Residents offer feedback on Fernie OCP

Members of the Fernie community came out Thursday night to see what the Official Community Plan revision project is all about.

Fernie residents map out the changes they would like to see made to the City's Official Community Plan.

Members of the Fernie community came out Thursday night to see what the Official Community Plan (OCP) revision project is all about, and give their feedback on the progress made so far. The City of Fernie hosted an open house at the Fernie Community Centre from 5 to 8:30 p.m. that evening to give residents an update on the revision the OCP will go through over the next year.

The updated OCP will aim to put the City’s new long term vision, “Forever Fernie,’ in motion. It will take into account a number of community components that work towards success and long term sustainability for Fernie, including land use and development, education, housing, social development, economy, transportation, natural areas, and infrastructure.

Working on the OCP update with City of Fernie staff is the Whistler Centre for Sustainability, a community planning organisation, as well as a 15 person advisory committee comprised of the Mayor of Fernie, Mary Giuliano, two city councillors, and members of the public.

City of Fernie staff and consultants were on hand to guide residents through the interactive open house and answer questions. As John Ingram, with the Whistler Centre for Sustainability explained, “There’s been a ton of planning work that’s been going on in Fernie over the last few years. Everything from area land use plans to parking strategies, liquid waste management plans, and resort development strategies. There’s a lot going on and the OCP is going to consider everything going on and pull elements from it into the plan.”

There were three interactive stations set up around the room; ‘Fernie today’, ‘Fernie tomorrow’, and ‘future of Fernie’. Everyone who attended was encouraged to visit each station to find out what the proposed changes are, and give their opinion on any changes, issues, or opportunities they would like to see addressed.

“We’re asking for three things tonight,” clarified Ingram. “Tell us what you think about the current vision. We want to know about what issues you think are most important, your values, what matters most, and also, encourage others to get involved.”

The open house was one of four that will be held throughout the update process. The next is tentatively scheduled for January, and the revised OCP is expected to be adopted by December 2013.