Mayor’s update for the month of January

Fernie may have physically changed over the years but the one thing that remains constant is the amazing generosity of the people.

On Monday, Jan. 5 there was a presentation by Urban Systems regarding the development cost charges update with an open house held at the Senior’s Centre. The grants committee and I reviewed applications the following day. Wednesday was spent with registered parliamentarian Eli Mina, followed by two days of meetings at the Regional District.  Mina is considered to be the ultimate authority on council procedures and the role of mayor and councillors.

A note of thanks to Electoral Area A Director Mike Sosnowski for agreeing to continue his donation of $80,000 each for the years 2015 and 2016 as a small contribution towards the many services his constituents of Area A access and use in the City of Fernie. We share services gladly, but having recognition with a show of financial support is very much appreciated.

Council has directed staff to initiate a process to extend the municipal boundary to include the property north of Brenners Road on which the new Fernie Ford dealership sits and also to initiate a boundary extension process to increase the supply of service to commercial and light industrial land in the city.

The trail system has many garbage containers along the route but in past winters it has been difficult for city workers to access the bins for several reasons. This year it was decided that the city would try a pilot project that would have some bins remain closed instead of physically removing them. From the disappointing results, it is obvious this experiment has failed. Maps showing where bins were open were ignored and garbage deposited at the base of the bins was everywhere, including in the proximity of where bins were open. I am appalled both as an individual and as mayor that people would deliberately throw their garbage and bags of dog poop everywhere. There is a certain amount of personal responsibility that needs to be shown by those using the trails. Lacking that, how about showing some respect for this beautiful area that many of us call home, for visitors and residents alike this is unacceptable behaviour, and is an incredible insult to the land and to the people.

Council has extended an invitation to the East Kootenay Assessment Office for a presentation on their work and also to Teck in order for them to provide information on the tailings facilities, emergency response planning and dam safety inspection reviews for their Elk Valley Operations.

I attended the opening of the Reel Canadian Film Festival and got to meet actors Phillip Thomas and Terry Field as well as producer Caitlyn Das from the film When the Ocean Met the Sky. In addition to acting, Thomas is also a director, producer and writer. I extended an invitation to him to come to Fernie for the next film and he said that using Cranbrook and Fernie had been discussed.

The Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) community consultation was well attended with over 85 people. Lots of ideas came forward, such as CBT supporting busing within Fernie, along with trails, buying land around town for conservation, affordable housing and a new college campus. Part of the evening included a draw for $1,000 to donate. My name was drawn and I’m pleased to pass this amount to the Senior Centre’s group.

This leads to the opportunity to thank all the volunteers in this town, they are truly  unsung heroes. I’m so proud to call Fernie home, especially when I read of Rhoda DeLuca and Jeri Mitchell organizing Random Acts of Kindness, Stephanie Rogers stepping in to organize Smiles for Shyanne and the many people organizing fundraisers for the family.

Other fundraisers include Shred Kelly’s Colour Crawl and the ladies that organized the Lantern Festival. There are also all the volunteers that make the film festivals, bike festivals, swim meets, kids triathlons, soccer, ball and all sports events happen. There is Search and Rescue, the environmental groups that clean the river each year, students from schools that do the Trash Bash, all the church groups, service clubs that do so much like Rotary, Elks, Lions, Legion, and the Fernie Rod and Gun Club, as well as those who volunteer on an individual basis for friends and neighbours and with work with city committees like the Official Community Plan (OCP) and Quality of Life, Design Review Panel, Beautification and Leisure Services Advisory Board, Greenhouse Gas Reduction, the Fernie Library and The Arts Station. It’s impossible to name each person, but certainly without this volunteer component, our town wouldn’t be what it is. Fernie may have physically changed over the years but the one thing that remains constant is the amazing generosity of the people that choose to live and visit here.