Tracey Audia Kelly will be running for a seat on City of Fernie council come October.
Born and raised in Fernie, Audia Kelly has spent most of her life living in the community. She’s served on community boards and volunteers with various groups around town.
This will be her second run for public office. Having missed out in 2018, she said that she’d been encouraged to try again.
“I really see an erosion in the community in the social sense,” she said during an interview with The Free Press. “It’s not what it was, even four years ago. I’m concerned about the real lack of engagement with the community that I and others see with the current council, and I really want to bring that back.
“I feel really strongly that the council is representative of the people, and it’s there to serve the people, not the other way around.”
Audia Kelly said she believed the primary focus of the city should be on service delivery.
“I don’t want to dumb it down to basics, but basics are super important. … I think we have some work to do.”
She said it was important for Fernie to develop and grow in a way that allowed everyone to flourish.
“I want to see good things for the community, I want to see people have quality of life.
“Diversity and inclusion are very important, and if we don’t have a community that expands across the socio-economic spectrum, then I think we’re going to fail to thrive.”
Fiscally, she said she wanted the city to engage more with the community on how and where it spent money, citing the expensive challenges coming up in regards to infrastructure.
With a 24-year career in the public service, Audia Kelly said she had experience with legislation and governance, so had a sound understanding of processes.
“I think we need to get creative about housing, and take a look at what other communities are doing to alleviate some of those stressors. Tourism is an important component of the community, (but) are we limiting our businesses if they don’t have anyone to work there because there’s nowhere to live?”
She said Fernie couldn’t rely on neighbouring communities for housing given their own challenges with housing, and distances involved.
“I worked in Sparwood for quite a few years, and I’ve driven that road in winter. It’s not always fun or safe.”
She said her primary election pitch to voters was one of accessibility.
“I’ll be accessible. You’ll see me in the community. I will respond to your communications, and I will work my hardest to be fiscally responsible with your money.”
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