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.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

It ain’t over until it’s over and it’s not over yet, by Gerry Warner

It ain’t over until it’s over and it’s not over yet
Perceptions by Gerry Warner
Politics is an “honorable profession,” East Kootenay MLA Bill Bennett used to say. Too bad he so seldom practised it.
Where does one begin? A good place to start is comments he made in a BC Business Magazine article in October 2014. In it, he donned his “Kootenay Bill” persona and spoke candidly about his career in which he was kicked out of cabinet twice, kicked out of his own party for leading a revolt against the Premier and split the Liberal cabinet to this day.  
After leading the insurrection, Bennett became so toxic that several cabinet ministers told incoming Premier Christy Clark they would quit if she let him back in the cabinet. But this didn’t bother “Kootenay Bill.”
“The vast majority of cabinet ministers hated my guts,” Bennett told BC Business writer Matt O’Grady. “Pat Bell and Shirley Bond told Christy that if she let me back in the caucus they were quitting. Rich Coleman wouldn’t talk to me.”
But this was nothing to what Bennett said in a bizarre news conference Nov. 17, 2010 after former Premier Gordon Campbell announced he was going to resign. Accusing Campbell of being abusive to cabinet members, he claimed there was a “battered wife syndrome in our cabinet.” And if that wasn’t enough, he also accused Campbell of spitting on him during an earlier angry confrontation “He was so angry, he got in my face. He actually spit in my face . . .” he said in the scrum as reporters gasped.
But temper tantrums, profanity-laced expletives and ad-hominen attacks were standard tools of the trade as Bennett practised the “honorable profession.” In 2007, he was forced to resign as Mines Minister after he sent an incendiary email to a Fernie constituent who accused him of favoring outside big game hunters over resident hunters. “It is my understanding that you are an American, so I don’t give a shit what your opinion is on Canada or Canadian residents . . .”
Kootenay Bill always went for the jugular of his political opponents, especially the NDP, against whom he never attempted to hide his distain, likening them to communists or fellow travellers as he did to NDP MLA Jagrup Brar after he returned from a holiday in Cuba. “Jagrup Brar expressed over-the-top- admiration for nanny state communist Cuba,” he fumed in a party release. And then he spread mud over every NDP member. “In this case, Jagrup may well have given us a glimpse into the secret desires of the NDP caucus.”
On another occasion, Bennett took to Twitter to call the NDP Opposition “turds.” But he saved his worst vitriol for his Kootenay neighborhood MLA rival Norm Macdonald, who he taunted with the F-bomb during legislative debate, a charge the normally mild-mannered Macdonald returned in similar fashion. Speaker Linda Reid described the behaviour of both members as “appalling.” Macdonald apologized immediately, but Bennett didn’t apologize until half an hour later and only then when the assistant deputy speaker asked him twice. However, “Kootenay Bill” calmed down the next day and told reporters he was “mortified” by what he said and added he was glad there were no children in the House.
Bennett didn’t like environmentalists either calling them “eco-fascists” when they criticized government plans for the Flathead Valley in the southeast corner of his riding. 
And “Kootenay Bill” wasn’t above using the race card in pursuit of electoral victory as his St. Mary Band opponent Troy Sebastian found out in the 2009 provincial election. The inflammatory ad authorized by the financial agent for his campaign was anything but subtle. “He’s one of us” headlined the ad in bold face type, “who pays taxes,” screamed the advertisement in a sleazy swipe at the fact that First Nations members on reserves don’t pay the same taxes as non-First Nations taxpayers do.
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs demanded an immediate apology and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said Bennett’s nickname should be changed from Kootenay Bill to “Wild Bill.” But Bennett denied the ad was racist in any way and took to TV to say he wouldn’t apologize.
Time to cut to the chase. Bill Bennett is getting out just in time as years of bullying, take no prisoners politics and hyper-partisanship has made him toxic to any party. Bennett is a political relic, harkening back to the free-enterprise vs godless socialism era for which BC was so justly infamous for many years. But, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently said, “it’s 2015” and political dinosaurs have to go, especially of the Tyrannosaurus Rex variety. 
As well as this, Bennett blew the Mt. Polley mine breach big time, trying to downplay it at first and later lamely acknowledging it was a “disaster” that underlined the lack of safety oversight in his own ministry and the need to make up for years of cutbacks.  Meanwhile BC Hydro keeps upping its rates while swimming in debt and thanks to all the court cases launched against the $8 billion Site C project the dam isn’t yet a done deal.
The proposed $500 million Jumbo ski resort, which Bennett shamelessly shilled for in spite of being a minister, is also dead, killed by the government’s own bureaucracy despite all Bennett’s attempts to promote it.
And most importantly, Bennett has lost the trust of resident hunters in BC over the government’s clumsy handling of game allocations in the province. This may not sound like a big deal in the Lower Mainland, but in the Kootenays and the rest of rural BC it’s like spitting in the eye of a Grizzly, not a smart thing to do.
But despite all this, Bennett still has loyal core of supporters in his constituency, especially in Cranbrook where his tireless work for years getting millions in government funds to upgrade the East Kootenay Regional Hospital is deeply appreciated and justifiably so.
That’s why this writer doesn’t think the public has seen the last of Kootenay Bill. Several years ago when Bennett’s fortunes were at a low ebb he made overtures to run for the federal Conservatives in Kootenay-Columbia when the venerable and populist Conservative MP Jim Abbott was getting close to retirement. But Bennett was resolutely and rudely turned down by the Harper Tories and he has smarted over it ever since.
The next federal election takes place in a little over three years. Bennett is 66, not old for politics.  If I was Kootenay-Columbia NDP MP Wayne Stetski, I’d be looking over my shoulder.
After all, “Kootenay Bill” has some scores to settle.

Gerry Warner is a retired Cranbrook journalist that has covered politics long before Bill Bennett was on the scene.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Value of Trees

Neighborhoods look a lot prettier when trees line the streets, but the value of these trees goes well beyond the aesthetic… I’m talking cash, even! Researchers estimate that trees planted next to California streets generate approximately $1 billion in benefits for the state.
The Pacific Southwest division of the U.S. Forest Service conducted the study, which was published in Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, to get a firmer grasp on the kind of perks road-adjacent trees offer to the state. The money breakdown went like this:
  • Increased property values: $839,000,000
  • Energy savings (by offering shade): $101,000,000
  • Absorbing rain and preventing flooding: $41,500,000
  • Taking pollution out of the air: $18,000,000
  • Storing harmful carbon emissions: $10,000,000
Obviously, the figure the U.S. Forest Service quoted doesn’t account for the myriad of other services that trees offer to the planet. Realistically, trees are priceless to our ecosystem, but if it takes applying dollar amounts for more immediate, tangible effects in order for people to see that planting more trees is a good idea, I’m all for it

Read more:

Stay Away from My Young Ones

This noisy crow has been aggressively protecting his or her brood in one local garden this week.  As the fledglings leave the nest and get their wings in working order the family take turns in making sure they have safe space in which to learn to fly.  Some neighbourhood dogs have been banished to their homes and gardeners try to talk soothingly to the stressed parents.  A few peanuts let them know that most humans will refrain from hurling abuse or stones and that their young are not in danger everywhere!  The ordeal for everyone will be over soon, we hope.

The cause of the ruckus.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Something to crow about in difficult times, by Gerry Warner

Something to crow about in difficult times
Perceptions by Gerry Warner
Time to lighten up a bit. I just don’t have it in my heart today to comment on a world where people are slaughtered in a nightclub just for being themselves and a presidential candidate tries to spin the tragedy for political advantage or where a British politician gets murdered in broad daylight by another crazy with a gun.
What’s the world coming to? Cancel the question. I don’t want to know.
No, I would like to figure out a mystery in my mundane, mostly boring, little life. It happens almost every day when I head outside for my morning constitutional, a short run and several walks up and down the grotty, old wooden staircase by the Rec Plex connecting Upper and Lower Cranbrook where I live.
Apparently my actions greatly disturb the neighborhood crow that perches on a telephone pole aside my route and when the creature sees me coming breaks out into a veritable cacophony of crow cuss words as I try to run by without disturbing him.
But apparently it disturbs him greatly because no sooner have I jogged by his pole then he launches himself like a feathered missile and dive bombs me as I innocently jog by caw-cawing menacing threats at me in crow that I would be embarrassed to repeat here.
No kidding. It’s like a scene out of Hitchcock’s horror flick “The Birds” with this demented, kamikaze crow wheeling and soaring through the air as he zooms down from the heavens missing my head by mere inches. At least it feels that way. Thankfully, the air-borne assault continues for only a few seconds before the agitated avian returns to his lofty perch and waits for me to come back. I then do my circuit up and down the stairs for 20 minutes or so and jog back only to have my tormenter resume his aerial attacks until I’m safely out of sight at home.
At first I tried simply ignoring the grumpy crow, but to no avail. Then I tried the diplomatic approach, stopping in mid-run to talk quietly and soothingly to my winged attacker but that didn’t work either. Now when I run by I just give him the finger to show my disdain for his aerial bullying.
But this got me to thinking. Have I just come up against a deranged crow intent on enforcing its territorial imperative or is the species known for ill-tempered assaults on those that dare to enter their lofty domain? So I did what we all do in the Digital Age. I turned to Uncle Google for enlightenment and I got it in spades. Crows belong to the bird family corvids, which are the most intelligent bird family and are sometimes called “the birds that think like humans” because they can count, make tools (stick hooks) to catch their prey and recognize human facial features. I’ll say. Maybe I’ll try wearing a mask the next time I go out. In fact, crows brain-to-skull size almost tops the animal kingdom ranking right up there with chimpanzees and dolphins. Crows are known for dropping nuts to break the shell and eat the seed and storing food in up to 200 hiding spots and going back to eat the food that spoils first. They also can talk and in one case a pet crow was taught how to vocalize an operatic aria.
So what am I up against? The Einstein of the animal kingdom? It’s spooky.
Crows are emotional animals too, vocalizing anger, happiness and sadness so obviously I’ve done something to piss this crow off. Does he hate my beard? The sweats I wear or is it the green, hunting cap I wear? Maybe it’s my attitude though I bear no grudge against the crow or any other bird for that matter. It’s a frustrating mystery to me but it certainly beats thinking about the latest mass killing down South or Donald Trump.
So maybe I should be grateful for my crow companion. He’s simply dispensing a bit of morning therapy to me and he really knows how to make a guy’s day.

Fun Sam Steele Weekend of Saluting the Boots


Thursday, June 16, 2016

What's Happening......

It is Sam Steele Days Weekend!

To see what is going on and when go to:

Cranbrook Arts
Saddlery and Historical Photos Exhibit
1013, Baker St.

Sunday, June 19th
Father's Day Hike
Ellen and Dan Chase
Meet at Riverside Campground 10:00am

Exciting Announcement at The Cranbrook History Centre

Dr. Bob Gaines
As many local residents are aware, the area around Cranbrook is rich in fossils.  Dr. Bob Gaines drew a large crowd at the Cranbrook History Centre on the evening of Wednesday, June 15.  His lecture revolved around the Cambrian Period fossil discoveries being made in many areas of the Rockies, the Burgess Shale being one of the most famous although not the only one or necessarily the most valuable in terms of more recent scientific discoveries.  Dr. Gaines enlightened us about the exciting new and never before seen fossil discoveries being made in Kootenay Park and within our own Cranbrook area.

All fossil finds are property of the Crown.  However one local paleontologist through an agreement with the Federal Government has contributed a most significant collection to the Cranbrook History Centre.  On Wednesday evening Guy Santucci,  Museum Board Director and coordinator for much of the collaborative work around this donation, announced that Michel Plourde was the generous benefactor. The collection is considered to be so significant that The Cranbrook History Centre has received funding to set up a fossil lab with a coordinator. Many of these fossil finds make their way to The Royal Ontario Museum but it was Mr. Plourde's specific wish that this collection remain in the area from which the fossils originated.

Thank You Michel Plourde!

Guy Santucci, Michel Plourde and partner

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Banff Town's solar program wins prestigious Emerald award for innovation

Posted on: June 10, 2016

Town of Banff’s solar program wins prestigious Emerald award for innovation

The Town of Banff’s Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Production Incentive was recognized June 8 by the Alberta Emerald Foundation at the 25th Annual Emerald Awards, which celebrate outstanding environmental achievements across all sectors in Alberta.
Banff’s program won in the Emerald Challenge: Innovation category, which recognizes individuals or organizations who develop new methods, ideas or products that positively impact the environment, and ground-breaking concepts that will be a catalyst for growth and success.
Banff became the first municipality in Canada last year to offer a production incentive (feed-in tariff) for solar PV systems. Property owners who apply and qualify for the program make the initial investment to install the solar system, then receive a production-based top-up payment over the next seven years.
“This is an incredibly successful program and we’re thrilled to be recognized by the Alberta Emerald Foundation,” said Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen. “Council saw the benefits of investing in a program unique in Canada that would encourage residents to install solar panels on their homes and businesses. As a community, we strive to be an environmental role model and I’m proud of how well this has been received.”
Energy consumption from the grid is Banff’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. In the first year of this program, Banff saw over 100kW of new solar PV systems installed on homes, multi-family units and businesses. With the town’s previously installed solar systems on Town Hall, public washrooms and Banff Community High School, Banff generates 21 watts of solar PV per person, more than 16 times the Alberta average.
“The community really responded to this program and made a big step towards embracing renewable energy,” said Banff’s Environmental Services Coordinator Chad Townsend. “We’re grateful for the recognition of this award, and hope the success of this program encourages other municipalities, or even the province, to look at creating a production incentive for solar power.”
In 2015, 47 applications were received for the Solar PV Production Incentive and 16 properties were selected through a lottery system. The application process has closed for 2016, but the town will begin accepting applications again in early 2017.
For more information about the Town of Banff’s solar program, visit
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Production Incentive