Fernie sees three new councillors take seats

Half of Fernie's city council will be represented by new faces.

The City of Fernie can expect to see some new faces on council this term, as election results indicate the appointment of three new councillors.

On Saturday, Fernie locals took to the polls to cast their votes.

Coun. Phil Iddon received 632 of those votes, coming out on top in the City of Fernie and gaining a seat for a third term, while Coun. Joe Warshawsky followed behind with 604 votes. This will be Warshawsky’s second term on council.

“It’s an honour,” said Iddon of the votes he received. “I hope it reflects my efforts in council to serve the community. It’s been a privilege to be a public servant for the last six years and I look forward to the challenges in the next four.”

Former Coun. Willard Ripley did not receive a seat on council this term, losing his seat by a mere 17 votes.

“It’s always hard to see a guy you’ve put a lot of time and effort in with not get re-elected. I think as a group we did a good job for the last three years and I’m sure the new group will strive to continue some of that work and there will be some fresh ideas and new directions we’ll take,” said Iddon, Ripley’s former co-council.

Newly appointed councillors, Ange Qualizza, Jon Levesque and Dennis Shafer will also have a seat in the City of Fernie, with all three receiving over 500 votes.

“It was a mixed bag of emotions, mostly apprehension,” Levesque said of his recent appointment to council.

Levesque admitted that he’s concerned about the learning curve, but has received coaching from current and previous councillors and plans to listen thoroughly over the next year so he can retain an understanding of the processes being a city councillor entails.

In fact, after being encouraged by Mayor Mary Giuliano to participate in politics, Levesque began attending council meetings.

He said his main focus over the next few years will be answering one simple question, “How do we engage our community better?” He went on to say, “For me, the heavy lifting starts now.”

 

Coun. Dan McSkimming will also be making his way back into Fernie politics, bringing with him knowledge from his three  terms previously serving on council.