A look back at 2017 in Fernie
By Mayor Mary Giuliano
City of Fernie
Fernie had a good year in 2017 with much achieved from each department.
Several projects such as the James White Park Well river crossing, West Fernie Phase 1 and Fernie Ford property annexation were completed with West Fernie Phase 2 just coming into our boundary this past December. There were 28 new detached homes with a construction value of over $25,000,000 built and this activity shows that people have confidence and want to invest in the community.
The short-term rental regulation development was started in 2016 with a bylaw implemented in fall of 2017. A floodplain mapping update was initiated, completed and the bylaw updated. Sewage Treatment Plant upgrades with alum and UV additions were completed. The street paving projects in Mountview and Parkland Terrace, water-main and sewer-main replacements in Maintown neighbourhood were completed as well as an irrigation system was installed at Ridgemont Park.
An asset maintenance reporting tool was developed and used for dike inspections, manhole inspections and windrow removal. Public bear proof bins were placed in strategic locations to reduce wildlife/human conflicts and strengthened regulations for curbside residential waste collection were put in place.
Roof repairs were completed at the Aquatic Centre, Max Turyk Community Centre and The Arts Station as well as deck repairs and replacement and turf improvements completed at Max Turyk Community Centre.
Substantial work was accomplished on the Subdivision & Development Servicing Bylaw with public engagement and adoption with increased public education of bylaws and regulations via a campaign administered by bylaw students. A part time communications coordinator position was added and 58 grants and partnering agreements were made with different organizations totaling $824,065.
Increased public engagement through open houses, public halls and surveys were conducted and an action plan to implement recommendations in HR Audit was created. Facility improvements include a completed renovation at the Visitor Centre located on Highway 3 and installation of new interpretive signage.
The Inter-community business license agreement with Elkford and Sparwood and new Inter-community Business License Bylaw was adopted and 660 business licenses issued.
The 2016 census surprised with a population of 5,250 residents that resulted in having to pay 70% of policing costs instead of 30 % due to achieving the 5,000 threshold.
There were several issues that brought forth much comment from the community; one being the use of herbicide to control invasive plants, which is something that is mandated by the provincial government as invasive plants can quickly overrun natural habitat and destroy it. A study was commissioned to identify and show exactly where these plants are located around town. The director of leisure services was planning on trying natural products to see if these growths could be eradicated.
The year 2017 had Fernie featured on the Rick Mercer Show (pictured above) and also had famed actor Liam Neeson film here, filming scenes for the film Hard Powder, due for release this year.
The July 1, Canada 150 celebration was fantastic with thousands attending.
Many positive things were achieved this past year but perhaps the one thing that will never be forgotten is the tragedy with the loss of our valued employees Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith and contractor Jason Podloski. This loss was shocking in every way possible. At times still so unbelievable and painful for everyone especially for their loved ones.
The positive that came out of this incredible sorrow was the generosity of spirit shown to our community and the amazing love of residents coming together to swiftly build an outdoor rink with the generous donation of rink boards and funds by the Calgary Flames Foundation and others. And the generous donations of labour, equipment and material provided so quickly by our citizens without being asked.
On February 16, the city of Fernie is hosting a luncheon for all volunteers as an expression of thanks to all who give of themselves in the many ways that you do to this community.
This will be held in the Senior Centre across from City Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please come and enjoy a lovely lunch prepared by the ladies. There will be some door prizes, a couple of short speeches and of course some very good company because in this world there is nothing better than people who give from the heart and that is exactly what volunteers are.
Thank you everyone and Happy New Year.