Grade 8 students Ava Mattersdorfer, Cedar Djonlich and Marley Robinson-Shaw hold up the flag of Fernie in Traynor Hall at Fernie Secondary School. (Photo contributed)

Grade 8 students Ava Mattersdorfer, Cedar Djonlich and Marley Robinson-Shaw hold up the flag of Fernie in Traynor Hall at Fernie Secondary School. (Photo contributed)

Time to change the Fernie flag?

Fernie Secondary School students ask whether it’s time to modernize the town flag

Contributed by Ernie Baty

Fernie Secondary School

‘Is it time to modernize the flag of Fernie?’ is one of the questions three Grade 8 Fernie Secondary school students will be asking Fernie City Council on Monday October 19 at 1:00 p.m.

On Thursday October 1st, a Sciences Humaines Grade 8 class from Fernie Secondary School walked downtown and asked people questions about the flag of Fernie. Many people, including long time residents, had never seen a flag of Fernie. One person who did recognize the flag was Mayor Qualizza who was passing by on her bicycle.

Mayor Qualizza was kind enough stop and to take some time and to explain to the students how people can make a difference in Fernie. Mayor Qualizza explained to the students the process involved in students addressing City Council. She explained that the class would have to pick a maximum of three students to represent them, they would then have to go to the city’s website and download a form in order to request being added to the agenda, and that they would then have five minutes to make a presentation to City Council.

The students took the Mayor’s advice and when they returned to school, they nominated students who they would like to have speak for them at a City Council meeting. The students held a vote and the class chose Ava Mattersdorfer, Marley Robinson-Shaw and Cedar Djonlich to represent them at the City Council meeting.

There is a well-known precedent in Canada for modernizing a flag and it is none other than the flag of Canada. For the first one hundred years in the existence of Canada, the Maple Leaf was not the flag of Canada. The iconic and easily recognizable Maple Leaf became our flag in 1967.

Many students in the Grade 8 Sciences Humaines class feel like it is time to modernize the flag of Fernie. What they would like to see happen is for the City of Fernie to have a non-binding contest to design a new flag of Fernie. If there is a new flag that is clearly better than our current flag, then the City Council could choose to adopt it. If there isn’t a new flag that is clearly better, then City Council can keep the old flag.

Lucy Wrigglesworth, a Fernie resident, pointed out during her interview that with new design tools, such as computers, lines drawing mountains can be more specific.

Is the current flag of Fernie the best that Fernie can do to present ourselves to the world, or can we do better? What do you think of when you think of Fernie? Do you have ideas on what you would like to see on the flag? Would you like to try to design a flag of Fernie? The students hope that their presentation will set in motion community involvement and would welcome your comments on the issue.