Letters to the Editor: April 7

Bill C-51;Cranbrook Fire Hall; Paint the Train project; FA-2 4090 and FB-2 4469

Bill C-51

The Don McCormick I know wouldn’t stand for the following:

The government’s secret police Bill C-51 is reckless, dangerous, and ineffective.

The bill is reckless because it turns CSIS into a ‘secret police’ force with little oversight or accountability.

The bill is dangerous because it opens the door for violations of our Charter Rights including censorship of free expression online.

The bill is ineffective because it will lead to dragnet surveillance and information sharing on innocent Canadians that even Stephen Harper has admitted is ineffective.

To make matters worse the government is trying to push this law through parliament in record time.

The fact is, Stephen Harper’s Secret Police Bill C-51 will harm our democracy by putting law-abiding Canadians under the government’s microscope.

If the bill passes, your sensitive private information would be shared between no fewer than 17 government agencies and even handed to foreign governments. This includes sensitive information that can reveal everything from your financial status, to your medical history, your sexual orientation, and even your religious and political beliefs.

Victims of these privacy breaches wouldn’t even be informed — that means the government could spy on anyone, at anytime, and we wouldn’t even know when we’ve been a victim.

Do we really want the government to create a shadowy and unaccountable secret police force that will trample on innocent citizens’ freedoms?

These new spying powers are highly unpopular: 71 per cent of Canadians don’t want to trade their privacy rights to give spy agencies more power. Over 80,000 people have already spoken out.

I encourage Canadians to learn more about how we can work together to stop Secret Police Bill C-51 at: StopC51.ca

Dean Mack/Kimberley

Cranbrook Fire Hall

Dear Mayor and Council,

I write to you in support of the Cranbrook and District Arts Council’s endeavour to repurpose the former Cranbrook Fire Hall as a gallery, workshop and meeting place. As such, I stand beside the Arts Council in opposing the sale of the Fire Hall.

An avid and frequent traveller, I judge the quality of a city by its cultural heartbeat. Art galleries, museums, theatres and open spaces such as parks and courtyards are the signposts of that heartbeat. Cranbrook is fortunate to house many fine and talented artists, but without a viable space to gather, learn and present work, growth of that talent is at stake. The downtown core of any city is where travellers expect to find artistic hubs. The heritage, aesthetic and location of the Cranbrook Fire Hall makes it the ideal choice for such a centre and offers an obvious magnet for commerce such as restaurants, pubs, coffee shops and local shopping.

As a long-time arts educator and parent of two school-aged children, I am passionate about the positive and necessary impact that a vibrant arts scene has on children and families. Cranbrook needs the Fire Hall as an arts space to help its children and youth carve an identity for themselves with not only art to surround them, but a place to belong.

It’s been said that the marker of a dying civilization is the erosion of its culture. The acquisition of the Fire Hall for the CDAC is a critical step in making Cranbrook a great city. Please see that it happens.

Thank you for you consideration of this important matter.

Mary Hamilton/Cranbrook

Cranbrook Fire hall

Our Cranbrook “Group of Seven” is beginning to paint a grim picture of the future of our Fire Hall #1. In recent Council meetings it would seem that some of our present Council, and city staff, are firmly committed to sell this building. It appears the time is now for Cranbrook citizens to become involved in this momentous decision in determining the fate of OUR heritage building.

In 1929 the new Council, under the leadership of Mayor Roberts, broached the subject of the need for a new fire hall. By early March Council had decided to draw up a by-law to raise $31,000, by the sale of debentures, to build the fire hall and to submit the question to the ratepayers for their approval.

Complete details of the By-Law No. 388 were printed in the March 14 Cranbrook Courier. Cranbrook citizens were given the opportunity to vote, by ballot, to accept this By-law on March 25. The vote carried with a resounding 90 per cent in favour of borrowing the funds. Cranbrook could now have a fire hall worthy of the growing community. Council enjoyed the confidence of the ratepayers.

The design was by City Superintendent Philpot and the City Works Department, plans drawn up by Colborne, a Cranbrook businessman, and local builder Jones won the construction bid using locally processed lumber and Cranbrook bricks.

The Cranbrook Courier of November 11, 1929 proudly displayed a photo of the new fire hall labelling it “The Lasting Structure”. Since then the paper frequently reported on Cranbrook’s fire hall, the firemen, and their adjoining gardens. It became a place people were encouraged to visit. Through the ensuing years Councils had the foresight to purchase the properties belonging to MacPherson’s Funeral Home, the Baptist Church, the Knights of Pythias building, the Masonic Hall and a small home that was preventing the City owning a continuous frontage on 11th Avenue.  How fortunate our City Fathers of the day had this foresight as it allowed our City Hall to be expanded, a small park to be developed, parking for the firemen and lots on which to build our Police Station. In 1986 the Fire Hall gained the protection of Heritage Designation.

So now the time appears to have come for our present City Council to decide what should happen to our building.  I have not heard any mention of coming back to the public for our thoughts on this. The citizens of Cranbrook voted to borrow the money to build our civic building. Even if the present Council does not legally have to reengage the public, and gain its input, surely our present Council must morally feel that it’s the right thing to do?

So please Council, don’t be too ready to break up the area of OUR city-owned properties or to dispose of one of OUR few taxpayer-owned heritage buildings.

Dave Humphrey/Cranbrook

Paint the Train project

It was so nice to see the article by Dan Schellenberg (and great colour photo) in the April 2 Daily Townsman about the CP Rail locomotive Paint the Train Project. Especially nice to see specific mention of who deserves the credit which allowed me to write the following Letter to the Editor for your consideration.

Congratulations to Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary, Kim Wasylowich of Riemann Painting and all the volunteers who worked on the painting of the CP Rail locomotive.

After moving to Cranbrook 11 years ago I often wondered when the project would be completed, from what era the locomotive hailed and what would be the eventual colours and logo on the locomotive. CP Rail had many different colour schemes and logos for their locomotives over the years. The beautiful paint job and excellent location of the locomotive grab my attention every time I pass that way.

My sincere thanks and congratulations on a great  job.

Allister Pedersen/Cranbrook

FA-2 4090, FB-2 4469

I found Dan Schellenberg’s story on the restoration of the old Locomotive 4090 very interesting. I have always been interested in the local history and how things come about.

I was the lead fabricator and welder through Fabrite Services Ltd. that completed the steel work on this project. I spent approximately 300 hours working on this project, so I am quite familiar with these two locomotives on the inside and out. As Mr. Schellenberger’s article states the Alco FA-2 4090 is a locomotive but the FB-2 4469 is not a passenger coach, it is a locomotive as well.

Tim S. Ross/Cranbrook