Tourism partnership boils down to language for Fernie
By Erin Knutson
The City of Fernie moved to enter into a Tourism Master Plan (TMP) agreement as a Tier 1 partner with the Fernie Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Fernie after amendments to document language were discussed at last Monday’s council meeting (Dec. 9).
Public engagement identified the city as a significant player that should be involved in the TMP’s implementation, bringing forth the original agreement that senior staff amended based on concerns of overcommitment.
Councillor Morgan Pulsifer spoke to the responsibility of staff for the Tier 1 membership, outlined in the agreement.
“What are the parameters of a Tier 1 membership for providing resources of ‘in-kind’ staff time over four years? How would we track the staff time to be donated to the city of Fernie?” he said.
Director of Planning Bruce Lennox addressed Pulsifer’s question.
“We would have to wait until the TMP Champions Group identified the projects. We have to develop terms of reference in how the committee would operate,” said Lennox.
Senior staff restructured the TMP agreement with language that would also address time concerns like Coun. Pulsifer’s, after noting requirements that would overextend staffers.
The word “considering” was slated to address outside projects where the city identified as the lead organization and “championing” for projects in which council was committed.
Mayor Ange Qualizza spoke to the issue of time constraints and meeting strategic priorities for 20, 21, and 22 first.
“We had quite a bit of discussion with Mr. Schaffer (Interim CAO, Don Schaffer), during our strategic planning session and working with external groups that are doing great work in the community. The language change is the most important. We will consider all the things you’ve assigned us, but they need to fit with our strategic priorities and our four-year work plan,” she said.
The language in the document was purposely modified to address concerns of overcommitment and in the interest of streamlining a collaboration of the city of Fernie with external agencies as they move forward.
“We are intentionally calling back a veil of commitment that we can’t see through—that was the problem Mr. Schaffer identified on our behalf; it seems we have overcommitted. We don’t have that kind of time. Expectations are already changing in how we work together to implement the masterplan,” said Qualizza.
She highlighted the benefit of developing the tourism industry and refining processes with external agencies by working together to develop the best strategy moving forward to create opportunities for engagement for non-tourism projects that could potentially impact or benefit tourism.
“Prior to Mr. Schaffer having amended some of this language, I think we all felt the same as you councillor, Pulsifer, that we were overextending ourselves, but I feel a little more confident now,” she said.
For more information see Item 7.3 Fernie Dec. 9 Agenda