Mayor’s update for the month of March
By Mary Giuliano
Mayor of Fernie
Fresh snow has covered potholes and broken pavement caused by extreme weather fluctuations also resulting in flooding throughout the City. Crews did their best to clear the ice off the 1,200 catch basin drains as quickly as possible to alleviate the situation.
The Columbia Basin Trust Community Directed Funds meeting was held in February to discuss the ten top priorities determined by public consultations. Look for advertising in the near future regarding applications for this funding.
A workshop of the Cumulative Effects Management Framework included an Elk River Valley Bottom assessment study by the Elk River Alliance, a Michel Creek assessment, a provincial update by Manager Leah Malkinson and a review on metrics used to measure and report riparian habitat if more human activity is added. Participants included Teck, Ktunaxa, BC Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations, Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Districts of Elkford and Sparwood, City of Fernie, Regional District of East Kootenay, Elk River Alliance, and Wildsight. Facilitated by Stella Swanson, the goal is to provide better information to decision makers.
Sparwood mayor Lois Halko, Area A director Mike Sosnowski and I met with Mainroads Manager Jim Conley last week to discuss improvements to highway maintenance. Conley stated that a positive benefit was the use of social media that has resulted in Mainroads being more quickly aware of areas of need.
The Lions Club held the annual dinner to honour volunteers on March 8. Congratulations to all and to Lions members who are super volunteers in our community. Congratulations to the Fernie and District Historical Society on their fiftieth anniversary. Doug Fink, the only remaining founder, was present and relayed stories on the beginning of the society.
Official Community Plan (OCP) and Design Review Panel members who worked on the OCP update for the past two years presented the draft plan to Council last week. A mere thank you doesn’t seem enough to express enough gratitude to all involved that took the time to volunteer their knowledge and expertise to this subject.
Council attended a Valentine Tea at the Trinity Lodge and spent the afternoon visiting with residents enjoying good conversation.
Residents living downtown have been experiencing disrupted sleep and they request that hours of bars be shortened. This falls to the provincial liquor control branch. The City has implemented a nuisance bylaw and increased lighting and cameras are under consideration. This issue will be on an April agenda and stakeholders will be invited to have the discussion on what else can be done.
Land use zoning changes, a request for music on outdoor patio, requests for funding assistance, all elicit strong comments and opinions from council and members of the public. It would be easy to make decisions based on emotion or on what is right for those most affected however regardless of how council feels personally, decisions have to be made based on the OCP and what is right for the whole.