Winds of change at city hall

A brand new mayor and council are at the helm for the next four years.

The times, they are a-changing.

A brand new mayor and city council were swept into office following the results of the municipal election on Saturday, which is notable for a few reasons.

The most obvious one is the clean slate.

Having grown up in Cranbrook, I can’t recall any municipal election that sent a completely new mayor and council to chambers.

That’s not just a rarity for Cranbrook, but for any kind of election.

I’ll say it again—a completely new mayor and city council will be at the helm.

There are a few caveats; Wes Graham has served three terms on council in Creston, so I’m sure he will be counted on to provide some leadership.

City staff will also run the day-to-day operations until the official hand-over on the Dec. 8 council meeting. There is also some younger representation at the table, which brings and element of freshness, renewal and enthusiasm, and that’s always a good thing.

Congratulations to Lee Pratt for winning the mayoral seat, and congratulations to Wes Graham, Norma Blissett, Tom Shypitka, Danielle Cardozo, Isaac Hockley and Ron Popoff for their election to council.

It takes a lot of courage to put yourself and your ideas up for scrutiny, which often can be scorned and ridiculed in public forums (such as the Letters to the Editor section…). Hats off to all of you for willingness to run and to share your vision of the future for Cranbrook.

To the council candidates who weren’t elected, thank you for running and for giving  residents some options on the ballot—there were 16 choices, which is a record number of candidates for a municipal election in Cranbrook.

That’s a sign of a healthy democracy.

On the flip side of that, a sincere thank-you to incumbents Wayne Stetski, Gerry Warner, Diana J. Scott and Sharon Cross for your service to the city and citizens during your tenures in office.

Working in journalism, I’ve noticed that governing, at any level, is no easy task, so thanks for all your work over the years and for representing Cranbrook well.

It’s the nature of politics and the election cycle—at any time, you could go from being on the inside to being on the outside looking in.

It’s great to see that turnout went up from the last cycle, as 39 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot—an increase of six per cent—but that’s still a little discouraging at the same time.

If I were back in school, 39 per cent would be considered an F.

The referendum question of removing fluoride from the water system was defeated in a relatively close vote. For those who are complaining about the wording, it comes down to reading comprehension.

Here is a paraphrased response to the assent question:

“Yes, I want to cease adding fluoride.”

-or-

“No, I do not want to cease adding fluoride.”

Nice and simple.

I’ve already heard rumblings about someone starting a petition, which is fine—that’s democracy. But if it’s anything on the internet or social media, it won’t be legitimate or officially recognized.

This election seemed to resonate with a lot of people, as a few themes bubbled to the surface in the public forums and on social media.

City budgeting.

Roads and infrastructure.

Economic development.

There was an awful lot of talk about those topics over the course of the campaign but not a lot of specific proposals to address them. But it’s unfair to criticize at this point; the new team hasn’t even sat for one council meeting, so I look forward to watching them get down to business.

Indeed, the times, they are a-changing.

Trevor Crawley is a reporter with the Daily Townsman.