Discussions ongoing over Elk River clean up and flood protection
By Mary Giuliano,
City of Fernie
The June flooding prompted a joint local government discussion regarding clean up of the Elk River, with representatives from the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK), District of Sparwood, District of Elkford, Teck Coal Ltd, Canfor Corporation, Tembec and interested members of the public.
This initial meeting led to an agreement to share information and ask for a meeting with provincial government ministries at the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ (UBCM) convention this September.
A follow-up meeting at City Hall was held August 14 with the additional attendance of: Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett; Jeremy Zandberger of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, NRO; Kristina Anderson, MFLNRO-Water Stewardship; Wes Shoemaker, Ministry of Environment; David Curtis of the Ministry of Justice; Antoine Berrault, Ministry of Forest, Lands and NRO; and Dwayne Boyer, who gave a video presentation on the aerial assessment of several sites along the Elk River and tributaries to assist with defining future activities required for flood protection.
Previous to the meeting RDEK Electoral Area A Director Mike Sosnowski took Bennett and government personnel on a land tour of some of the areas affected to view changes and damage.
Ensuing discussion was in regards to funding sources, utilizing trees and finding good rock to place in the river, responsibility for this work, streamlining process, studying only certain sections of the river, working with the Federal Government, having all levels of government working together as there isn’t funding to do mitigation from one source, issue of private land, need to remove the river from high points and being pro-active before another flooding event happens.
At end everyone agreed to meet with ministries at UBCM.
The town is looking good with the ‘Mountain themed’ flowers of white, yellow, purple and red. Although we have lost parking spaces with the patios, people have noticed the vibrancy and colour they are contributing to downtown.
A proliferation of gophers and weeds has caused some residents and visitors to perceive that the City of Fernie doesn’t care about the Cemetery; I can reassure you that isn’t the case. The Cemetery Committee is now in place and will work towards attaining a visible symbol to honour those who have no final resting place.
The Leisure Services Master Plan was presented to council with recommendations such as relocating the arena, curling club and community center to the Aquatic Centre grounds. BC Hydro is proposing to upgrade the Fernie substation, the new soccer field at Max Turyk is in progress, new playground equipment has been installed at Max Turyk as well.
The Fernie Ghostriders asked for support for installation of new marsh pegs, plexi-glass above the visitor’s penalty box and painting of lines and circles for hockey ice markings and council has requested BC Transit to consider a Handi Dart bus service within Fernie.
Development Cost Charge Update is in the works, plan for local reduction of home energy and organic waste and Official Community Plan update could be finalized by the end of this year.
Congratulations to Ecole Sophie-Morigeau, Francophone School opening its doors this September at Max Turyk. September saw the National Western Regional Mine Rescue Competition at Max Turyk and the arena.
On September 4 we received a visit from Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of BC.