Living in a ski resort town means residents have to have a high tolerance level for lots of things. Winter season brings a huge increase in population, both from parts of Canada and from overseas, and this means longer line ups at the stores, events selling out before you can get your tickets, and of course, the problems associated with drinking.
Nobody wants to see beer cans littering the streets downtown, or be woken up in the early hours by loud music from the bars or drunk yells from people staggering home after a night out, or see smashed windows and vomit outside businesses the next day. But seasonal people are essential to the town, and without them there would be no ski hill. What attracts them to choose to come to work in Fernie is the incredible snow we get here, and the awesome terrain at the resort, but also the apres ski. If Fernie didn’t have any bars, I am sure some would still come for everything else Fernie offers, but many would go somewhere else to work where they can party it up too. There is always Whistler.
That is not to say we should tolerate antisocial behaviour caused by drinking, it needs to be controlled. That is what the RCMP are for. And Fernie will, thankfully, never be a party town like Whistler. But I was happy to see that council approved a licence for the Royal Hotel to hold an end of season party for all the seasonal workers until 4 a.m. Fernie should give them a good send off. It would have been easier for council to agree with the RCMP, and just say no, but what message is that sending out? Fernie council won’t allow businesses to hold special events? Businesses should be encouraged to think outside the box, that is what keeps them going. Residents need to know when certain occasional annoyances have to be tolerated for the long term good of the town and its economy. And seasonal workers should be encouraged to come back to Fernie to work, a town with great snow, a great nightlife, and a council that encourages entrepreneurship.