Letters to the Editor: September 24

Fabulous Fondo; Kimberley Haven; Debate Questions; Coaches Month; Mill Closure

Fabulous Fondo

I just want to send out a big thank you to all the Fondo Force volunteers, sponsors and organizers of the Kootenay Gran Fondo. That was one of the best events I’ve ever participated in. Everyone from the registration to the finish line was fantastic.

The hill at Fort Steele was a killer but the volunteer on the dirt bike who checked to see if I was still moving gave me encouragement to make it to the summit (yes, it felt like a mountain!).

The lunch in the St. Eugene Pavilion was a surprise to all the riders. Seriously — who has ever enjoyed such a delicious lunch after a race where chandeliers dangle from the ceiling?

I’m looking forward to next years race but will stay two days — the Wine and Cheese Social looks like the perfect reward after a long ride.

Thanks Cranbook! Pat yourself on the back.

Joanne Elves/Calgary

Kimberley Haven

Returning from a week away, I learned in transit of a dear neighbour in police custody after a long standoff — and that his name is out on the ‘grapevine’.

By all accounts, RCMP handled a drawn-out ordeal with care and expert pacing. They and our Daily Bulletin are to be commended for reporting the story with such discretion.

Many crisis survivors, including me, know Kimberley as an unbeatable place for recovery and revival. This man has endured, and still faces, some very severe pressures and concerns. A newer resident here, he is widely loved and admired, with friends and relatives ready to stand by him through it all. As it is for so many, let Kimberley be his haven for rest and re-charging.

Arne Sahlen/Kimberley

Debate Questions

With no explanation, the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce has changed the venue for the federal candidates’ forum from the 517 seat McKim auditorium to the much smaller,128 seat theatre at Centre 64. This decision undermines the ability of the electorate to participate in the democratic process by severely limiting the number of people in attendance.

While the Chamber has extended an invitation to the public to submit questions to the candidates, those questions must be pre-approved. Pre-approved by whom? The Kimberley Chamber of Commerce? A particular candidate?Chambers of Commerce hosting forums in this riding are far from being the impartial, neutral facilitators they would have the public believe. In fact they are taking a very active role in framing not only the political forums but the focus of the election itself.

A case in point is the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce’s 4 page “Voice of Business” insert in Thursdays’ edition of the Townsman/Bulletin, which has run several times during the election. The insert describes the Chamber as being actively engaged in the federal election and outlines areas of the economy that are important to them, yet the “Voice of Business” carefully reminds us that they are an apolitical organization. Really?

How is it that an organization with a clear political agenda, one of business and the economy, (yet claims to be apolitical and neutral), be allowed to host political candidate forums? Will the questions asked during the forums reflect Chamber priorities or will they comprise a much more diverse spectrum of topics, as they should?

Just in case my question is not pre-approved (again) by the Chamber, I respectfully submit it here:

“What is each candidates’ position regarding the Conservatives’ plan to eliminate Door to Door Mail delivery in Kimberley, Cranbrook and Nelson and eliminate 6000 to 8000 well paying jobs across Canada?”

Brent Bush, President, Cranbrook Local 728, Canadian Union of Postal Workers

It’s Coaches Month

We in Cranbrook cannot say enough about the coaches in our community. There is not a week goes by without our children young and old competing and bringing home medals and winning tournaments. All of us are so proud of these great athletes we have, but we can’t say enough about the coaches who give their time and talents to make it all possible.

Thank you, coaches of Cranbrook and district!

Gloria Pickering/Cranbrook

Mill Closure

Being a former employee of Crestbrook Forest Ind. Ltd. turned Tembec Forest Products, and later Canfor, it is a huge shock to see the closing of the Canal Flats Sawmill/Planer mill.

Through all the years and all the problems CFI and latter Tembec faced, they always managed to keep operating. In all those years both former companies spent millions to upgrade and modernize both the planner and sawmills, to make sure they were always viable.

Some years yes, it was tough but they always managed to fight off that “final blow”.

For me there were issue’ I wondered about when Tembec took over, but that was their ultimate decision and they had to live with it. When they announced they had sold the mill, they were again having problems and everyone thought Canfor was the big rescue and were going to save the day. (same thoughts when Tembec took over). Myself, already retired, I didn’t really worry about it but something just didn’t sit right with me.

Canfor also owns the Radium sawmill, and they had been shut down “indefinitely” for a very long time. Canfor readily admitted it was because of taking over from Tembec that they would be able to restart the Radium mill.

With the forestry laws changed, allowing companies the freedom to NOT be operating in an area they get their timber supply from, Canfor was now in a position to get the former Tembec timber supplies to open the Radium mill, which is just what they did.

Then the sudden cutbacks in the Flats, yet Radium kept running. After all, Canfor has no real ties with Canal Flats, not like they do in Radium. Then just a few short months later, the same song of poor timber supplies, low prices for the lumber, the economic downturn, no more so I think than in the past, and bang, the Flats is out and gone.

One thing Tembec had always told us was that if and when push came to shove, even though Canal Flats was farther from the US border, where our lumber went to, Elko would shut down first. That gave an indication of how modern and efficient the Canal mill was.

From where the timber is coming from, it is a whole lot further from the bush to the Radium mill than it is to the Canal mill. The Canal mill, from everything we had ever been told, was much more modern than almost every mill around, so why all of a sudden is it cheaper to truck to Radium, driving past the Flats?

Now, maybe there is something that hasn’t been spelled out here but to me, Canal Flats has been given the “old bum’s rush.” Once again, just a little bit more of our valley’s history gone and to be soon forgotten.

Tom Haverko/Cranbrook

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