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Posted: October 6, 2013

It’s been a busy month

marygiulianocloseMayors update – Sept. 2013

By Mary Giuliano

September has been a whirlwind of meetings, convention, conferences, the Lieutenant Governor’s visit and many more interesting events.

Two days of meetings at the Regional District of East Kootenay and Mine Rescue competition, descendants of William Fernie (pictured above), who donated original letters from Fernie, an elected officials meeting hosted by RDEK and Electoral Area A Director Mike Sosnowski with representatives from southern Alberta as well as mayors Dean McKerracher (Elkford), Lois Halko (Sparwood) and council members and staff.

The next day Mayor Halko, McKerracher and I flew to Vancouver to attend the Coal Conference. This was Lois’s and my first attendance but Dean has been before and it was quite amazing to see him in action. He is not shy about going up to people and introducing himself and in no time we were chatting with attendees from around the world regarding coal and other related businesses.

Teck senior vice president and chief operating officer Ian Kilgour acknowledged our presence to the attendees and thanked us for attending. Past owner of Grand Cache Coal Robert H. Stan was presented with the Award of Distinction and in his address mentioned working at Fording, saying “In 1986 the bottom fell but in 1987 there was a correction in the coal market, I started to understand and enjoy the coal business, we were first to sell coal into Iran and Europe, in order to be successful I had to set out to find smart people. Working with tremendous amount of good people helped me look good, the team made my job much easier than it should have been, but now we need to get facts out, not emotional, coal is the most abundant energy source on the planet, it has fuelled and will continue to be the economic growth in the world. Steel coal fired plants are here to stay.”

During the three-day conference there were panel discussions and presentation by leading authorities. Analysts, consultants, presidents and vice- presidents, and general managers spoke, led by moderator Gerard McCloskey, accepted as a world authority and adviser to numerous banks, power, steel and coal companies globally as well as addressing European and British parliamentary assemblies and committees.

It was obvious that coal mining is considered to be the one economic driver that can boost a country from being poverty stricken to one with a great standard of living. It was articulated that it is required to put the facts out that coal is not the awful thing made out to be by some although they want to make sure that everything possible is done to mitigate any negative effects of resource extraction. The Union of BC Municipalities’ (UBCM) convention started with a meeting on Sunday of the Highway 3 coalition of mayors who have identified priorities, some of which have been addressed.

MGCol PremierLocally, Alexander Creek Bridge, Sparwood passing lane, Olson Crossing, Galloway Flats and Wardner passing lane have all been completed. Creston will get a signalized intersection at Pine and Highway 3 where the grain elevators are as part of a total realignment of the intersection.

At the meeting with Premier Christy  Clark and Minister of Transportation Todd Stone I got a surprise bit of recognition with the Premier requesting a photograph with me before one with the entire group.

UBCM’s schedule of events begins at 7 a.m. and ends late in the day. Besides clinics and forums there are meetings with ministers. We attended the Mayors’ Caucus and I attended the Resort Municipalities meeting, West Fernie Servicing and Restructure project meeting with Minister Oaks, separate meetings with Minister Stone and Minister Thomson regarding Elk River assessment, meetings with BC Hydro regarding the substation and placing lighting along portions of Highway 3 leading to Dicken Road as well as attending plenary sessions and voting for new members to the UBCM executive.

Home Saturday I was honoured to give an address as mayor to the classes of 1962, ‘63,’64, and ‘65. Eighty people gathered at the Best Western ballroom to enjoy an evening of reminiscing and catching up with old friends.

Sunday was the grand opening of the energy diet program and the new playground at Max Turyk. Monday was a public hearing for the RDEK and a regular meeting of council with the topic of home based business changes to Area A affecting Hosmer and south on the agenda. After hearing delegations Council shifted their decision to not support this request.

Tuesday had a meeting of the CBT Community Directed Funds with committee members, RDEK planner, CBT and consultants. Wednesday was a public meeting for RDEK in Hosmer Hall, Thursday a meeting with Columbia Power and Friday meetings regarding a number of initiatives in the works for this area.

A highlight was the grand opening of the Fernie Museum held on Saturday, and Sunday evening was a tribute to retiring minister Dennis Williamson, Trinity Pentecostal Church and ending the month was the grand opening of the renovated Seniors Centre, thanks to Jim and Alice Booth and executive.

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