City to partner with Tourism Fernie on shuttle service

The City of Fernie is working together with Tourism Fernie to continue to provide a winter shuttle service between town and the ski hill.

The City of Fernie is working together with Tourism Fernie to continue to provide a winter shuttle service between town and Fernie Alpine Resort for the 2012-2013 ski season. The shuttle started on December 21, 2012 and will continue until April 14, 2013. The day and evening shuttle connects residents and visitors from locations within the City of Fernie, West Fernie, and Fernie Alpine Resort.

Since 2010, the City has been providing $40,000 every ski season from the provincial government’s Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) to a service provider to help offset the cost of an evening shuttle. A private operator had previously offered an unrelated daytime shuttle, which was discontinued in 2012.

After revisiting the funding model for the shuttle service for the 2012-2013 ski season, it was decided that Tourism Fernie would oversee and manage the shuttle service contract, and that the RMI funding be increased to $50,000 to allow for both a day and evening service from one provider.

The full cost of the service will be paid by a combination of the RMI funds, rider fare revenue, and tourism stakeholder contributions.

“The 2012 – 2016 Resort Development Strategy does allocate $50,000 for the operating of a shuttle starting in 2013,” explained Jim Hendricks, Acting CAO for the City of Fernie. “The RMI allocation will be reviewed annually by the Resort Development Strategy Advisory Working Group to ensure the service is meeting the objectives of the RMI program.”

At a regular meeting on Monday, council voted unanimously to notify the public of their intention to enter into a partnering agreement with Tourism Fernie, as well as the increase in RMI funding.

Both Councillor Randal Macnair and Councillor Dan McSkimming noted that while they were happy to see an agreement reached, they had hoped to see a third party sign on to the partnership.

“Kudos to Tourism Fernie who led the charge to get this done. There has been a lot of work done by a lot of people,” commented Councillor Randal Macnair. “My only disappointment in this service is that Resorts of the Canadian Rockies really has not come to the table. It’s unfortunate and I hope that we can continue to convince them to do so in the future.”

Following being posted for the public, the partnering agreement will come back to council on January 28, when they will consider official approval. If the agreement passes, the City will pay the sum of $50,000 in RMI funds to Tourism Fernie.

At the City’s discretion, there will be the option to extend the shuttle service into the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 ski seasons.