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Joseph Creek a mess, decry seniors

Ducks float in Joseph Creek between the Tamarack Centre and Joseph Creek Village. Residents are upset by the condition of the creek, which is often full of garbage and debris. - Sally MacDonald photo
Ducks float in Joseph Creek between the Tamarack Centre and Joseph Creek Village. Residents are upset by the condition of the creek, which is often full of garbage and debris.
— image credit: Sally MacDonald photo

Residents of a Cranbrook retirement village are decrying the condition of Joseph Creek behind their complex.

A group of residents at Joseph Creek Village are upset that the City doesn't seem to be listening to their complaints about the garbage in and beside the creek as it runs between the village and the Tamarack Centre.

"It seems like everybody is missing us," said Ida Aitzetmueller. "We are facing another spring with it like this."

Commercial businesses on the strip use the land beside the creek for storage and, in some cases, a dumping ground for detritus.

"It's getting to be a garbage dump," said Burk Benischke. "We don't mind the machinery, but it's the junk laying around."

And garbage has built up in the creek to the point that it has created an island of dead branches, plastic bags, pop cans, and larger items like shopping carts, tires and even a bicycle.

"This is my view. I come from out of town where I looked at nothing but trees and the Steeples. The first time they showed me the unit, I stood there crying," said Ida.

“The grounds are just perfect. Then we have this right here,” said Elizabeth Kirchhofer.

Betty McKenzie said that the overgrown weeds could be a fire hazard for the complex.

The group has appealed to the City of Cranbrook to clean up the area, with more than 100 people adding their names to a petition in 2010. Mayor Wayne Stetski visited the site last year.

“The city always said they would look into it. Three years is enough. We are mad,” said Ida.

Many residents are no longer physically able to walk outside the complex, and instead walk the loop around the village on a daily basis. Others in Joseph Creek Care Village spend their days looking out the window onto the neglected creek, she went on.

“It could be beautiful. It could be a joy for everyone who walks out there.”

Some of the more able residents have tried to clean up the area, and one resident has even pulled the larger garbage such as shopping carts out of the creek.

“If we could, we would clean up our creek. But we can’t anymore,” said Ida.

The residents are also concerned for the health of the creek.

“It’s not just for us. It’s for the creek. My grandson said, what’s going to be left for us? A dead creek,” said Elizabeth.

“A lot of seniors who live here helped make Cranbrook what it is. Now they are spending their last years looking at this,” said Burk.

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