James Elliott was first to declare for Council

Long-time City worker says Council should be following a "grassroots" system.

Earlier this summer, a longtime City of Cranbrook worker announced his intention of seeking a seat on Cranbrook City Council, in the upcoming municipal election this November.

James Elliott worked with the City of Cranbrook for more than 30 years, serving in every department, he said. He currently sits on the City’s Environmental and Utilities Committee. He’s now looking to take that next step, upwards into governance, and was the first to publicly throw his hat into the ring for Council, announcing his intentions in July.

“Since I moved back from the regional district to Cranbrook, it’s come to my attention that there are real major issues,” Elliott told the Townsman back in July. “The direction Council is taking currently is almost backwards.

“Being involved with the City for so many years, I’m aware of the grassroots system we should be following.”

Elliott feels the City of Cranbrook should be more focused on smaller details, on day-to-day details that help the quality of life for Cranbrook’s residents.

Infrastructure, for example. “Has the City looked at resurfacing some of the streets that do not need the infrastructure repaired?” he asked. “Wouldn’t it be practical to have a resurfacing program, do as many blocks as you can without having to dig up infrastructure?

“11th Avenue, for example, has not had to be dug up for a fix for as long as I can remember.

“We all know it has to be done. But the City is looking longterm at some of that areas that don’t have any prior history.”

Elliott feels the cost of maintaining the amount of Cranbrook’s greenspace should be examined. “We’ve got all this greenspace that nobody’s using — Pop Price Park, Pinecrest Park, the Victoria soccer pitches — but we maintain it. And the City’s thinking of creating more greenspace.”

Elliott also has concerns with staffing levels at City Hall, and the procurement of City equipment. “There are too many pickup trucks and not enough snowplows,” he said.

This last is a key point with Elliott. “They’re plowing the arterial streets, but not the side streets or the sidewalks.

“I do a lot of work for seniors, shovelling snow and such. Last winter, I watched an elderly woman get off the sidewalk to walk on the street, because she couldn’t walk on the sidewalk — too much ice. And she fell. That’s when I made my decision (to run for Council). The City has to do the little things, for the quality of life of the people, especially seniors. I hear it every day.”

Elliott is asked what he would bring to the table, if elected to City Council.

“Accountability, period,” he said. “I say straight up, you can’t go make a $20 order with $10 in your pocket. That’s what this Council does over and over. They follow wish lists, not budgets.”

The municipal elections in Cranbrook and British Columbia take place Saturday, November 15, 2014. The Townsman will feature each candidate in this space as that candidate announces he or she is running.