Randy Tapp running for Cranbrook City Council

Barry Coulter

A long-time resident of Cranbrook, well known for his involvement in dance, theatre, music and the arts, has come forward seeking a spot on City Council.

Randy Tapp also has had first-hand experience as a business owner in Cranbrook, and has held public office as a Regional District of East Kootenay director for Area E for 10 years back in the 1990s.

“I’ve been a long time resident of Cranbrook and devoted to this community,” Tapp said in an interview with the Townsman.

“This includes 17 years of running a weekly drop-in dance event, and more recently as a founding member of Summer Sounds and Dancing in the Park, which has evolved into Fisher Peak Performing Artists Society.”

He said he has been thinking about this Council run for a long time, “ever since I’ve been on the Regional District board. And in the meantime, I’ve been a tireless volunteer for the community — from charities to social groups, to arts and recreation, theatre. It’s great to see so many well-meaning people in town wanting to do the best they can.”

Tapp sees “some really good changes happening with Cranbrook. And I want to make sure that we’re forward thinking with those changes so that we become the community that we want to live and do business in.

“Past history would show that development hasn’t always been planned well, so we’ve become quite fragmented. I’d like to see some changes happening — and they’re already starting to happen, with new restaurants in the downtown core, for example — more forward thinking in how we develop our city so that it enhances our lifestyle and the businesses that are here, and encourages more people to move here.”

Tapp has concerns with the number of vacant buildings, derelict buildings and vacant lots in town.

“We should make some directed movement to encouraging the types of businesses we want in those areas. This can only be of benefit to everybody in that it improves visiblity. It makes the place seem more vibrant, and it becomes more vibrant.”

As well besides consolidating and improving neighborhoods and business areas, this would improve things like public safety, Tapp said.

“I’d like to address the model of community policing — giving us more officers in town at a lesser cost. That can only be good for the community.

“I’d like to address social issues across the board — not just the homeless, not just the visible problems we have, but those issues involving all people in town, to enhance their feelings of safety and security.

As a Councillor, Tapp would encourage the involvement of all people in all major decisions, rather than the closed door decisions. “This can avoid a lot of quick decisions made on things that don’t necessarily turn out to the betterment of the community,” he said, citing the examples of the placement of the proposed indoor sports facility, and use of the recently purchased Tembec lands, that should require more public input.

“These things should be open and transparent.”

Tapp listed numerous art and culture groups that are burgeoning. “It would be great to nurture and help develop the progress,” he said. “I’ve been here there and everywhere and been involved in all of those things.

“If you have a dream, and are patient and work at it, you go from something small to something that’s significant. Like [Dancing in the Park] — it grew a little bit each year over the past 10 years, and finally became too big for two people to handle, so the Fisher Peak Performing Arts Society was born.”

Tapp said a lot of inspiration for his community involvement comes from his father’s example.

“He said ‘If you live in a community, you need to put something into it.’ And I really took that to heart.”

“I plan on attending different groups with my ears open, to find out what’s really happening, what people really want, and I will work really hard for the people.

“I love this city, and I love what’s happening. I want to be forward thinking, fix something of the mistakes of the past, clean up some of the things that should be cleaned up, and enhance the feelings of comfort, safety and joy of the people that live and work here.”

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