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Win a prize and help out FerniePosted: June 30, 2012

Mayor’s Update

By Mary Giuliano

As usual there is much happening, including the Quality of Life Survey that you should have received in your mail by now. Bonus draw prize of either a ski pass or large TV screen when you fill out the survey and enter the draw. Please make time to fill it out and return it as the data collected will identify trends and provide the necessary information to update the Index.

I have been attending numerous events giving speeches and also judged the Miss Elkford Ambassador pageant.  These were the fun events. However, I have attended many meetings regarding important issues affecting our town. Add to that the many concerns expressed by residents; from loud noise at night,  back yard fire pits,  whistle cessation, affordable housing, lack of directional signage, i.e. for getting to places and for identifying our parks and buildings, downtown vandalism and numerous complaints about potholes. Fifth Avenue is slated to be redone this year and many potholes will be filled beginning this coming week.

A working group has been formed to look at the Resort Municipality Initiative Funding  to look at what projects will receive assistance  but council will still have the last word as to where funding is directed.

Many people commented on wanting the Miners Walk cleared during the winter months this will now happen as the society has raised enough money to provide this service.

A nuisance bylaw has been passed to combat downtown vandalism and city staff has been directed to bring back a report on how to implement cameras, also wattage will be increased in the downtown lights posts.

There is a Liquid Waste Management Plan being worked on for managing storm water and sewage that is required by the Ministry of Environment.  An open house was held last month so the public could familiarize itself with what this means. This three step plan is now in its second stage of evaluating and selecting the projects, programs, policies and practices to successfully address the issues and challenges of managing this in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Simply put, water that enters from above ground as runoff is either directed to the sewer system or is naturally flowing through holes after snow melt and rainfall and also when it enters the system from underground through leaky pipes or sump pumps.  This results in an overloaded sewage treatment system that is not equipped to handle all that fluid making it necessary to discharge treated effluent to the river from time to time.

Residents from Parkland Terrace can now read the report for Site Suitability and Servicing Analysis for the area the city has interest in developing. This report is available on the city website and also as hard copy at the city hall.

A response was received from the RCMP Superintendent regarding lack of cells for use in Fernie. There are no plans to either refurbish the cells or replace the detachment building.  A response is being sent stating Council’s strong objection to this.

The final draft of the budget has passed, staff worked diligently to bring the tax increase from over five to less than four percent.  It was determined that staff budgets all had to cut back a little to make up the nearly $74,000 shortfall, this they were able to achieve.

Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has funding for a new sub-region initiative that Electoral Area A director Mike Sosnowski, District of Sparwood Mayor Lois Halko, District of Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher and I are joining forces on to see what type of project can be achieved for our region as a whole. We will be meeting with CBT in early July to discuss this.

Council has sent letters to neighbouring communities stating that if interest is there to host the 2016 or 2018 Winter Games it will have to be done as equal partners as it is believed no single community has the necessary 2500 volunteers required to do it alone.

Work will soon begin on updating the Official Community Plan (OCP) by the Whistler Centre for Sustainability, members from the community will be part of the advisory committee so if interested please send a letter stating so. This is a most critical topic, the OCP is what guides the way Fernie looks and grows, please become involved as this will affect the future of our town.

Council sent a letter to the Ministry of Environment stating their support of the Bear Aware educational program that had been denied funding. We have now been informed that the province will provide support for 40 communities in B.C. to assist with education to decrease human- bear encounters this year.

Council had received a letter from PARTY program coordinator Mary Jane Leppard stating that this program would no longer take place due to lack of space at Elk Valley Hospital.  Having attended this program several times I am aware of the positive impact it has on participating youth.  After speaking with IH Administrator Shirley Mercier who is very desirous of seeing this program continue we set up a meeting attended by Councillors Shelley McLean of Elkford, Margaret McKie of Sparwood, Randal Macnair and Joni Krats of Fernie, Amy Chris and Bernie Palmer of  Ambulance Services,  Firemen Tom Hopkins and Dave Kurschenska both long time directors of the PARTY program and volunteer participants, Staff Sergeant Lorne Craig of the RCMP, Mary Jane Leppard, Shirley Mercier and myself.

The group discussed the merits of the program and decided that they would do whatever possible to continue it.  It is too late for this year however Staff Sergeant Craig surprised everyone with the announcement that the RCMP will be conducting an “After Party” for Grade 10 students this coming fall.

“This doesn’t replace the PARTY program, it serves to enhance it.  It will be a day of focusing on relationships, communication, service to others, equality and social justice, integrity, responsibility, self-esteem and sense of purpose as well as other topics.  Students will be grouped and asked to come up with events to replace the Friday or Saturday night party and given real life scenarios to learn from.”  The day is filled with information to help teens find their “spark,” said S/Sgt. Craig. Kudos to our local RCMP detachment for bringing this program forward.

Mary Giuliano is the Mayor of Fernie


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