Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Cranbrook politicians need to work together on 'big ideas' to improve city's infrastructure

by Michael J Morris
The federal election is over, and sooner rather than later I hope, Cranbrook city council will come up with 10 big ideas to fix the community's infrastructure and be ready when Justin Trudeau announces details of the infrastructure program he promised.

But before so doing, Mayor Lee Pratt and his council will need to accept the reality that Canadians elected a majority Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau. However, in Kootenay-Columbia, voters bounced David Wilks, the Conservative MP in the last Parliament, and replaced him with Wayne Stetski, of the  NDP.

Stetski, who was mayor of Cranbrook but defeated by Pratt in the last election, is now the city's voice in the new Parliament, but will be a rookie MP in the House of Commons with a steep learning curve. The NDP is also the third party in terms of members.

I would suggest that as the political times are new, all involved put aside any differences they may have, meet and get on with co-operating for the improvement of the community. Focus totally on the things bringing them together -- a better place to live, work and play -- rather than those things dividing them.

It was the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll who aroused me to comment singing "I'm late / I'm late / For a very important date. / No time to say "Hello, Goodbye". / I'm late, I'm late, I'm late."

I really don't want Cranbrook to be late for a very important date with the new government of Canada in submitting projects to improve the city.

On to 10 Big Ideas for Cranbrook. I suggest that a public consultation process be undertaken to assist in deciding the infrastructure program.

For example, a year or so ago, the Toronto Star started by asking its readers to provide 35 big ideas that would help the city became a better place for all citizens to live, work and play, and then whittled them down to the top 25. The next stage was to select the Top Ten, and hopefully city council would  act on them.

I know. I know. My example is from Toronto not the most popular city in these parts.

Wow. I must have been here a long time When I arrived here over 26 years ago, I was very careful about mentioning in the faculty lounge at College of the Rockies, then East Kootenay Community College, that I was from Ontario, never mind that I had attended school and worked in Toronto. And yes, I have written articles for the Toronto Star in the interests of full disclosure.

Anyway, I digress as usual. How about asking citizens for Big Ideas to make Cranbrook a better place to live, work and play. I have not come up with a plan to sort them all out, but that can be decided later if necessary. 

I am really just blue skying an idea.  It will have served a useful purpose. It will help establish common ground on issues that bring the community together rather than divide it. 

Let me return to Alice in Wonderland and the Walrus: "The time has come, my little friends, to talk of other things / Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings / And why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings / Calloo, Callay, come run away / With the cabbages and kings."

You figure out the metaphor(s). Thanks so much for 26 years in Cranbrook. I wish you all the very best.

 My email is mj.morris@live.ca

1 comment:

  1. Michael, the City went through a process like this when I was a councillor and I agree this might be an ideal time to do it again now that Trudeau is prime minister and has promise to spend more on infrastructure. In fact, the out going Conservative govt. had a fund like this too, but it was extremely slow in being rolled out.

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