Mary Giuliano. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Mary Giuliano. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Mary Giuliano seeking re-election one last time

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

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.

Giuliano said before she ran for a second time in 2014, she envisioned it would be her last term.

However, now that four years have passed, she says she’s ready to take on another.

“I thought I’d be completely tired, but I’m not,” said Giuliano.

“I’m not tired, I’m still passionate, I still want to do things, I’m just not ready to retire.”

By the end of her current term, Giuliano will have served as mayor for seven years, with nine as a councillor before this. If re-elected this would bring her to a total of 20 years of service to her community, something she hopes to fulfil.

Giuliano first became involved with council after much encouragement from the community.

At the time, she sat on several boards but never attended council meetings. She admitted the idea sounded unattractive.

It was only after Giuliano realized that she was capable of leading the community that she decided to get involved in council and run for Mayor.

After arriving in Canada from Italy, Giuliano’s father chose to stay in Fernie when he discovered its clean, non-chlorinated water.

When her father discovered that the City of Fernie had allowed a water-bottling company to hook up directly to Fernie’s water source, he said to his daughter, “Mary, that’s not good, you have to do something”.

Giuliano recalled being confused and intimidated by the thought of standing up to this proposal.

After much research she discovered that, under the North American Free Trade agreement, if a municipality allows the operation of one bottling plant, they couldn’t say no to any number of others.

“They could suck you dry, and you have no legal recourse, none,” she said.

With the help of a friend, Giuliano wandered up and down main street and acquired 1200 signatures for a petition against the project.

She recalls council at the time being very upset with her for bringing this matter into the spotlight, but upon further inspection of the free trade agreement, they reversed their decision.

After news of this got out, Giuliano received even more encouragement to run for mayor. She responded, no; she wasn’t interested.

It wasn’t until a particular heated conversation with a councillor that she decided she would take a shot at the 2002 election.

“Okay, you shouldn’t have told me that,” said Giuliano, recalling the phone call.

“Because now I will run.”

When she first ran as a councillor, Giuliano came in with the second highest vote count, just 12 short of George Majic, a popular and highly respected community figure. In the next four elections, she topped the polls.

Sixteen years later, she says she’s ready to take it on again.

Giuliano is proud of many things she has accomplished over the years, including how staff and council dealt with the tragic ammonia gas leak in October, 2017, when three City workers lost their lives.

In light of the upcoming municipal election, Giuliano wanted to clarify what it meant to be on council.

“Sometimes people forget what it means to be on council,” she said.

“It doesn’t mean that you come here because suddenly you’re important, or suddenly you’re going to do something fantastic, or that it gives you power, or like one person keeps saying, it’s personal development, no. It’s all about service. That’s all it is.

“You are there to help the public, to do whatever you can to serve the people that live in the area that you represent.”

Municipal elections across B.C. will be held on the third weekend of October.

Correction notice: Paragraph 3 – Giuliano has served two terms as mayor, and hopes to be re-elected for a third and final term.

Correction notice: Paragraph 7 – Giuliano has not served as mayor for 16 years – she has served with the City for 16 years total – seven as mayor and nine as councillor.

Correction notice: Paragraph 22 insinuated Giuliano lost the 2002 election. This is not the case, she came in with the second-highest vote count on council.