November mayor’s update
By now everyone may have heard about ‘Think Elk Valley.’ That’s the funding provided by Columbia Basin Trust for the entire valley to come together to work on a combined project that will benefit all of the residents.
Open houses have been held at all three communities and advertising on a variety of media has also happened. Many good suggestions and ideas have resulted so it will be interesting to see what can be accomplished. Thank you to all who have participated so far.
GPI Chartered Accountants have been appointed the City of Fernie’s municipal auditors for five years; a 2014 Wheel Loader will be purchased and the city is modifying an agreement that will eliminate the necessity to construct an 18-hole golf course at Coal Creek. Today, even established golf courses struggle, finding the interest and funding to build new ones is even more difficult; one only has to look towards our neighbouring communities to see that this is true. However, if in the future this situation changes council has ensured that the lands set aside for a golf course will be retained for that specific use.
After much research by staff council has finally authorized the purchase of appropriate audio/video equipment so that council meetings can be televised. The beautification committee has met with Hal Anderson of South East Disposal and Neil Cook of Waste Management to discuss painting of the large bins in order to make our town look more attractive. More about this initiative will come forward this spring when the call for artists goes out.
I want to thank Courtney Baker of the Arts Station, Vanessa Croome of the Fernie Fix, Gail Adams of the Beautification committee and Julie Commette of the Royal for joining me in this endeavour by forming a subcommittee to work on this project. Their input will be invaluable.
I attended the Teck/ Sport BC Sport Heroes awards last week; recipients were long time volunteers in a variety of sports. John and Adelaine Traverse, Frank Lento, George Smith, Georgina McIntosh, Lyle Skaien, Diane Stemberger, Kay Chesley, and Phil Iddon were presented with a trophy by Rob Newman, president and CEO of Sport BC. Congratulations to these amazing volunteers who have devoted years to helping our children in amateur sport.
I have been asked to address our water, more specifically the water turbidity notices. Our water system relies on Fairy Creek spring as the main source for Fernie and West Fernie. A structure directs chlorinated water into a pipeline that goes into homes. Turbidity levels are measured regularly on a daily basis and when it is FAIR: it means turbidity levels are higher than 1 NTU; children, seniors, people with weakened immune system are advised to drink boiled water or a safe alternative. POOR; means turbidity has exceeded 5 NTUs and everyone is told to drink boiled water or a safe alternative. NTU stands for nephelometric turbidity units. Turbidity is caused by fine suspended particles of organic and other microscopic matter picked up by the water as it passes through the watershed.
The city is developing wells at James White Park so that this problem of turbidity can be solved. To accomplish bringing the wells online the budget includes $2.6 million to be spent in 2013 and 2014 that includes cost of crossing the river that was done two years ago as part of setting the community up with two pressure zones, one for low neighbourhoods such as the Annex, Mountview, Maintown and one for the high neighbourhoods such as Ridgemont, Castle Mountain and Parkland Terrace. This may sound costly but the alternative is a water treatment plant for Fairy Creek that could cost between seven to 10 million or more. I understand the inconvenience and ensuing problems for businesses when turbidity levels are high however safety is paramount for residents and visitors.
As usual the month has passed filled with meetings on a variety of topics. I welcome feedback from everyone regarding decisions made by council. I most often hear the negative remarks which are even more appreciated because it is through those comments that council members are able to hear and see other points of view. Personally, I like to believe that every decision arrived at by council is made with the goal for the benefit of the whole even if at the beginning it doesn’t look that way.