The City of Fernie discussed a myriad of important issues at their June 22, 2020 council meeting. File Photo

Fernie city council approves reopening of outdoor recreation spaces

Staff from the City of Fernie recommended that a non-medical cannabis retail store licence be approved for Weeds Glass & Gifts Ltd. on Highway 3 in their June 22 city council meeting.

Since the proposed use and location of the shop conforms to the city’s current zoning bylaws, and public input against awarding the licence was not strong, staff concluded that the cannabis shop would not have a negative impact on the local area. The store will still have to gain provincial support and licensing before moving forward.

Cannabis wasn’t the only thing on the agenda at last week’s council meeting, however. City staff also recommended that city council endorse the reopening of outdoor municipal facilities and on June 26, they did just that.

The City of Fernie is once again allowing rental of outdoor spaces and amenities for various organized activities, as long as user groups comply with all provincial health guidelines.

Indoor recreation facilities within Fernie remain closed for now as the city works through the best and safest reopening strategies.

Another topic at discussion in the latest council meeting was the location of the meetings themselves. Staff have not been able to establish a venue for council meetings that allows for public input and participation under current health guidelines but will work towards establishing a facility for the public to “hear, watch, and participate in council meetings using electronic tools,” until a facility large enough to facilitate public access is found.

Although the city is still working on a way to facilitate in-person participation from the public, they’ll continue to host meetings electronically, post the minutes and agendas online and allow public commentary through email, letters and comments during the live streaming of meetings.

Finally, the city announced on June 25 that they had received grant funding from the B.C. Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants Program. The $50,000 they were awarded will be matched by a further $50,000 in municipal funding. The money will be put toward completing the Active Transportation Network Plan (ATNP), a plan that provides a framework for improving transportation and encourages walking and cycling in the community.

“This council is committed to enhancing the multi-modal active transportation options in our community and completing this plan is an important step in that work,” said mayor Ange Qualizza.

The project will be kicking off in the coming weeks and is expected to produce final recommendations in 2021.

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