Mayoral update for August 2014

Several meetings and events are worth mentioning from August.

By Mayor Mary Giuliano

Several meetings and events are worth mentioning from August, one being a meeting with Dr. Robert Halpenny, Board Chair Norman Embree and others from IH to complain about some issues.  I was told that, “When Dr. Nalley retires, if the hospital is unable to fill the position in the same way as Dr. Nalley works, the operating room (OR) will close.” I don’t believe this is on the horizon anytime soon, but when it does happen, I responded, saying that Fernie will not take this quietly and that people will object to not having an available OR with the influx of visitors in winter and five mines in close proximity.  This was understood but it is still IH’s plan. I brought up other items of interest and was reassured that some of the items would be addressed.

The city welcomed Staff Sgt. Lorne Craig back as he has been filling in at Cranbrook for the past nineteen months. In his absence, thanks goes to Sgt. Will Thien who did a great job in the Elk Valley. I also welcomed two new constables who recently relocated to this area.

The Salvation Army opened their new thrift shop, so congratulations go to Majors James and Gwen Hagglund.

The free Wapiti Thursday concert was very enjoyable. Kudos goes to the Wapiti team for another successful festival. The Parkland group spearheaded by Tara Beck, Dawn Voysey, Ellen McCauley and Bruce Elson organized a wonderful park dedication to Dr. Sparling East. Many people attended. Kudos goes to the library organizers for a most amazing kids festival. Hundreds of children participated in that fun event with many wonderful activities. I need to thank organizers and volunteers of the Sunday and Wednesday Socials, Mountain Market and all the special summer events.  These activities kept our town wonderfully vibrant all summer.

A new plaque dedication was held at the site of the internment area, with visiting mayors and relatives of those who had been detained in attendance. I  attended the first Elk Valley Hospital baby registration. It provided information on the Obstetrical team, which includes five female physicians who have over 80 years of experience combined, and have delivered close to 1,500 babies. The operative service provides three anaesthetists, two surgeons with C-section capabilities and several specialty trained nurses with countless years of experience. There is also private doula support, post-delivery breast feeding education and home visits from public health nurse after your baby is born.

Kudos goes to the organizers of the Kids Triathlon and to the organizers of the Wam Bam Dirt Jump Jam, both events attracted crowds of people.

James White ball field will be remediated by the end of September and that is good news for those who believed this field wouldn’t be available for next year. The bylaw officer has been ticketing people for infractions and the public isn’t happy. However, after constant complaints saying that the city doesn’t enforce bylaws, this is now being done. The city held an open house regarding development cost charges, and an amendment was made to when a payment will be made, and also this bylaw is being studied for other changes.

The role of Emergency Program Coordinator has been moved from the Director of Corporate Administration to Fire Chief Ted Ruiter as this falls more in line with fire services. Congratulations to Lt. Tom Hopkins, who was awarded the position of Fire Prevention Officer, and to auxiliary Bruce Nelson as the next career member.  Changes are due to Dave Kurscheska’s retirement at the end of 2014.  Dave is an outstanding member of the Fire Department and will be missed.

A partnering agreement between Shaw and the City of Fernie will provide the general public with free guest access to Shaw Go Wi-Fi cloud in downtown and public facilities.

At the Regional District of East Kootenay, I voted in favour of sharing the costs of a Koocanusa transfer bin with the central sub region, as this was supported unanimously by Fernie council.  This cost is based on assessed value to provide users of the area with a place to leave garbage.  This still hasn’t been ratified as other mayors in the Elk Valley haven’t yet agreed.

Coun. Randal Macnair has been appointed to the Fernie Cemetery Committee. The city had legal do a title search that clearly states that on “May 25, 1973 lot 1 plan 8614 acquired by School District No. 1 owned by Crows Nest Industries.” Results of ground penetrating radar have arrived and are with the archaeologist. They will be made public as soon as a report is provided. This is something that this council has wanted to take on, as, although it would have been very easy to ignore the issue as was done in the past, unfortunately as the old saying goes “No good deed goes unpunished,” so council is taking the brunt of misinformation being put forward by people that are only hearing what they want to hear instead of coming to city hall and asking about what is actually being done. If they did, they would discover that an incredible amount of time and effort and funding has been put into this one issue, and all because staff and council care.