With the municipal election coming up on Nov 15th, Wildsight asked the local candidates for mayor: What is the biggest environmental issue facing our community and what can the City of Kimberley or Cranbrook do about it? The candidates respondes for Kimberley and Cranbrook are below.
Candidates for Mayor
Hands down – its education!!! And I for one am delighted to see green houses in the school yards of every elementary school in Kimberley. And, a regular curriculum that constantly presents environmental studies and presentations by Wildsight resource people. Education is the biggest issue and it is now being addressed in the right fashion to the right age groups. Don’t be wasting money or time on an archaic people like me – trying to get us to change our ways or accept responsibility for our past stupidity. This planet is dying and our only hope or salvation is the children.
I think we need to do more to reduce our carbon footprint. Council has already established a reserve fund for local carbon reduction initiatives, and now with about $90,000 in that fund we can begin to request proposals from interested community groups that will lead to community-wide carbon reduction programs. We also need to continue the city’s existing environment initiatives – controlling noxious weeds, cleaning up ground fuels, and remediating polluted lands (brownfield sites). In the future, we will need to manage the environmental aspects of growth. For example, one of my key economic development strategies is attracting more remote workers. This will put additional pressure on our carbon footprint, the most obvious example being an anticipated increase in traffic between Cranbrook and Kimberley. As mayor, I will ensure that we review our public transportation service and put in place strategies to address any environmental issues.
Climate change is the biggest environmental issue facing Kimberley. A number of years ago an extensive report was done “Adapting to Climate Change in Kimberley”. It identified three priority climate change impact issue areas and the vulnerabilities associated with each issue. The three areas are: the Natural Environment (Water and Forests), the Built Environment (Municipal Infrastructure) and the Socio-Economic Environment (Tourism). Examples of vulnerabilities associated with each impact area include municipal water supply, flooding, wildfire risk under the Natural Environment; risk of slope failure, flooding associated with storm water system, drinking water system under the Built Environment; and ski tourism, golf tourism, festival and events tourism under the Socio-Economic Environment.
Candidates for Council
The biggest environmental issue facing Kimberley continues to be the preservation of Kimberley’s watershed. The City relies upon both Mark and Matthew creeks for our drinking water. We need to continue being vigilant regarding the ecology of the watershed by protecting it from human disturbance such as motorized vehicle traffic (ATV’s). Regardless of how pressing the City’s finances may be, I’m opposed to any run of the river project on either Mark or Matthew Creeks which might be proposed. The City is doing a great job in preserving the integrity of our watershed. If elected to Council I will ensure it remains that way.
Personally I don’t see value in putting anyone environmental issue over another. Each one is significant unto itself and when it come to the environment every detrimental impact should be treated equally. Truly one of the greatest assets we have here in the region is the natural environment and the resources it provides. Water, essentially the key to everything for us is something ive always been mindful of. Natural boundaries should always been protected, and if necessary maintained. Consumption, in addition to mindfulness initiatives should be a priority. Programs to target every generation are a fantastic endeavor and gearing them to a specific age/generation can increase the impact. I love hearing the education my kids receive in school and bring home about environmental stewardship. Promote awareness, monitor/meter consumption and ensure vital resources are secure.
Climate change is the biggest environmental threat facing our community with a range of impacts that include: increased forest fire threat, reduced water supplies, more frequent landslides, intense storms and an unreliable snowpack for skiing. While the primary responsibility for action lies with the Federal government (the Harper Conservatives are doing an abysmal job) Kimberley has incorporated a number of climate change mitigation goals in its Integrated Community Sustainability Plan that work to reduce our energy use and conserve water and resources. We have worked with Cranbrook to explore the potential for regional biomass energy and are constructing the largest solar farm in western Canada. We have opted to start a carbon offset fund with the money that the Province requires us to set aside under the Climate Action Charter and will soon be developing plans to use that money to stimulate investment in carbon reduction in the community.
Water Usage. The city is working with Columbia Basin Trust in regards to water conservation.The city sends managers,supervisors and workers to workshops to learn all they can about water conservation.The city receives a grant from CBT to hire a summer student to help educate the residents about water conservation,there is also information at city hall and on their web site.The city has in place a by-law stating all new construction must have low flow fixtures installed and also encourage them to be installed when doing renovations using the rebate program that is in place.Each year the city does water line replacement with the worst lines being replaced.
A sustainable water supply I believe is the most serious environmental issue we face. We shouldn’t take it for granted, the recent engineering report commissioned by the City of Kimberley reveals much higher than average main breaks, and a generally very ’porous’ system. The report estimated that 15% of the volume treated at the sewage plant comes straight from mains supply without even reaching residents. The report also states that during drought years, ecological flows in Mark Creek may not be able to be maintained, threatening fish and other aquatic life that has painstakingly been re-established post our mining days. Water efficiency must improve as not to threaten the ecology of our natural environment that we so take for granted. Our city needs to prioritize upgrading the infrastructure whilst continuing to promote other water conservation measures.
The biggest environmental issue facing our community would be the changing climate. In the 35 years I have lived in Kimberley, I have seen the weather change significantly, from plenty of spring skiing days, to warm rainy Novembers. This climate change triggers other changes; the pine beetle which is killing our beautiful trees, the abundance of other beetles unbalancing our eco system, high water/ flooding. The City of Kimberley can make it a priority, and we can converse with our community experts while researching for more solutions. We can continue energy efficient programs for wood burning stoves; continue the cutting of pine beetle damaged trees, sparing the healthy trees. Take and use only what we truly need; recycle, reuse, and reduce. Support energy efficient companies first. Continue informing and educating our community. Make the message a priority; a healthy environment is what makes & keeps this area so special.
The biggest issue facing our community is the need to renew our aging infrastructure. Recently City council received a report on our water distribution system. Here is one example: the picture that was painted by the report is that our water distribution system in Lois Creek and in Blarchmont is in very bad shape is leaking and breaking at a very high rate…much higher than the national and international rate. The end result of not keeping up with our infrastructure renewal (as in this example) is that winter drawdown of Mark Creek is above the reccomended drawdown of no more than 25%. All of this is not good news for the Mark Creek ecosystem, and raises questions about what the impact will be further downstream.
I am currently unaware of the position that the City of Kimberley holds in a myriad of environmental issues. That said, I am not in any position at this time to comment on an action that I might take if selected for Council. If chosen, I will enter a steep learning curve to get up to speed and will be better prepared for this discussion at a later date.
There are a number of environmental issues that we need to focus on in Cranbrook – invasive weeds, air quality, smart growth and the health of Joseph Creek. While we need to invest time, energy and potentially dollars on the first three my highest priority is for the city to develop a Management Plan for Joseph Creek that looks at protecting environmental values while providing public access. Joseph Creek is a gem that helps define what makes Cranbrook special. We need to ensure that it continues to be a healthy and vibrant asset for our children and grandchildren to respect and enjoy.
Our waste management treatment system is spewing tons of environmentally bad gasses into the atmosphere every day that contribute to global warming. When the Cranbrook sewage treatment centre was being renovated a few years ago, I found a grant from the David Suzuki foundation, that Cranbrook was eligible for, to make our sewage processing green. I contacted the then mayor and he said we already have enough money, we don’t want any more. The statement struck me as off, for who turns down free money. The only way of making our sewage management clean is to put a lid on it to collect methane gasses, which by the way burn hotter than natural gas, to reduce Cranbrook’s reliance upon natural gas, as well as reduce the cost of heating for many families.
Lee Pratt did not respond to Wildsight’s question.
It has become a reoccurring theme in Cranbrook, that urban deer are an issue. I take a solid stance that I do not believe in the culls that have been occurring. It is unfair to our ecosystem balance, tax payers, and local hunters. I firmly believe that there are alternative methods. I am looking forward to the relocation pilot project as an alternative. I also ask residents to consider what is causing the deer to enter our backyards. Deer rely heavily on indigenous plant populations, such as our grasses and native plants. These green lands have been reproduced in the past by natural wild fires. They were not suffocated by noxious weeds. We now often control fires and have introduced a great number of invasive plant species. A cull of one hundred deer will only be effective until one hundred more arrive. Do you want to keep footing that bill, Cranbrook?
Extreme weather events are causing erosion along Joseph Creek and the resulting storm water runoff is also contaminating the water with foreign and toxic substances. An example was a recent fish kill caused by an unknown substance. The city could embark on an educational program directed towards the protection storm water sources to maintain and improve the quality of Joseph Creek. New technologies can also be considered as the city improves or replaces existing infrastructure.
Two years ago, the Province of British Columbia created a new municipality in the Jumbo Valley. Last year, the provincial government allocated $200,000 a year in provincial funding from 2014 through 2018 to Jumbo Municipality. Thankfully, on Feb 18, 2013, the West Kootenay EcoSociety submitted an application for Judicial Review of the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality. This court application argues that the appointment of municipal councilors without any electors violates the constitution, and various provincial statutes. The blatant disregard for the will of the people stands at the heart of this legal application, and this is what stands out for me as the biggest environmental issue facing our community. It is clear that both the provincial and federal governments have lost their democratic compass, and I believe Cranbrook city council can help re-direct these governments back to what really matters: environmental security for all of us.
The biggest environmental issue facing our community is the fluoride being injected into our drinking water. Please see details below. The City of Cranbrook needs to remove the fluoride from our water to fix this problem.
Here are three issues we could discuss. Cranbrook is the sunniest city in BC. We should be leaders in solar power. Cranbrook is also well suited to geothermal heating and cooling, because of the temperature difference between summer and winter. My wife and I are on the board of a charity that is planning to build an off grid structure that will run mostly on solar and geothermal energy. We are happy to share what we have learned. The third opportunity that could benefit the planet, our Province and Cranbrook would be to help those trying to stop oil going across BC to China. Not only would it drive climate change and endanger our coastlines, it also means shipping ten of thousands of jobs out of our country, which could be created in Canada by processing oil in Alberta. Some shift workers could live here with their families.
The biggest environmental issue facing our community is the Deer population. Yes, we are seeing aggressive deer. But why are the deer in the area? It’s because our grassland ecosystem, which 80% of mammals need for food are being invaded by forest ecosystem due to the suppression of fire. The cities have grasslands, so the dear and mammal will use the prime area because the plants in forest do not offer the food they need to survive. The city is their grocery store. Fire regenerate grassland and puts the nutrients back into ground. The plants that deer feed on grow with carbons, with poor nutrient levels in ground the plants that deer do not like to eat grow.
I believe the winter air quality emissions of particulate matter (PM 2.5) from inefficient wood burning appliances and/or burning green / unseasoned firewood is the biggest environmental issue leading to asthma concerns in Cranbrook and region. We should continue to support the wood stove exchange rebate program and other incentives and public education for the residents of the Cranbrook, Kimberley and surrounding Area C so we can all breathe cleaner air. Wood is a readily available renewable energy resource and if used properly with an efficient stove will continue to be a great heating source for our homes. My second environmental issue would be radon testing in our basements.
Diana J. Scott
The biggest environmental issue facing the city is arguable. Environmental sustainability is something the City always keeps in mind. We have a transit system, some new bike lanes, an electric car charging station, solar panels at the airport, no idling zones, and water regulations during the summer. We have invested in a leak detection system saving water, as well. And our nationally and internationally acclaimed wastewater treatment system is an innovative environmental system. Finally, the city has invested in an energy manager specifically to help us figure out our best options for the coming future.
I feel the biggest environmental issue facing Cranbrook in my opinion are Leeching from the sewer ponds into Joseph Creek, and the up stream silting of Joesph Creek in various areas of town. My other concern is the unchecked and unregulated stockpiling of toxic materials in Cranbrook ( B.A. Black Top has a mountain of used asphalt they have been stockpiling for decades with no apparent plans reclamate the site. It appears one day the tax payers will be force to clean up their mess. Other concerns include the lack of interest and ability with respect to generating carbon tax offsets with our current leadership.
I believe Cranbrook’s biggest environmental issue ties in precisely with your second question in that cosmetic pesticides for lawns and gardens should regulated.
The biggest environmental issue facing Cranbrook, and for that matter any community in the world, is learning how to live within our means. It’s not business as usual anymore. Climate change is driving everything now and if we don’t reduce our obscene levels of consumption the world we know it now will be close to unlivable by the end of this century and that could spell the end of us as a species and most other species too. AND IT DOESN’T HAVE TO HAPPEN! The solution is to reduce our use of everything, especially oil, and develop alternative energy sources that won’t pollute the air we breathe, the land we live on and the water that’s essential for the survival of all species. Most of these soft energy alternatives are already known. We’ve just got to get serious about using them.
Norma Blissett, James Elliott, Bob Faiers, and Wesly Graham did not respond to Wildsight’s question.