Cranbrook, BC (August 2, 2023) -- Cranbrook, like most other cities in BC, is experiencing unprecedented challenges related to the impacts of the ongoing housing, opioid, and mental health crises. The changing social landscape directly impacts individuals, families, organizations, and businesses.
Right now, the obvious issues and challenges related to the housing, opioid, and mental health crises affect every citizen of Cranbrook. However, understanding the problems is not a simple task and there are no easy solutions. They are not neat and tidy issues and the approaches to manage and mitigate the concerns must be as diverse as the issues themselves. It requires participation from all sectors.
But this is where there is hope. Since stepping into the role of Social Development Coordinator, it has been my pleasure and privilege to meet with many organizations and sectors to learn about the significant and extraordinary work being done by so many throughout Cranbrook. I have met with non-profit organizations, community advocates, faith-based organizations, Indigenous agencies, local businesses, and the government to understand better their work and the challenges they experience.
Cranbrook has a huge heart and is fortunate to have many organizations that want to find solutions. I have been part of numerous exciting and “outside of the box” discussions, and it feels certain Cranbrook is well on its way to finding solutions, and I look forward to those collaborations.
The other day the Executive Director of East Kootenay Addiction Services Society, Jaime Jenkins said to me, “there are many organizations and agencies in the community today doing great work to help integrate individuals back into society, but who is working with society to help them prepare for the reintegration of those individuals?”
That made a lot of sense to me, as no societal crisis can be addressed unless every system within the society has a function and contribution to the solution. A single sector cannot resolve these challenges alone.
We must decide as a community what our values and beliefs are and then put into place the actions that demonstrate those beliefs. The health of a city is indicated by how it treats all its citizens. Therefore, it is essential to hear from you on the current challenges. What are Cranbrook’s strengths and challenges in addressing this issue? What actions do you think would be most beneficial? What can we do as a community to resolve the problems? What would you like more information about? What would help you better understand the issues or the steps the City is taking? The voice of the community is vital in creating solutions. So please reach out and let me know your thoughts and ideas.
Understanding the challenges and concerns of the community has been a steep learning curve, and it has only just begun. I know the City and the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) took a meaningful step in creating this role, and I am committed and excited by the opportunity to work and collaborate with all sectors within the community to create connections and bring together ideas and opportunities that make Cranbrook the best City we can be.