Costly journey to the transfer site

So the Fernie area transfer station will be located where a series of Fernie councils used their veto to stop it and insisted it go somewhere more costly to tax payers and would be contrary to established policies and principles, thereby affecting the quality of life for rural residents.

I have lost count of how many $50,000 studies it took over the course of the 15 year conflict to return to the only site that ever made sense. When I was the RDEK Area A director from 2001 to 2004 the staff initiated studies for this site again in 2003. They understood it was the best location and knew I agreed. Through the summer months, with each step in the process getting board approval, including Mayor Macnair’s, we got an architect’s preliminary drawing of a building that was classier than those across the highway in Fernie’s light industrial area, the earthworks plan for a yard four feet above the 200 year flood plain, the plan of the channels, culverts and dykes to divert high water around the yards and agreement from D.O.T for the highway widening to provide left turn lanes into both the transfer station and Brenner Rd.; the access to Home Building Supply. The November board meeting was scheduled for final approval to let out the contracts. In early autumn I was asked by a consultant for a meeting with the developer whose development included the Snow Valley Wranglers rodeo grounds. They expressed concern over where the Wranglers might find a new place for the rodeo grounds. I assured them that the property being studied had more than enough room for the Wranglers, that the directors had been unanimous in approving everything to date, they wanted the matter settled and the November meeting should seal the deal.

As soon as the meeting for final approvals was called to order Mayor Macnair stood up and put a motion on the floor to initiate a study of the pasture land across the highway from the highway contractors yards. The other mayors immediately voted yea and the other rural directors shrugged and agreed. It only cost another $50,000 to prove it was a swamp. By the summer of 2004 Macnair had the board spend a lot more then $50,000  trying to dump the transfer station on the laps of the rural residents bordering the highway contractors yards. Locating a transfer station in those yards was contrary to RDEK zoning and Provincial Policies, and the lease agreement put tax payers money in the contractors pockets annually forever. Mike Sosnowski chaired the public hearing required to rezone the property for a transfer station where a hall full of angry residents made the RDEK back down. Then we started all over again.


Peter Ross