try to do, as much as possible, is to focus your taxpayer dollars on the BASICS, but use our time and influence to improve our overall community health.

·        Early on in my tenure as Mayor I volunteered Cranbrook to be one of seven cities in British Columbia trying out different approaches to reducing poverty.  The Province allocated 50% of one staff person’s time to work directly with local families who are living in poverty.  Non-profit agencies from the social sector now meet regularly to talk about strategies specific to Cranbrook.  Feeding hungry children is one of the priorities, and it was great to see Christie Wheeldon’s passion to get the business community involved in alleviating child hunger.  I continue to participate on that committee.

·        Cranbrook now has its first ever Habitat for Humanity home about to be completed and occupied.  It came about because the City donated the lot and helped spread the word about what a good thing this was.  Many businesses contributed materials and donated time, as did many volunteers, working under Gord Johnston’s gentle but focussed hand.  This is just the start for Habitat for Humanity in Cranbrook.

·        The announcement that we were about to be short five family physicians, leaving thousands of patients without a family doctor, came as a shock to all of us.  I attended the first meeting organized by IHA and local physicians, where a Physician Recruitment Red Carpet Committee was recommended.  I committed the City to having a role in resolving this issue, which is important to our citizens and to our economy.  Two of our Councillors and our Economic Development Officer participate regularly on the Committee, as does your Chamber.  My role is to help convince candidates that this truly is the best place on earth to live, as one of the last steps in the process.  In the last few months, the hard work by the committee has resulted in two new family physicians, Dr. Karen Fordham – Green Clinic and Dr. Jordan Wolff – Associate Clinic, choosing Cranbrook as their home.  There is much more work to be done as our baby boomer doctors get closer to retirement age, which is a world-wide phenomenon.

These are only a few examples of the challenges. There are many others, like day care shortages, relieving homelessness by supporting the Ktunaxa’s Street Angels and promoting the Salvation Army’s revised model for a transition centre. 

As your Mayor, I struggle with how far we should go in being involved with these issues which are so important to the health of our community, and I have also begun to ask that question of your Chamber.  What role do you think your Chamber should have in social issues in Cranbrook in the future?

The City gets directly involved in improving the health of the community in many ways:

·        Ensuring that the city’s sidewalks and buildings are accessible for seniors and citizens in wheelchairs.

·        The development of McKinnon Park into a public produce garden and now featuring a new playground.  This is important for both food security and children’s health.

·        Connecting Idlewild Park to the Kimberley Ski Hill with an off-road cycling/walking trail.  Construction of the last piece, connecting Cranbrook’s Rotary Way past the Chamber Office to the NorthStar Rails to Trails will begin construction very shortly.

·        Providing land and financial support for the bike skills park adjacent to the skateboard park, which was officially opened this year.

·        Celebrating our youth.  This spring I introduced the concept of having a Youth Mayor for a Day and was very pleased to have Burke Bidder take up the challenge – she was great!

·        Providing funding to support the amazing Gran Fondo cycling event, a brain child of the Sunrise Rotary Club, which had over 375 participants earlier this month from as far away as Oxford, England. As a participant I can tell you that the event was exceptional!

·        There is an old African saying, “If you want to go faster, go alone.  If you want to go further, go together.” With that principle in mind I have been working with Cranbrook’s Service clubs to look for opportunities for them to work together on helping our community deal with social and recreational challenges.  Imagine the power of many Clubs working together towards a common goal!
As your Council, we believe in a healthy community, and we work towards achieving that, both by investing your tax dollars and our time.

Cranbrook’s Economy

While arts and culture and community health are all important, I know that many of you are here to hear about our economy.  How are we doing?  We are going in the right direction!

I had staff prepare a hand-out that provides you with details, so I will just hit the highlights:

1.      Barriers to Business Report – A City/Chamber Joint Initiative

Shortly after becoming Mayor in 2011 I issued a challenge to the Chamber Board.  People were telling me when I was running for Mayor that Cranbrook was not a friendly place to do business.  Could the Chamber please help define that; to identify what are the barriers to business so we can work on removing them?  After consulting businesses, the Chamber produced a report which led to a Baker’s Dozen of Actions that we are undertaking.  You can read it at your leisure, but some highlights are:
·        updated versions of the Relocation Guidebook and the Investing in Cranbrook Guidebook,
·        a new 3-year Economic Development Strategy, being finalized this fall.
·        allocating seats on Cranbrook’s Economic Development Committee specifically for the Chamber and the DBA,
·        Implementing Enhanced Customer Service Training for City staff (104 staff have taken the training so far), and
·        creating a checklist to help developers better understand the steps required to build in Cranbrook. 

My goal is that one day soon we will all say that Cranbrook is a great place to do business!

2.      Building Permits / Construction

Year to date figures are very positive in every category over 2013:

Residential $6,418,256 43.7%↑
Commercial $5,890,727    60%↑
Industrial $350,000      46%↑
Institutional $15,049,500 15,592%↑
Signs $233,405    145%↑

Total New Construction $27,941,888 226%↑

It’s been a pretty good year for construction!

3.      New Business Licences Issued

We have almost 1400 businesses licensed in Cranbrook.  From January 1 to August 31, 2014, 98 new businesses were established, a 14.2% increase over 2013.

Since January 1, 2014 every new business gets a letter from me thanking them for their faith in Cranbrook, encouraging them to join the Chamber and/or the DBA, and providing them with a list of resources that could help them with their businesses, which resulted from a meeting I organized with Cranbrook’s Economic Practitioners.  I’d be pleased to send a copy of that list of resources to you, and I like to think that my letter has helped the Chamber to grow its membership.

4.      One of the metrics used to determine how well the economy is doing is airport passenger usage.  Year-to-date traffic is up 10% over 2013 and by the end of the year, use is expected to surpass 123,475 passengers.  Our growth is outpacing comparable airports in BC, including Kamloops and Kelowna.

Real Estate Update

Year to date to September 10, Cranbrook has seen sales of 177 single family dwellings for an average sale price of $286,685, with an average of 88 days of marketing time.  In 2013, 132 single family homes were sold, so we’re up about 34% over last year.

Supply is trending downwards, and there are fewer homes available on the market.

The most significant improvement in sales has been houses priced between $200,000 and $300,000, as well as from $400,000 to $500,000.  Luxury housing market is still flat.

In conclusion Philip Jones states, “The local Cranbrook market continues on the path of stability with some positive trends moving forward, including the recent spike in demand in August of 2014 and the continued downward trend of the supply.  The average sale price of a house has increased 1.45% over 2013.”

As I said at the beginning, our economy is heading in the right direction!

I’m going to take a few minutes to highlight a couple of other aspects from the Community Update Hand Out. Let’s start with roads.

Road Program

·        We invest $3,000,000 a year into improving our roads, and each year the first 1% of any property tax increase goes towards improving roads.

·        Our Engineering Department, working with our Environment and Utilities Committee, has produced a 15 year Capital Plan for road repair/replacement.  If you want to know when the street you live on or work on is scheduled for replacement we can now tell you that, but be prepared that the answer could be the year 2029!

·        If you’re a BC Automobile Association Member you will know about their Annual Top 10 Worst Roads in the Province survey.  Two pieces of good news:

1.      Cranbrook’s streets were not on this year’s list, and
2.      The streets that were listed as concerns for Cranbrook largely mirrors the list of streets that the City fixed as a priority in 2014.

Public Library Washrooms
·        If you’re a library user you’ll know about the great new accessible public washrooms at the library.  My only concern is that we may have to install pay parking meters in the bathroom stalls.  I don’t know about you but for me a comfortable seat and great reading material isn’t conducive to moving along in any kind of a hurry! We are also putting in a wheelchair accessible washroom into City Hall.

Fire Hall #1
·        Before we could make the Firehall available for long term use by the Arts Council or any other occupant we needed to ensure it was safe.  By removing the asbestos this building is now poised to be an important part of downtown Cranbrook’s revitalized future.

While not covered in the handout I want to update you on the
Old City Garage Between City Hall and Firehall #1 – The Brick Building
·        This building, which is part of the City’s heritage, is now safe from the wrecking ball due to the efforts of the citizens of Cranbrook.  I love this story. Why? Because City Council and Staff were heading towards demolition, a group of concerned citizens said No – we want it saved and we’re willing to help and a majority of Council agreed. The building will be a part of our future.  This, to me, is a real example of Grass Roots Democracy in Action!

I want to share with you a few more highlights from the last year before we move to questions.

·        I represent mid-sized communities in British Columbia on the BC Mayor’s Caucus Steering Committee.  In April of this year 70 Mayors from across the province gathered here in Cranbrook and Kimberley for a 3 day spring conference.  Many of the Mayors had never spent any time here before; a lot of them said that they would be back.
·        Whenever I hear a rumour that a particular company is moving to Cranbrook, or see a perceived gap in service for our community, I follow up.  In the last year I have emailed or spoken with senior representatives of Moores - the Suit People, London Drugs, Costco and the BC Automobile Association. While none of them are planning to come here tomorrow, we are certainly on their radar and I will continue to push for them to come to Cranbrook.
·        Last spring Darrell Jones, President of Overwaitea Food Group, stopped by City Hall to say hello. (You may have seen Darrell in some of Save On Foods TV commercials recently, some of which feature Cranbrook). I asked Darrell two questions:
1.      If local business could provide local garden produce in commercial quantities would they buy it? He said Yes, that is their preferred way of doing business.
2.      Could we have further discussions with them about getting a commercial greenhouse operation going in Cranbrook, the sunniest city in BC?  He said Yes.  We have now started discussions with a list of greenhouse operators largely from the west coast to see if we can interest them in coming here.
·        In the last year we have had 3 businesses, Dr. Nish Dental, The Heid-Out and Taylor Adams take advantage of our Downtown Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw, which provides five years exemption for City Property Taxes for up to 100% of the costs of building or renovating.  We look forward to more businesses taking advantage of this in the future as we revitalize downtown Cranbrook.
·        One of my priorities has been to try and give local businesses a leg up on bidding on city contracts.  I am pleased to say that 18 companies attended our first How to Bid on City Contracts session, also called the Community Vendor Information Session, last week.  We will take what we learned and offer the workshop again in 2015.


So where does all this leave us? As I said at the beginning we are heading in the right direction as a city and as a community. Are there challenges ahead – absolutely. We need to:
·        Continue to encourage new business and reduce barriers as they are identified, while maintaining standards.
·        Continue to try and reach the right balance between tax increases, people’s ability to pay, and ensuring the City can continue to provide the kinds of services and community infrastructure that make us all proud to call Cranbrook Home.
·        Ensure that we have a supply of serviced lots available to retain and enhance industrial development.
·        Build an economy that includes solar energy and greenhouses.
·        Develop, package and market our incredible tourism opportunities

To meet those challenges will require the Chamber, the Business Community and the City to continue to work together and build on the very solid foundation that we have in place through the hard work of Past Presidents Lana Kirk and Mike Adams, current President Dave Butler, and Chamber Manager Karin Penner and her staff.

My commitment to you (you’ll see that we included information on the upcoming Municipal election in the Community Update handout) is to continue to work closely with in-coming Chamber President Dave Struthers and your new Chamber Manager in 2015, pending, of course, the outcome of the November 15 Municipal Election!

Thank you very much for your time today, and for the important part that you play in making Cranbrook a great place to call Home!

Wayne L. Stetski
Mayor of Cranbrook
September 17, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Are modern humans inherently unsustainable?

A symposium from Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology


  • Start Date: September 30, 2014
  • End Date: October 01, 2014
  • City: Kimberley, BC
  • Venue: Kimberley Conference Centre
  • Last day to register extended till Sept 19th, 2014
In a keynote address, open to the public,  Dr. William Rees will explore the question of whether modern humans are inherently unsustainable.

Founder of UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning, Dr. Rees is well known for work in human ecology and ecological economics. He is perhaps best known for his book on his method, Our Ecological Footprint (1996, co-authored with then PhD student Mathis Wackernagel.) You may read more about Dr. William Rees here:

Post Notes for the Council Meeting of Monday, September 15th, 2014

Public Hearing
There was one presentation from the owner and a real estate salesperson from Rivers Crossing (formerly Shadow Mountain Development).  The presentation spoke in favour of increasing the permissible secondary suite size to the generally acceptable percentage of floor area from 25% to 40% in new builds on the Rivers Crossing property.  The reason presented was to enable buyers to accommodate aging parents in their home. This proposed bylaw, number 3810, later passed during the Council meeting.


All bylaws presented at this meeting were carried. They can be read beginning:

New Business

Item 8.4 Urban Deer Management was deferred.
Item 8.7  To inform Council of the vulnerability of the City's Motor Control Center (MCC) for the Irrigation Pump Station, and request funding for design so construction can start this winter season on total
replacement. This half a million dollar item was dicussed and initial design funding carried.

All recommendations carried and can be read beginning:

Administration Update
Several reports including the wall at 11th Ave. and 2nd St intersection, library and Contingency fund beginning:


A petition was received concerning opposition to a proposed Emergency and Transitional Housing facility. This was referred to administration for more information as to precise concerns and zoning.


It was agreed to give Community Connections $1800 from the remaining contingency fund for the purpose of supporting a First Night Celebration at Western Financial Place.
Only approximately $3000 now remain in this fund which originally had a maximum $500 recommended single amount for donation.

Councillor Warner enquired about the Engineer report on the Elizabeth Lake drainage system.  CAO Staudt said that the report had been received from Urban Systems and would be available to the public sometime this week on the City webpage.