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Posted: February 19, 2020

Joseph Creek reimagined under the stars

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By Dan Hicks

Op-Ed Commentary

On the evening of February 11, our College of the Rockies was the setting for a “Climate Info Session” arranged by the City of Cranbrook, the Climate Caucus, and the East Kootenay Chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL); Mayor Lee Pratt himself attended and two city officials conveyed municipal enviro-initiatives.

The keynote speaker, CCL Climate Reality Leader Laura Sacks of Castlegar, led us through the dire future consequences of a warming climate, employing images and graphs.

She anticipates that the yearly average temperature bell curves for the coming decades will shift rightward and flatten – reflecting the higher temperatures and greater temperature variability which we are fated to suffer; to an extent dependent on our mitigation efforts.

Audience members raised some vexing age-old questions for the city officials, such as – when will public transit be improved? Why does the city stubbornly adhere to its time-honoured summer tradition of motorized dead stubble-grass mowing? And when, if ever, will Joseph Creek’s lineal ditch-like segments be re-channeled back to resemble a natural meandering stream?

More convenient public transit; quieter summer days, without noisy motorized mowers being such a ubiquitous sound; and a pastoral urban waterway, are in themselves genuinely imaginative schemes; but I added a truly radical concept to the mix when I enquired of the city officials as to why their progressive environmental plans excluded any references to preserving what remains of our natural night sky?

The profusion of high-intensity private security lighting within our city “glaringly” underscores that, both such headlight beam-styled lighting and our conventional street lighting, have yet to spill out onto any official environmental awareness agendas.

Conceding February to be our month of love, my consolation is that, given Cranbrook’s astoundingly high romance-related purchases via Amazon, we can at least revel is our city’s remarkable ascendance as the undisputed consumer product Paris of the Kootenays; per capita, we are ranked #14 in all of Canada, with Revelstoke way back at a distant #20.

Our erotic distinctiveness aside, a more enduring environmentally romantic ambience for Cranbrook lies in the fanciful dual-concept of a naturalized Joseph Creek meandering beneath a darkened starry sky, a bucolic nocturnal scene graced by the silhouettes of the Rocky Mountains; except that by the time any such riparian stars are aligned, the Rockies themselves will surely have crumbled away to dust.

Lead image: Joseph Creek. e-KNOW file photo

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