Cranbrook has an awful lot going for it, Mayor Wayne Stetski pointed out at a Chamber of Commerce gathering on Wednesday, September 25.
“I want to start off by telling you something you already know: The people of Cranbrook are great,” Mayor Stetski told the gathered business people at the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce luncheon at The Heritage Inn on Wednesday.
“They are passionate about the work they do, the people that live here, and about our fine city. That is true whether they are working to make a living, or working as volunteers, both of which are key to having a strong and healthy community.”
Once a year, Cranbrook’s mayor is invited to address the business community on the state of affairs in city hall.
Mayor Stetski preluded his laundry list of city projects, goals and achievements with an ode to the city.
“We are so lucky to live here, in the sunniest city in B.C. We are surrounded by world-class scenery, recreation and wildlife, all great assets that we enjoy everyday and that can be used to build a better and stronger future,” he said.
Cranbrook has a diversified economy, something many B.C. communities cannot boast, the mayor continued.
“We are the regional shopping and service centre for southeast B.C. We have a regional hospital, we are home to College of the Rockies, we have an airport capable of handling international airline traffic and it provides convenient access for people to go to work in the oil and gas industry in northeast B.C. and Alberta.”
Cranbrook’s hotels and motels bring $10 million each year to the economy, which goes up to $25 million when you factor in the money hotel guests spend in the community.
About 500 people in Cranbrook work in the Elk Valley coal mines, and CP Rail, the Skookumchuck pulp mill, Elko and Jaffray mills are also big employers.
Cranbrook’s community of retirees is a benefit to the community, Stetski went on.
“We are a desirable place to retire. A lot of people don’t think about the fact that every senior citizen that moves here not only brings their personal contributions but they also bring their financial resources.”
Provincial and federal government have offices here, and Cranbrook is the home of the Ktunaxa Nation council. And the proximity to agricultural land around the city has helped foster a farmers’ market that brings in $1 million a year.
“When you put all that together, along with the construction industry, the financial institutions, the suppliers and the service providers that support these businesses and our community, there are good economic and lifestyle reasons for Cranbrook’s sustainable growth over the past 108 years,” said Stetski.
He did have a word of caution for those who believe every rumour they hear.
“The people who perpetuate or pass on false information discredits our city as a whole and all of you who are trying to ensure our city has a positive investment climate. That is just not right,” said Stetski.
But Cranbrook has been growing for 108 years, he went on, a sure sign of sucess.
“The number one way our economy grows is through the retention and expansion of existing businesses – your businesses. Your mayor, your councillors, your city staff and your Chamber of Commerce are all working hard to make this city a better place. Together with your help, we can and we will ensure that Cranbrook continues to be a great place to call home,” he concluded.