“It’s sad.,” That’s the message I would like to convey as we wrap up our local organization called SADD here in Cranbrook and the East Kootenay. The Society Against Distracted Drivers (SADD) was founded on the same premise of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
It was fledgling organization’s goal to build awareness of the increasing danger and hazard distracted driving presents, and combat the almost total disregard for distracted driving laws in our community and throughout the province with education and awareness. MADD, on one hand, raises millions of dollars to create awareness – locally SADD struggled to raise enough funds to operate and sustain a small grassroots organization. For example, the City of Cranbrook funded two RCMP traffic control officers but didn’t offer any financial support to SADD.
This local newspaper regularly publishes crime statistics including impaired drivers, collisions, domestic assaults, break and enters but never lists distracted driver charges. Why exclude one of the most widespread and damaging activities in the community — the continued irresponsible use of cell phones (calling and texting) while driving.
Impaired driving deaths were up in 2017 to 65 – a 22 per cent increase while distracted driving deaths were at 78 – up 28 per cent in the same timeframe. While drinking and driving continues to dominant the headlines the equally devastating distracted driving issues get little or no press.
While everyone, including ICBC, said SADD which was set up to combat distracted driving, was important and a good idea – very few, if any, corporations, businesses or even ICBC stepped forward to support the initiative financially. In fact, as unbelievable as it may sound, SADD could not even generate enough support to pay an executive assistant, someone who literally spent hours and hours sending out over 250 donations requests which resulted in zero contributions.
It’s sad to see such an important issue like distracted driving being ignored, swept under the rug, by our community, corporations, municipalities and provincial insurance provider. It is also a sad end to our non-profit SADD — we thought we might make difference and ultimately educate the public on the real dangers of distracted driving. Remember, the next victim of a distracted driver may be you or one of your loved ones.
Brian Kostiuk, co-founder/Society Against Distracted Driving (SADD)
PS: If some group or individual(s) would like to take over the SADD organization and try to get this important message out to the general public about the dangers of distracted driving please contact me at email@example.com.
Taxpayers should be thankful
As a Cranbrook City Councillor for eight years, I think Cranbrook is lucky to have Mayor Lee Pratt and CEO David Kim. Let me explain why.
• Roads: Remember five years ago, we were the pothole capital of British Columbia. It was the number one topic in every coffee shop. Today, with the road program in place and improvements made, roads are no longer talked about.
• 2nd Street: The original estimate given to the previous council with two roundabouts and sidewalks as was done on 10th Avenue was $10 million. Tendering was changed to eliminate roundabouts, wider sidewalks, and to allow local contractors to tender. Local contractors completed the job for just over $6 million. A huge savings.
• Idlewild Park: Previous council were advised that the dam at Idlewild was unsafe and a disaster was waiting to happen. With grants from both eh Provincial and Federal governments, along with a contribution from the Regional District, the dam was completely rebuilt along the park. It cost the City of Cranbrook nothing.
• Tembec Property: Purchased by the City for $3 million. Appraised value $9 million. the City has three years to pay with no interest. Two buildings were empty for over 10 years. Since acquisition, buildings are now leased. Companies leaving this property created created over 40 full-time jobs. Other businesses are interested in leasing the remaining property. Proposals are being considered. Yearly income from this acquisition is enormous, and the City will receive yearly lease payments.
• Building Permits: Have increased 160 per cent from 2015 to 2018.
• Rec Plex (Western Financial Place): Outside engineering firm recommended replacing roof as leakage was apparent. The original estimate to do job was $3 million. Present CEO and staff did due diligence. They discovered the condensation was the problem, but found other original construction problems that have to be dealt with.
Taxpayers should give a big thank you.
Reflections on health care
After and painful and frustrating week I have had time to reflect on our Health Care System at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital.
I, along with many others, waited in line with much discomfort at the emergency department. Once I finally got service, the folks at the ER triage unit were very professional, compassionate and hard working. This group of professionals is not to blame for the long waits.
The many ambulances coming in also added to the long wait times.
We get frustrated, but it is not the fault of the people working there.
Our government has to come up with a better health care system. More people should be fired, a bigger facility is needed to service this region, and more money has to be put into health care. The problem should be addressed immediately, because the situation will only escalate.
I would also like to thank the Kimberley Medical Clinic for diagnosing my problem initially and sending me to Emergency in Cranbrook.