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, April 26, 2015

Why We need Creative Spaces, Joel Robison

I’m a proud Canadian, a proud British Columbian, and a proud Cranbrooklyn (that’s the word right?). Spending 28 of my 30 years on this earth in one of the most beautiful corners of the world was certainly a treasure that I’m lucky to look back on and feel quite lucky about.

Growing up in a sports centric community is an interesting place, the revered celebrities of our neighborhoods are the hockey players who moved on to the National level and brought home gleaming trophies, cups, medals and awards. When it wasn’t hockey, then skiing, rowing, swimming, and other sports quickly followed suit in celebration. For those of us not graced with much of an athletic gift, it was quite disheartening to see opportunity after opportunity for sporting activities but few for arts. I applaud our local heroes for their hard work and dedication but wish our Hall of Fame was a bit more diverse.
I enjoyed creating while growing up and filled my middle and high school curriculum with as many of the arts programs as I could fit into my semesters, one of the main reasons for this was because that was the only place I was truly exposed to art in a broader sense. Fortunately I grew up in a family where art was appreciated and I was able to develop my talents just as my brothers were encouraged to develop theirs. In school I learned about incredible artists from around the world, including Cranbrook. But after those school hours ended, so did my exposure to the arts community. I spent as much time in those classrooms as I could because there was nowhere else for me to go. My teachers, many who became colleagues, dedicated their time and energy making sure we were aware of the amazing talents that existed within our valley home.
In the last 5 years I’ve worked at growing my “artist presence”. I began in Cranbrook, taking photographs in the forests by myself. Soon after I was working with other locals, taking photos of events and growing my own portfolio. In passing I would find other artists, but it seemed like we were part of an underground club showing our work in secret. Or in my case, strictly online where my audience lived. By the time I had started to share my work with friends and family I had almost as many “fans” of my photography facebook page as citizens of my hometown, now it’s reaching a quarter of a million.

We have the passion, we have the talent, but right now it’s like bees buzzing around a garden without a beehive. Musicians recognized nationally, artists working with some of the biggest agencies and companies, writers publishing best sellers, they exist as “hometown heroes” but sadly, have no “home” in our city.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Warner's Corner, Selling the Fire Hall Now Would Be a Mistake

Selling the fire hall now would be a mistake
Perceptions by Gerry Warner

“Life is short, but Art is long.”
You know who said that? Hippocrates, the ancient Greek philosopher in one of his celebrated aphorisms uttered more than 2,000 years ago, which goes to show that the artistic sensibility has been part of the human genome for a long time except for some of the genomes currently sitting at the Cranbrook City Council table.
And that’s truly sad.

It’s especially sad because we may lose yet another opportunity to revitalize our fading downtown by converting the city’s historic 1929 fire hall into a combination art gallery and cultural emporium that would be the envy of the Kootenays and put Cranbrook back on the cultural map where it belongs.

This is not an idle dream. The Cranbrook District Arts Council has been working towards this for years. They have raised money, drawn up plans and engaged the community with just under 70 per cent of the community backing their efforts according to a poll in the Cranbrook Townsman this week. Despite this, Mayor Lee Pratt has criticized the proposal from the get-go and indicates he would rather see the historic structure sold off to the private sector and money gained from the sale used to patch pot holes or other similar imaginative attempts to repair the city’s deteriorating infrastructure.

But the mayor is wrong. This not an either/or situation. The City has had potholes for 50 years and will have them for the next 50. That’s the way it is with pot holes. We all know that. What we don’t have is an arts centre befitting our city’s population and stature. But we do have a civic-minded group that’s working their buns off to show how such a facility could be developed in the future if we all get behind it.

We did it with the Studio Stage Door, which an earlier council wanted to turn into a parking lot. Now we regularly enjoy some of the best amateur theatre in the province. Last week we enjoyed an incredible concert featuring one of the biggest rock bands of the 60’s. Why? Because the council of the day had the foresight to partner with the school district to build the Key City Theatre and I feel sorry for you if you missed Eric Burdon and the Animals. Two years ago, our little burg drew Bob Dylan to town for a sold out concert of more than 4,000. Why? Because another earlier council dreamed big and fought a difficult referendum campaign to build Western Financial Place which continues to draw big acts from country music stars to monster trucks.

Those earlier politicians had their critics too, but they showed imagination, vision and leadership and today Cranbrook is a better place for it.

So what now? A motion to sell the fire hall to the private sector has already been pulled from the agenda at the last minute indicating uncertainty in council chambers over the controversial sale. Two councillors have criticized the sale and one recused himself from the table when the issue came up at a recent meeting of CBT’s Community Initiatives Committee, indicating more uncertainty and concern. The public is being left in the dark while rumours swirl. And what’s the hurry to sell one of the few heritage buildings the City has left when so many are against the sale and you have an enthusiastic volunteer group waiting in the wings to repurpose the building into a cultural asset that will boost the city’s image and attract more people downtown and more business. But for this to happen, vision and leadership is needed at the council table and normally that comes from the chief executive – the mayor – with council following suit.

Therefore Mayor Pratt, as a former councillor myself, I respectfully ask you to reconsider your position on selling the City’s heritage fire hall. If you sell it you’ll be doing nothing more than selling the City’s silverware. But if you give the arts council a chance to show what they can do, you’ll indeed be a mayor of vision and leadership.
It’s up to you. And if the arts council fails, the failure will be on their hands, not yours.

 Gerry Warner is a former councillor and retired journalist.

Friday, April 24, 2015

What's Happening.....

Saturday April 25th

Raised Bed Workshop
with Luke Kimmel
Cranbrook Public produce garden

Cranbrook Farmer's Market
Ktunaxa Building Gym
10:00am - 1:00pm

Randy the Gypsy Musician
Brandon Blackmore
Cranbrook and District Arts Council Gallery
135, Tenth Av S.
1:00pm - 2:00pm
Admission by donation

Locals Coffee House

Studio Stage Door, 7:30pm
Tickets Lotus Books (maybe sold out)
Tom Bungay, Ian Jones, Carter Gulseth,
Shauna and megan Plan and the Rosie Brown Band

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Fate of Fire Hall No 1 Continues in Jeopardy

The black cloud of uncertainty hangs over taxpayers like an ominous drone that refuses to leave.
Fire Hall #1 July 2010

In 2010 Fire Hall # 1 was still loved and cared for.  The flowers baskets hung at the front much as they always did in summer. The Fire Hall was always known for its flower displays and the Fire Department took pride in this tradition.

But what now?  Many Cranbrook residents are bewildered by this fierce notion on the part of some members of Council to sell the building.  Why, when CDAC's project has been supported by the Federal Government, Columbia Basin Trust, the City's Official Community Plan and a $50,000 study that the City paid for, is this project facing being tossed aside in favour of private ownership? 

An adjudicating Councillor who recused himself from the public presentations of the Community Initiative Application process was recently and reliably reported to have told a support letter writer in the week of April 1st. that the reason he did that would be known in two weeks.  Really?

Why, when Cranbrook lags behind so many communities who have had municipally owned Art Galleries for years is this 'sell' option so favoured?  

Most BC Communities value and promote the arts by owning buildings, frequently historic or heritage, to showcase the visual arts.   Kimberley has Centre 64.  Fernie has the Arts Station. Invermere has Pynelogs.  Nelson, Revelstoke and Salmon Arm all, for example, own buildings specifically for the Visual Arts.  Nelson alone, a community much smaller than Cranbrook owns the buildings which house the Capitol Theatre, the Civic Theatre, Kootenay School of the Arts and Touchstones Museum. These communities take pride in their artists, their work and skills.  In return these communities gain balance becoming attractive to all. 

Why, when previous Councils spent years buying back properties to acquire a contiguous piece of City owned property in the downtown, would this Council wish a sell off a piece supporting one of the City's few remaining heritage buildings?

There is no guarantee that in private hands this building will maintain its unique floor plan, its integrity or even remain.  

Why, when the Cities financial affairs are in stable order and there is no desperate need for $350,000 an amount that wouldn't even deal with half a city block, is there such a fervent desire to get rid of this fabulous city asset?

Wicked Gardening Beds

Community Gardening

Messages from Shannon

A reminder about our exciting workshop coming up this weekend: Luke Kimmel's Wicked Raised Beds. This workshop will give you hand's on experience building a wicking bed and we'll use re-purposed freezers. This technique could, however, be replicated with a number of different materials. The beauty of the wicking bed design is the lower maintenance - in the heat of summer, it turns daily watering duty to once a week. Think of all the spare time that you can dedicate to other things :)

The Workshop is 10-4 this Saturday, April 25 at the Public Produce Garden.
Cost is $45 and includes in-depth hand-outs. Volunteer bursaries are also available if cost is a barrier. Please be in touch with me if you are interested in that option.
A poster and diagram that does a good job explaining the idea of a wicking bed attached.

Registration and more info:

Luke's website:

The Garden is coming alive quickly and looks great already! Stop by and have a wander through if you haven't made it yet. A few things we're looking for this year if you happen to have extras:
- seeds! (pretty much anything that you have in excess)
- perennial herb transplants for the herb spiral (anything you have that could use dividing: we already have a lot of oregano and chives)
- asparagus starts (if you happen to have a huge patch :)
- seedlings (any excess you have as the season goes on - as always, the Garden is happy to take)

You can expect to see a few improvements over the next month, thanks to funding from CBT Community Inititatives (many of which you are welcome to be involved in realizing):
- compost bin transferred and moved along fence
- 2 new gates installed (1 beside playground, 1 beside apartment building)
- shade cloth installed on pergola
- new 'end tables' under pergola
- reinforcement of gravel walkway and edging to slow grass encroachment
- disabled parking sign installed by City directly in front of gate

Sophie will be taking over for me completely at the end of the month and she will keep you up to date on all organized Garden events, including group work bees. We've already got a row of peas in the ground, strawberries transplanted, a new compost built, and a fresh load of manure to top up our garden beds. Thanks to the Boys and Girls Club, KEY program and Leigh Cormier's grade 10 class for accomplishing all that!

Feel free to get in touch with any questions and as always offer up ideas or feedback on what you'd like to see happening at the Garden.

Hope to see you there soon :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Protect Our Fresh Water

"All it takes is one mussel on one boat."
That's the message Brynne Morrice, a filmmaker who splits his time between New York and Vernon, B.C., has packed into this six minute film about the threat of zebra and quagga mussels to British Columbian lakes. Morrice speaks to scientists, political leaders and residents about what havoc the invasive species could wreak on B.C.'s freshwater.

Monday, April 20, 2015

City of Nelson Unveils Latest Sculptures

A Musing from Michael

 "Number please?" from cheery voice of telephone operator soon as obsolete as land line phones
 By Michael J Morris
 When I was a kid growing up in a relatively isolated community in Northern Ontario in the 1940s, we didn't even have a telephone in the house. 
 Then the local telephone company added more lines and we got a party line with another home, and by picking up the phone i heard the cheery voice of the telephone operator ask, "Number please?"
 Soon thereafter, we got our own number which I still recall was 188, and during the 1960s when i was away from home at university and working as a newspaper reporter, operator assisted local calls were still in effect. In fact, 
 I recall phoning the Chapleau operator late at night from wherever I was, and catching up on the local news. The operators knew everything and everybody.
For example, if I was calling Butch at home, the operator may say, "He is not there, He's at the Boston. He just called Roger from there."
 Rotary dial phones and the beginning of the end for operator assisted calls, came to my small community about the end of the 1960s 
 In 2015, the "land line phone" as they came to be called in recent years may soon be obsolete.
 According to an article by Tamara Gignac in the Calgary Herald long time ago on December 27, 2013, "Land line phones — once deemed essential — are increasingly becoming irrelevant as younger users rely on cellphones or technologies such as Skype to communicate." 
 Just try and find a landline phone in the Calgary International Airport for example, and for years I had trouble calling my buddy to tell him where I was in Orlando International Airport. But, progressive city that it is, they now have converted former pay phones into  complimentary one for local calls.
 I use Skype, Facebook, Twitter and email to communicate and still have a land line phone, but I also have a new cell phone.  I primarily text on it, and when I'm having coffee in a restaurant, place it on the table just to show I am "with it" like everyone else in the place.
 Gignac quoted Tom Keenan, a professor in the University of Calgary's faculty of environmental design that In some ways, the 'classic land line' is already following in the footsteps of the rotary dial.
 Professor Keenan predicts: “In the future, as phones merge with wristbands and smart watches, the land line will become a curiosity and houses will be built without them..."
In 2015 I am celebrating 21 years since I taught my first Writing for New Media course at College of the Rockies.My first fearless prediction was that the only constant in society was change -- and trust me on this one, I had a tough audience. Most of my students in that first class were college instructors, elementary and secondary school teachers and a smattering of college students.
 The majority would not even agree that email would come into common use. And that's fact. I had business cards printed with my email on it. Only problem was, I had nobody to email.
 Gignac also quoted Jim Carroll,  a trends and innovation expert: “We live in a world where technology enters our life, becomes a part of our life and then, boom, it’s gone."
 These days I have been reflecting on "Living in Michael's World", the title of a presentation that a colleague made to COTR New Media Communications students circa 1997 about my fearless predictions for the future. Stay tuned, and please feel free to share your thoughts with me. My email is
 I may even share my new phone number with you so we can text each other.