New snow and ice removal policy adopted for Fernie
By Erin Knutson
City of Fernie council Nov. 22 adopted a new snow and ice control policy and directed staff to increase the 2022 snow removal budget by $180,000.
Following a presentation by Manager of Sustainable Service Delivery Lisa Janssen and a lengthy discussion by council on replacing the outdated policy to reflect current demands and conditions in Fernie, council voted unanimously to adopt the new approach.
“The old policy is quite old and hasn’t been revised since 1997, and the actual service response has just grown through a complaint-driven process over 25 years. As a result, the policy does not reflect the actual response for the huge area of Fernie presenting significant challenges,” said Janssen.
According to Janssen, the new policy, CP2021-001 Snow and Ice Control resulted from a City of Nelson Supreme Court decision ensuring the city had a strong core snow and ice control strategy.
Contention regarding snow removal in Fernie has been high, with complaints and phone calls from the public to City Hall threatening to sue for falls and bordering on harassment with unnecessary Facebook rhetoric, according to staff and council.
“What we need to do is remind people that this process has taken us a heroically long time to do so that we can be nested in a consistent policy-based response to variable conditions,” said Mayor Ange Qualizza.
She also mentioned the ‘Let’s Talk Fernie’ forum for residents to present concerns to staff and council instead of over Facebook, where comments would be lost.
The mayor quickly reminded people that winter is winter regardless of the process and that consistency in their operational response would be at the forefront of implementing the new framework for the modernized core policy.
Along with ‘Let’s Talk Fernie,’ the public was urged to contact [email protected] to contribute to the community conversation on snow and ice removal.
For Fernie, ensuring basic transportation needs are met is the priority this winter season.
“This doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be any snow or ice on the ground – it means we’re going to be consistent and not complaint-driven like the old process. So what we’re working toward is trying to the best of our ability and being extremely consistent,” said Qualizza.
e-KNOW file photo