Jeremy Youngward, at Retro Sound and Collectibles in downtown Cranbrook, has announced his intention to run for Cranbrook City Council in the upcoming municipal elections. (Barry Coulter photo)

Jeremy Youngward, at Retro Sound and Collectibles in downtown Cranbrook, has announced his intention to run for Cranbrook City Council in the upcoming municipal elections. (Barry Coulter photo)

Youngward to seek seat on Cranbrook Council

Downtown business owner believes too many opportunities for city growth being missed

Jeremy Youngward has announced his intention to run for Cranbrook City Council in the upcoming municipal elections, set for October 15, 2022.

“I have been mulling this for a couple of elections,” Youngward told the Townsman. “The last one [2018] was the first one I was seriously thinking about it, but the timing wasn’t there.”

But the time is right this time, Youngward said.

Youngward, who runs Retro Sound and Collectibles in Downtown Cranbrook, said he and his family to Cranbrook from Edmonton to take advantage of the opportunities that a smaller community offers.

“We liked the idea of being in a smaller community, and it was an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up, to run Kootenay Country Inn.”

Youngward immediately noticed the difference between politics in a smaller community compared to a big city, appreciating the approachability of local mayors and councillors. “Politics done a little bit differently.”

But in his involvement with civic life and through his observations of City Council at work, Youngward felt things could be done differently, and more efficiently.

“All this time I’m watching and I’m seeing some opportunities that are getting missed,” he said. “Some under the radar, some not. Opportunities to bring back money into the community, money that had gone down Highway 3, either to Victoria or to Ottawa. Opportunities to grow the community into something that both visitors and residents would be able to say ‘that’s what Cranbrook is about.’”

Youngward said that nothing was stopping the City taking advantage of these opportunities, except a will to take advantage of them.

“Unfortunately, in other instances, a little inside politics got in the way. I’m afraid we have developed a reputation of not getting along very well, with both the people in Victoria or the people in Ottawa. And I don’t find that particularly useful, because we do send a lot of money to these places, simply because of the way municipalities are built, the statutes they operate under — any of that money we get back is worth it.”

Youngward said that what is key is increasing the city growth rate.

“Someone once said, all politics, like history, is demographics. The fact that we’ve only managed to increase our population 450 people in the last five years is why we’ve had to raise our taxes a point each year just to pay for the asphalt. Until we can solve the problem of how we can bring more people in to call Cranbrook home, how we solve the rest of the problems is moot.

“Because you will never not come up against the fact that the city in a head-count point of view has not been growing.”

“If you want to look at my philosophy, I want the city to grow. I want it to grow in people, in activities, in businesses, and things that make tourists can’t help but come here. And for it to grow into its nickname of the Key City.”

Youngward also believes it’s time for a long-term view of dealing with the issues the City is facing.

“We have 20-year problems,” he said. “We have problems that are going to be solved over the next 20, 25 years. We need the people who are just out of school and are looking for a career and the first home [to get involved with civic life]. It’s time to have the people who are looking for the better opportunities for people.

“And I’m hoping to offer a better opportunity for people.”