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.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Michael's Musings

 Cranbrook no longer "pothole capital of Canada"

By Michael J Morris

When I arrived in Cranbrook just over 25 years ago now, the city was described as the "pothole capital of Canada", and although I had seen some real bad roads in my travels, I tended to agree.

In fact, some magazine writer also gave Cranbrook the same title and as I recall, the locals were somewhat upset with the description, although it seemed OK if they said it -- especially at municipal election time.

As Cranbrook citizens go to the polls to elect a mayor from one of three candidates, and six councilors from 16 candidates, (yes 16), the chatter once again from most of them has been about "infrastructure" the 21st century word for a community's "hard services" -- roads, water and sewer.

In the old, old days come election time, incumbents seeking re-election kept it simple with the old adage, "If it moves, pay it; if it doesn't move pave it."

I've tried to follow the trains of thought of wannabe members of council on this one, but try as I might, none of the newcomers have presented a clear concise improvement plan with achievable goals that is better than the efforts of the present mayor and council.

In fact, as one who pretty well walks everywhere in town, I no longer would refer to Cranbrook as the pothole capital of Canada or even British Columbia. And I am a pretty cynical guy about the efforts of municipal, provincial and federal government to improve the lot of the citizens they presumably represent.

Campaign rhetoric that essentially says "My priority is infrastructure" is hardly a good reason to vote for them. While roads, water and sewer are obviously very important components of the city budget, the issue is being addressed.  I respectfully suggest the next mayor and council stay the course, and keep making improvements.

Unless the provincial and/or federal governments recognize the dismal overall state of the aging hard services not only in Cranbrook, but across Canada, and provide a  massive infusion of cash, "plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose".

Enough already on that one.

Although none of the candidates for mayor or council have asked me, here briefly are some of my priorities for the next council:
  • create a workable plan to maximize the potential of Western Financial Place to relieve the burden on the taxpayers
  • find a permanent home for the arts council as part of a process for a more vibrant community, especially in the downtown area
  • get serious about attracting and retaining additional family physicians, rather that all the rhetoric about "working with" other groups. Take the leadership role and make it happen
  • take a scalpel to the city budget and reallocate, reduce, whatever, to halt the yearly tax increases

Finally, on a positive note, my anecdotal findings, research by walking around, actually adapted from the Michael Eisner approach when he headed Disney (management by walking around), reveals there are far fewer empty business spaces in the downtown core and elsewhere in the city, than in 2011 when this mayor and council took office.

 And, there have been some innovative approaches to revitalization such as at Baker Street (Cranbrook) Mall and the former Bingo Hall on Second Street North. Good stuff.

Most importantly, vote! My email is


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