Meet the City of Fernie candidates

Meet the City of Fernie candidates

Voters in Fernie will vote for one Mayor, six Councillors and one School Board Trustee on October 20

The City of Fernie’s Municipal Election is on Saturday, October 20, 2018.

Voters in Fernie will vote for one Mayor, six Councillors and one School Board Trustee.

The Fernie Chamber of Commerce and The Free Press will host a Fernie All-Candidates Election Forum on Wednesday, October 3 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Fernie Community Centre, 901 6th Ave.

For more information, including candidatescontact details, visit

Candidates for the office of Mayor

Mary Giuliano (incumbent)

Current Fernie mayor Mary Giuliano has announced that she will be seeking re-election in the upcoming B.C. municipal elections in October.

If re-elected, this would be her third and final term as mayor of Fernie.

LOOK BACK: Mary Giuliano seeking re-election one last time

Ange Qualizza

Current Fernie councillor Ange Qualizza has announced that not only will she be looking to continue in local government, but will also be running for Mayor in the upcoming municipal elections.

“I am running because I love the work of local government, the impact of local government is immediate, which is exciting, and governance and policy blend very well with my professional background,” she said.

LOOK BACK: Ange Qualizza to run for Mayor of Fernie

Sharon Switzer

What is your occupation?

I have only recently retired. I have 20 years of experience in local government. Most of my time has been in recreation and facilities with the City of Fernie. With that being said, I’ve had an opportunity to work in all departments and have learned much about the inner workings of the municipal environment.

How long have you lived in Fernie?

I’ve lived in Fernie for 38 years.

Why are you running for Mayor?

I’m running for Mayor, first and foremost, to work for the people of Fernie, so that they can regain their confidence in our direction and to make sure there is a place for all in Fernie. I understand that people want more options in housing. I know that they want their dealings with the City to be an efficient use of their time. I know about service delivery and what I’m talking about, from the inside out. I hear residents when they say they feel there is no long-range plan for growth, for facilities, or assets and we need that to change.

What are your goals as Mayor if elected?

My main goals as Mayor are to work collaboratively with residents and council to solve the issues of providing local people with housing options that suit their needs and budgets, to improve regulatory processes and to build civic capacity. Explore in community long range planning and boundary expansion to allow us to address growth for the needs of the local population. I will work to provide a prioritized action plan for facility replacement and asset maintenance, a plan that taxpayers can support, as a way to secure future growth and prosperity for our city.

Candidates for the offices of Councillor

Greg Barnes

What is your occupation?

I am a carpenter and run a small business. In the winter, I put my tools away and work at Island Lake Lodge.

How long have you lived in Fernie?

I have lived in Fernie for 13 years.

Why are you running for council?

I decided to run in this election because I want to provide representation for Fernie residents who align with my values. I have a young family, run a small business, work in tourism, and my wife works for Teck. It is important that council is comprised of individuals who will listen to and represent the diverse interests of those who live in the community.

What are your goals as Councillor should you be elected?

My main goal if I am elected is to examine how the decisions that we make today will impact Fernie in the future. Challenges such as affordability, how we manage our assets, and boundary expansion all require long term vision. In the short term, finding ways to improve channels of communication at City Hall and to the public would be beneficial in achieving long term goals.

Kyle Hamilton

What is your occupation?

I am an entrepreneur. I currently operate a photography and framing studio, and recently co-founded a marketing agency.

How long have you lived in Fernie?

My family started visiting Fernie in about 1991 for family ski vacations, bought property in ’98, and I have been a full time resident since 2006.

Why are you running for council?

If I am not willing to put my name “into the hat”, to put forth a vision of a strong, vibrant, and economically diverse community, then how can I expect someone else to do the job? But most importantly, council requires a strong team. With experience at the board of director level with numerous community groups, I understand the need for cooperation and consensus building to actualize results.

What are your goals as Councillor if elected?

Fernie is at a crux in that much of its infrastructure and municipal properties, are in need of major renovations, or decommissioning. Deciding how and what to do with each property will have long lasting impacts on the community. My goal is to ensure that council looks 15-30 years down the road when making major decisions, and not just at the next budget or election cycle.

Steve Kallies

What is your occupation?

I am the Emergency Response Coordinator at Teck’s Elkview Operations. This role requires the supervision and training of upwards of 80 responders along with close collaboration between workplace departments, other Teck sites, and the Fire/Rescue industry as whole to ensure responder safety and long-term sustainability of the emergency response program. Prior to this role, I spent a great deal of time facilitating committee education on effective collaboration to improve health and safety strategies throughout many different industries in western Canada. I am also a journeyperson and former food and beverage industry manager.

How long have you lived in Fernie?

My family moved here in 1978, the year after I was born. I attended Max Turyk Elementary and graduated from the original Fernie Secondary School. I met my wife Melissa, along with her two daughters Kyra and Mekaela, and we began our life and family together in 2005. Our son and brother, Josh, arrived the year after. Our family lived in Elkford for several years, as we could not afford Fernie pricing. In 2008, we moved back to Fernie and after renting at several locations, bought our Ridgemont home in 2015.

Why are you running for council?

In the summer of 1995, Fernie experienced a severe flood event. Time seemed to stand still as we witnessed bridges, roadways, and dikes get swept away in the fury of Coal Creek and the Elk River. I recall every person being focused on just one issue – how to save our homes. I remember feeling a profound sense of belonging and a strong sense of pride of contribution while my friends and I made the endless trips to the City works yard for yet another load of sandbags. This is the day I discovered the philosophy of putting principles before personalities. I knew that I would always want to contribute to our community and belong to something bigger than myself. After 23 years of community service in many other capacities, I believe I now have the skills and experience to support our community in a leadership role.

What are your goals as Councillor if elected?

I believe municipal government is accountable to the residents of their municipality. As a City of Fernie councillor, I will represent the voice of Fernie residents and I will insist on a transparent approach for all of council, so you can keep your elected voice accountable. We have a serious problem with City infrastructure and facility disrepair in Fernie. Despite our best intentions, it appears that many of these known issues –that directly impact our ability to function as a safe community –continue to ‘fall off budgets’ and get deferred due to budgeting constraints.

My commitment to you is this: transparent collaboration with all stakeholders and long-term solutions – not band-aids – to our serious infrastructure issues. Solving infrastructure issues will be my top priority.

Tracey Kelly

What is your occupation?

For the past 18 years I have worked for the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction for the Province of B.C. We provide social services for people in our province.

How long have you lived in Fernie?

I was born and raised in Fernie. My maiden name is Audia. My family has lived here since 1898! We are a proud seven generation family.

Why are you running for council?

I am excited about the future for Fernie and the possibility of working alongside a team of passionate people who wish to re-energizie our beautiful city. I have 18 years in provincial government, 20 years in a non-profit society (10 of them as president) and am a current member of two civic boards and the outdoor rink committee. I feel strongly that we need to embrace our future, be inclusive and plan carefully for progress, sustainability and to enhance the quality of our lifestyle.

What are your goals as Councillor if elected?

Ensure transparency and inclusivity with the community. Adopt the use of a 311 app such as Cranbrook, Calgary and other cities use. Reduce red tape where we can to provide seamless and efficient service to citizens. Ensure we maintain/upgrade our existing capital infrastructure and plan for the replacement of aging facilities. Seek partnerships and alternative funding sources for infrastructure renewal, affordable/attainable housing, daycare spaces and recreational facilities.

Kevin McIsaac

What is your occupation?

I’m a Systems Analyst and Computer Programmer.

How long have you lived in Fernie?

It’ll be 20 years next year.

Why are you running for council?

I served on council in 2008 and am proud of the work we did, but there’s more to do. I believe in Fernie and want to see a return to more forward thinking.

What are your goals as Councillor if elected?

Many of the issues Fernie faces today are not simple and they are not fixed with simple solutions. It’s going to take a group of people working as a team with stakeholders and the community to tackle them. I believe that with a good council, hard work, vision and a commitment to making plans and executing them, we can solve Fernie’s issues.

Scott Newland

What is your occupation?

My current occupation is Clinic Manager, in the primary healthcare field.

How long have you lived in Fernie?

I have lived in Fernie since June 2008, both in full-time (five years) and part-time capacities (five years).

Why are you running for council?

I am running for public office because I believe my unique academic background and my diverse professional experiences can help in making Fernie an even more desirable and affordable place to live. I want to get more involved in planning and collaborating in Fernie because working with all parties involved is what I do best, and it is the most effective way to ensure that Fernie remains an ideal community for generations to come.

What are your goals as Councillor if elected?

My main goals as a City Councillor would be: 1. to help create more childcare solutions for young families in Fernie; 2. advocate for more planning and focus directed towards affordable housing initiatives in Fernie, and 3. increasing accessibility and availability for community programs and facilities that cater to our at risk/vulnerable populations such as; youth, senior citizens and those adults with special needs that involve mental and/or physical challenges.

Troy Nixon

What is your occupation?

Full-time parent and passionate community volunteer. President of Fernie Freestyle Ski Club & Fernie Mountain Bike Club.

How long have you lived in Fernie?

I have lived in Fernie full-time for four years and part time for eight years.

Why are you running for council?

Well, I know we can do better and I want to be part of that process that brings some progressive change for our kids, senior citizens and every citizen who lives in Fernie. Fernie needs to be proactive not reactive and I want to be part of that process.

What are your goals as Councillor if elected?

Create an easy to read dashboard that tracks how council votes for you, our busy taxpayer. Build stronger partnerships with user groups and make long-term plans to ensure our recreational resources (forest and rivers) are available for future generations. Explore funding options from other levels of government or private-public partnerships in order to fund new combined facilities (arena/community centre/pool) that will serve our steadily growing community.

Yvonne Prest

What is your occupation?

For the past seven years I have worked as a school teacher for School District #5. I am currently teaching full time at Sparwood Secondary as an English teacher and librarian. I love working in education and inspiring youth to be their best selves. The most important aspect of my job is ensuring that students develop a love of learning to become stewards of their own curiosity and active citizens in the world.

How long have you lived in Fernie?

I moved to Fernie in 2011 after graduating from the University of Victoria. Mountain culture and small-town kindness appealed to me. Fernie is also a rare, culturally-rich bubble which celebrates the arts as much as family, recreation and education. I instantly fell in love with this town, my school district and my fiancé. Five years ago, we purchased a home in Fernie and we are invested in the longevity and success of our community. Fernie is now home and the rest, as they say, is history.

Why are you running for council?

I believe in good governance and have the fundamental skills necessary to promote a healthy community.

Through collaboration, prudent planning and rational, and evidence-based decision making with only the public’s interest at heart, Fernie will succeed.

With a diverse council, together we can plan for long-term stability and create a vision that stretches far beyond a four-year term. To deliver on these ideals, I plan to engage with and be responsive to the needs of all Fernie residents.

What are your goals as Councillor if elected?

My vision for Fernie is to build a vibrant, thriving community: inclusive, prosperous and affordable. Fernie council must practice good governance and make evidence-based decisions. Consultation with community members, experts and other local governments will be essential to creating future successful policy and city planning. Economic growth and increased tourism can happen through promoting and putting local business owners first. As a future councillor I am also committed to creating affordable housing in Fernie. Through removing red tape, streamlining application processes and ensuring that the needs of the people are met.

Morgan Pulsifer

What is your occupation?

I am the manager of Commit Snow & Skate and a support worker with the Columbia Basin Family Resource Society.

How long have you lived in Fernie?

I was born and raised in Fernie. With the exception of my years away at university, I have been here my whole life.

Why are you running for council?

I represent a younger demographic within Fernie, which has genuine fears and anxieties about their ability to afford a future here. We cannot expect change without playing an active role. I want to do my part to enact equitable and sustainable growth in our community because so many of our futures here depend on it.

What are your goals as Councillor if elected?

I have one essential goal. It is that the people of Fernie will be proud of my representation of their values, ideas, and visions for our community. They will feel actively engaged in my council activity and decision-making process, have confidence in my commitment to the tasks at hand, and know that I am doing so in an open and honest way.

Joe Warshawsky (incumbent)

What is your occupation?

I have recently retired and never realized how good I would be at it.

Do you intend to stand for re-election?

I want to be re-elected as a councillor because I am able to devote the time needed for the position. In the past, I have collaborated with different organizations to work for the common good of the community. I believe my acquired knowledge, experience and willingness to work hard for the citizens of Fernie are my personal assets.

How long have you served as councillor?

I was first elected from 1993-1996, recycled and re-elected in 2011-2018.

What do you see as your biggest achievement?

I got permission from Fernie Family Housing (FFH) to take their new building plans and presented them to Minister (of Municipal Affairs and Housing) Selina Robinson requesting a letter of support. This was received and used by FFH to secure grants. I was able to introduce a resolution to council to have it received and endorsed at a provincial level by the UBCM executive.

I acquired a seat at the table of the Highway 3 Twinning Development Association of Southern Alberta and am now a part of their strategic planning sessions. Reports were then passed on to the B.C. mayors Highway 3 association. By working on this interprovincial project, it allowed Fernie to have more input and knowledge of Highway 3 conditions from Hope to Medicine Hat.

I was able to convince our CAO to introduce a budget breakdown of how the money was received through the mine tax sharing agreement and how it would be allocated to different facilities in Fernie. I was a part of an adhoc group who was working towards a 50-year vision for Fernie and it was presented to council at a committee of the whole. I have worked with a group researching archived information at City Hall for the Morrissey internment camp and cemetery.

What are your goals should you be re-elected?

I want to be able to collaborate with different groups to create a professional building for the medical community in Fernie. I want to be part of the group that is dedicating its effort to replacing Isabella Dicken Elementary School. I would like to see the old landfill site be used for a future BMX park and possible ball diamonds as the ball diamonds in James White Park have flooded in previous years. It would be great to have a parking area at the east end of the old landfill to service summer and winter user groups.

I want to continue working on affordable housing with non-profit organizations and to move towards sustainable housing. Lastly, I would like to see the Ghostrider Industrial Park paved as it was developed by the city in the early 90s.

Dan McSkimming (incumbent)

What is your occupation?

Managing Broker for ReMax Elk Valley Realty in Fernie.

How long have you served as Councillor?

I have served the City of Fernie for 13 years.

Why have you decided to run again?

I have learned a tremendous amount in my years on council.

At times it can be a complicated and often convoluted system to work within. I see the challenges we face at City Hall being acombination of the rules we have to work with and the fact that Fernie is experiencing tremendous growth.

I believe we can do better with our side of that equation and find ways to communicate and improve the process for ourcitizens.

What do you see as your biggest achievement during your time on council?

When I first was on council during our first budget deliberations I realized there were two big problems on how we weremoving forward. One, it was March/April of the year we were preparing the budget for which seemed bizarre to me. Howcould we ask staff to significantly adjust their budgets when we were already a quarter of the way through the year? We askedthat the process start at least in the fall for future budget to at least give staff a feeling of the direction we wanted to moveearlier. I think that process has improved greatly over the years. Two, the City had been through a very difficult timefinancially in the 90s and as a result we were not putting anything away for reserves for roads and other infrastructure. Iasked that we start putting something in a road reserve, it wasn’t much but it started the City on the right path and we nowhave various reserves that are being contributed to annually.

What are your goals as Councillor if re-elected?

I think we need to continue to work on the financial health of the community and at the same time see how we can serve thechanging need of its citizens. The annexing of West Fernie, for example, is going to be an interesting process as we work withthem to ensure that they are being looked after. There are no simple straight forward solutions to the issues we face but theyare a result of growth and so we need to remember how fortunate we are.

Other Fernie councillors standing for re-election:

Phil Iddon