Letters to the Editor: April 24

Mule deer on PBS; Taxpayers; Majesta Playground; The Flume; Library Garage Sale

Mule deer on PBS

We appreciate the challenges faced by our Mayor and City Council, as well as the Urban Deer Management Advisory Committee, as they struggle with the issue of the numbers of urban deer in our city. It must often seem to them that there is no solution that would make everyone happy, or at least satisfied. We hope they will continue to seek non-violent solutions.

On April 16, last week, PBS aired a very interesting nature program about mule deer. We hope that many people in Cranbrook, especially our Mayor, City Council, and members of the Deer Management Advisory Committee, happened to view this very informative program. We believe those making decisions regarding our deer should be as well informed as possible about the nature of the animals.

Fortunately, for anyone who missed the opportunity to view this excellent program it can be viewed online at http://video.pbs.org/video/2365224462/. The photography is beautiful as it follows the story of Joe Hutto who devoted seven years of his life to understanding these animals.

Dave and Pat Sindholt/Cranbrook

Taxpayers

Regarding Mayor Stetski’s letter to the editor. You claim to have received many positive comments on the “Welcome to Cranbrook” sign located on the west entrance to the City. I also received many comments — mostly negative, calling it a pile of rocks. Signs should be constructed for minimum maintenance labour costs. That site has 21 high cement planters that alone are costly to maintain for over five months every year. Also, the wording on the Welcome to Cranbrook sign should be dominant and not lost among the rocks.

I attended a brown bag meeting on transit buses and yet I see no changes. It cost us taxpayers $600,000; B.C. transit paid less than $800,000. The next five year financial plan budgeted $627,550 per year. An increase of $27,550 per year!

We vote for the Mayor and Council, and employ administrative engineers and planners. It is their duty to run the City and set priorities. It seems committees are taking over. Mayor Manjak started the committee system to get more information when requested. Now committees are holding meetings and pushing their priorities. Recently, Sharon Cross, chair of the Family Community Services committee,  asked and got permission to hold a meeting even though there was nothing referred by City Council.

The Van Horne, 2nd Street to 14th Avenue South, $9 million development should not proceed!

Why spend money on wider sidewalks, bulged narrower intersections and roundabouts? Narrower intersections like 10th Avenue South and 1st Avenue (the Post Office corner) are nightmares for pick-up trucks, vehicles with trailers and snow plow trucks.

On 14th Avenue from 11th Street South to 15th Street South, there are 11 benches. Each bench cost $2,800 and the cement base cost $3,900. All 11 benches cost $73,700. Only one bench has been used very occasionally. Is the planned 2nd Street South project another waste of money?

Mario Scodellaro/Cranbrook

Majesta Playground

This morning I was inspired when by surprise I sat down to have a conversation with this huge hearted woman who is spearheading the voting for the Majesta Playground Competition to win funds of $20,000 for the Chapman Camp Park — which is 40 years old by the way. It was obvious to me how she truly saw this as a chance for the community to rally. She is a doer, but having a tough time spreading the word. So here I am emblazoned by her overflowing enthusiasm.

I love and truly think we live in the most wonderful town. I feel we have some of the warmest, big hearted and genuine good people. I am so proud of this community. I rave about this when people come into the store and wonder what is happening in this sleepy town, which at first seems so quiet and hidden to many. I always say you just have to look a little further, turn a few pages and let the story start to unfold.

We are out and about playing in the surrounding bounty, gathering with friends and contently absorbed in our passions. Each and every one of us are all an integral part of this town, we are the roots that hold it together. We aren’t flashy and in your face… as the new town slogan states Kimberley is simply “a good place to be.” I personally believe and hear these words regularly from the return visitors and the locals.

Whether you vote or not for the playground please ask yourself why or why not. I am determined to show this newbie to town how lucky she is to live here! The town leading this competition is a town in similar size against schools much larger, but with the whole community rallying to earn the grant.

I am of course rallying behind this because my son goes to the Independent School, because it was the right fit and choice for him. I am still trying to decide which will be the right fit and choice for my daughter. I contemplate this deeply because I think all the schools are fantastic. We have great teachers and programs in each and every one of them. But, regardless of which school is right for you, I honestly think this is something every kid in our community can enjoy.

Dena Belli/Kimberley

The flume

I attended a town hall budget meeting on April 15, and was absolutely shocked when I learned the flume project had skyrocketed from $4.25 million to $6.8 million. This represents a staggering increase of $2.55 million or 60 per cent and the project is only one third plus completed.

In my opinion, Mr. Mayor, you, Council and City Management have lost all credibility when it comes to planning and managing a project of any size and the chance of this project coming in at $6.8 million is highly unlikely, especially if the project has been extended all the way to the bridge near the railway station as per Councillor Hoglund.

Mr. Mayor, your in-house experts plus all your expert consultants performed a Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) study at a cost of approximately $334,000 which I believe was intended to provide certainty around the project design, engineering, construction timelines and costs. It is my understanding this study was done in order that you, Mr. Mayor, Council and City Management, were well informed on the scope and details of the project when the price of up to $4.25 million was established and presented to the community.

Mr. Mayor, just to refresh your memory a bit, following are a couple of your statements concerning the flume project:

(Bulletin January 30, 2012) “As noted in the Bulletin last week, the City has begun the process to receive approval for borrowing up to $4.25 million to replace the aging and failing Mark Creek Flume in Kimberley. It is very important to keep in mind the words ‘up to'”, says Mayor Ron McRae.

(Bulletin March 9, 2012) The bottom line on the flume replacement project is cost. How much will it cost? The total estimated cost is $4.25 million. That includes any private properties the City may have to purchase, replacement of bridges, if needed, and returning the creek to a more natural state. This number contains a 16.34 per cent contingency built into the budget. Mayor Ron McRae said that if the grants failed to materialize, the City would not go ahead with borrowing the full $4.25 million without returning to the electorate.

In summary and based on the above, I believe it is time for City Council to act and bring in the Municipal Auditor General to do a complete and thorough review of this project to determine if taxpayers are getting fair value-for-money spent, and to assess whether the City should instead be directing this money toward some of the dilapidated streets plus our aging water and sewer infrastructure.

Greg McCormick/Kimberley

Library Garage Sale

You know all that stuff that’s been hanging out in your garage (or your attic, basement or house)? We have many reasons for keeping all those items we brought into our houses:

1. I spent good money on that. (As opposed to bad money?)

2. It’s still good. (For what and when?)

3. I might need it someday. (Check your calendar – if you can’t find Someday on it, it’s time for it to go.)

4. It will come back in style. (Sure it will but will you really wear it when it does?)

5. It’s my children’s inheritance. (They would rather have the money.)

6. If I get rid of this gift, I’ll feel guilty. (Once you have given thanks for the gift, it’s yours. Only you get to decide what stays, not your friends.)

Professional organizer Peter Walsh states that if an item is really important to you, it should be kept in a prominent place and honoured for the memories it represents. An item covered in dust in the attic doesn’t quite meet the requirements. Personally, I like decorator and home living expert Christopher Lowell’s quote: “I brought this stuff in and I can take it out.”

I know where you take all this stuff. Bring it down the Cranbrook Public Library Manual Training Centre on Friday, April 25 anytime between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Members of the Friends of the Cranbrook Public Library are ready to accept, sort and price your donations. Then, come on back on Saturday, April 26 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. to see if the treasure you need is at our sale.

The Friends of the Library fundraisers are used to enhance library programs and services. Your donations and purchases are greatly appreciated. Please note that due to space limitations, we are unable to accept large furniture and appliances. See you there.

Michele Wilson/Friends of the Cranbrook Public Library