By Mary Giuliano
As usual there is much happening including the Quality of Life Survey that is being mailed out so as to update the Index created last year. Bonus draw prize of either a ski pass or 50-inch TV screen if you enter the draw and fill out the survey. Please make time to fill it out and return the survey. I have been attending numerous events giving speeches and also judged the Miss Elkford Ambassador pageant. These were fun, however I have attended many meetings about important issues affecting our town. Add to that the many concerns expressed by residents; from loud noise at night, back yard fire pits, whistle cessation, affordable housing, lack of directional signage, i.e. for getting to places and for identifying our parks and buildings, downtown vandalism and numerous complaints about potholes. Fifth Avenue is slated to be redone this year and many potholes will be filled beginning this coming week.
A working group has been formed to look at the Resort Municipality Initiative Funding to look at what projects will receive assistance but Council will still have the last word as to where funding is directed.
Many people commented on wanting the Miners Walk cleared during the winter months. This will now happen as the society has raised enough money to provide this service.
A nuisance bylaw has been passed to combat downtown vandalism and staff have been directed to bring back a report on how to implement cameras, also wattage will be increased in the downtown light posts.
There is a Liquid Waste Management Plan being worked on for managing storm water and sewage that is required by the Ministry of Environment. An open house was held last month so the public could familiarize itself with what this means. This three step plan is now in its second stage of evaluating and selecting the projects, programs, policies and practices to successfully address the issues and challenges of managing this in an environmentally and socially responsible way.
A response was received from the RCMP Superintendent regarding lack of cells for use in Fernie. There are no plans to either refurbish the cells or replace the detachment building. A response is being sent stating Council’s strong objection to this.
The final draft of the budget has passed, staff worked diligently to bring the tax increase from over five to less than four percent. It was determined that staff budgets all had to cut back a little to make up the nearly $74,000 shortfall, this they were able to achieve.
CBT has funding for a new sub region initiative that Mike Sosnowski, Lois Halko, Dean McKerracher and I are joining forces on to see what type of project can be achieved for our region as a whole. We will be meeting with CBT in early July to discuss this.
Council has sent letters to neighbouring communities stating that if interest is there to host the 2016 or 2018 Winter Games it will have to be done as equal partners as it is believed no single community has the necessary 2,500 volunteers required to do it alone.
Work will soon begin on updating the Official Community Plan by the Whistler Centre for Sustainability, members from the community will be part of the advisory committee so if interested please send a letter stating so. This is a most critical topic , the OCP is what guides the way Fernie looks and grows, please become involved as this will affect the future of our town.
Council sent a letter to the Ministry of Environment stating their support of the Bear Aware educational program that had been denied funding. We have now been informed that the province will provide support for 40 communities in B.C. to assist with education to decrease human-bear encounters this year.
Council had received a letter from PARTY program coordinator Mary Jane Leppard stating that this program would no longer take place due to lack of space at Elk Valley Hospital. Having attended this program several times I am aware of the positive impact it has on participating youth and will work to get it back.