Jonathan MacGregor is seeking a term on Fernie city council. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Jonathan MacGregor is seeking a term on Fernie city council. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Jonathan MacGregor seeks term on Fernie city council

MacGregor is a local business owner, and believes the city has room for improvement

Fernie businessman Jonathan MacGregor has put his name into the race for a seat on city council.

Owner and operator of Heli Cool, MacGregor is an HVAC and refrigeration mechanic with 20 years experience working in the valley.

“I’ve got a good background in service, and understand how an organization should run,” he said during an interview with The Free Press, adding he saw lots of room for improvement with the City of Fernie.

“I think Fernie’s got a great group of people and lots of engaged citizens, and I think that makes the community something that people want to be involved in and the city needs to improve their output and efficiencies to keep up with everyone else,” he said, mentioning all the different service clubs and groups around town.

MacGregor said he’d grown up in Elkford and Nelson, and had been living and co-operating Heli Cool in Fernie since 2001. He’s been involved in lots of different community organizations, such as the local soccer club, and previously was part of the Parental Advisory Committee (PAC) for SD5. Previously he ran for a seat on Fernie council back in 2011, but was unsuccessful.

Taxes, and bang for buck were major points behind his desire to run for council and make changes in 2022.

“As our taxes have gone up in Fernie dramatically with the mill rate going up and everybody’s assessed value going up, the city hasn’t kept up with their services improving,” he said.

“I see there being a lack of planning in delivering service to all the citizens of the town.”

Efficiency in policy adaption, and engagement with the public were key, he said, listing issues with how the city appeared to respond (or not respond) to concerns from residents about current policies and their enforcement.

”Some of the simple ones are short term rental policies – They’ve made it so you can’t have an oven in your short-term rental. That’s a simple policy cleanup of, you don’t want people to be playing ‘hide-the-oven’. We need a policy that’s enforceable.”

While he said short term rental housing was a contentious issue for local governments, he aimed higher at the federal tax rebate for new build housing, saying the municipality could lobby for improvements.

Development and permitting were rightfully front-of-mind for many, said MacGregor, who said he believed the city needed more manpower to handle demand.

“We’re getting to a period where there’s going to be a lot of money invested in Fernie, we’ve got to make sure that planning goes well.”

With an election a little over a month away. MacGregor said he was about people getting what they paid for.

“I would have to say, with 20 years of experience running a service company, I know what the processes should be and I can see where the failures are. I would like to see things improve, so we get the value of what we’re paying taxes for. “

READ MORE: Editor’s note: Calling all local candidates
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