West Fernie may be a problem area for some but that is not the doing of the residents. In the beginning the logging and mining companies, developers and perhaps the business community with approval from the government created a subdivision for workers with no water, sewer, dikes or proper roads. It was the residents themselves who replaced the original wells and outhouses with a community water works and septic systems then negotiated agreements with the City for services that brought welcome revenue to the City for negligible investment.
This will be the fourth attempt to convince West Fernie residents that they need engineering infrastructure that can service a far higher population density. The present residents don’t need that. The water system is competent to serve them and the City is totally responsible for keeping it sompetent. Tests by Interior Health show there is no health problem caused by the septic sewer systems. The dikes protecting West Fernie are working. The Department of Transport looks after the roads. The proposed dikes are within present City boundaries and will protect existing City businesses: Smittys restaurant and the Super 8 Motel.
The present West Fernie residents don’t need the subject 16.8 million in infrastructure so why are they being told it is their responsibility?
The reason for installing 16.8 million in engineering infrastructure is to permit high density development and a higher density population. Neither of which will increase present residents’ quality of life. In a free market system it is the developer who is responsible for raising and risking the venture capital required to install the engineering infrastructure and it is right they should derive a reasonable profit from the sale of lots and buildings. They have no right to the profit when taxpayers venture the capital and take all the risks.
If there was a way for West Fernie residents to profit from the infrastructure they are asked to invest in it could be worth their while. However, the problematic world economy does not suggest development of West Fernie is a money maker and I expect that is one of the reasons the one per cent want the 99 per cent to risk the venture capital. Whatever the reasons having someone else pay your way will improve a developer’s bottom line. The deal that must be negotiated must not have West Fernie residents paying higher fees than City residents. The loss of quality of life is more than enough injury to inflict on them. They must be informed the two legal agreements will stand until they willingly agree to replace them.