Letters to the Editor: April 9

An open letter concerning the Old Cranbrook Fire Hall

I am writing regarding the current issue surrounding the original Fire Hall and would like to share a couple of observations that I haven’t seen mentioned yet.

First, I’d like to look at this from a business/financial perspective. You must mind our finances very carefully. Certainly it is important for any operation to use any excess inventory to its best advantage. But this is not an unused piece of industrial property or an extra dump truck or a surplus case of paper clips. This is a high profile piece of heritage property that the City has owned for nearly a hundred years.

The few hundred thousand dollars that its sale would generate would go into the giant financial maw of the the City. It might pave a few hundred meters of road, or soften the blow of the annual Recplex deficit or even pay Council wages for a couple of years, but then the Fire Hall would be gone forever. It’s kind of like selling the family jewels to buy cigarettes. Or to pay the Hydro bill. But the Hydro bill comes due again next month and soon there are no jewels left to pawn. Instead, we must find some sustainable way to pay the Hydro bill. Or to buy the smokes.

Secondly, I’d like to refer to the community that you are charged to build and maintain. I found it very interesting that last week, over 500 people attended the Key City Theatre to hear a man recite poetry. To recite poetry, for gawd’s sake. And there were only about a dozen grey heads in the audience. The audience was equally distributed among 15 – 45 year olds. Not as many people as attend a Kootenay Ice game, but a substantial number nevertheless.

And yes, Cranbrook has produced some high level athletes including the Niedermayers, Lukowiches, Jon Klemm, Ben Rutledge and many others in a wide range of disciplines, but we’ve also produced renowned performers such as Brent Carver, Lillix, and the talented young people that make up The Good Ol’ Goats. Also acclaimed visual artists such as ManWoman and Joseph Cross, and up and coming opera singers William Grossman and Caitlin McCaughey. This is a very diverse community in which we live and for whom you must provide.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must point out that I am an Area C resident and that my vote isn’t even available. However, except for my property taxes, I spend all of my money and my energies in exactly the same places as every Cranbrook resident. I have investments in the City and I do everything I can to make it a strong and fulfilling home. I consider Cranbrook my Community.

I would hate to see short term thinking have a negative effect on the long term strength of the community. I ask you to keep building our community.

Terry Miller