Mary’s Fernie Council Update 02/15 February 14, 2012Posted by admin in : News , trackback
Two full months into the job has provided an incredible amount of information to absorb, some extremely interesting, some mind-numbing, all useful in specific ways.
Being mayor is not much different from being a councillor unless you’re the type of person that is impressed by the title. It holds more responsibility because the mayor conducts the meetings and also contributes to the agenda but then any councillor that wants a certain item on the agenda can have it placed there.
What I’m experiencing is that after nine years of being a councillor and listening intently to each person speaking I find myself now doing the same thing so that at times I miss those wanting to speak until it is pointed out. I’m sure to get better looking side to side to view the entire room while still paying attention to the speaker. This may sound like an easy task but believe me previous mayors that have made it seem easy have actually just been very good.
As my request for a newsletter to the public hasn’t yet materialized, to be as personally transparent as possible I will continue to write updates, of course if anyone wishes to speak to me I am always available to hear concerns or advice.
Deer culling has become a very contentious issue in Cranbrook, Kimberly and Invermere. Fernie doesn’t have the type of problem with deer that those municipalities have but in a start to prevent future problems I have initiated deer education that will be done by Kathy Murray who delivers the Bear Aware program so successfully.
There are several items being considered by council to combat vandalism and noise downtown such as a nuisance bylaw, cameras and brighter wattage in the light posts. I want to hear your opinion on this. How do feel about cameras downtown, do you think it would be a deterrent to crime?
Snow removal is another lively topic. Snow removal is done with a rotation that begins in a different area of town each time that means that sometimes your area is cleared early or much later. It’s still difficult to realize the schedule of moving vehicles from one side of the street to the other for some people but it’s impossible for the streets to be cleaned properly when vehicles are in the way. Snow clearing begins at four in the morning, I have received concerns about noise disturbances to the public but we have to understand that it is a safety issue to beep loudly when the equipment is working. Another question, are you willing to have your taxes increased in order to have windrow clearing service for everyone?
I have been informed that there is a lot of rumor and misinformation regarding paving of roads specifically Ghostrider Industrial Park. For many years this area has been ignored for paving due to costs. Presently, Manitou Road is in the budget for paving next year. This is the main road fronting the highway; the interior of the Park will have to wait for more years unless owners of the businesses are willing to be involved in a parcel tax to make this happen.
The City has an overall paving plan that identifies where and when roads get paved each year. Last year by condensing the work on Ninth Avenue from three years to one as had previously been planned over a million dollars was saved.
This year research is being conducted to see if paving can be done in a green manner that would result in more roads being paved with less cost. Council and staff are very aware of the work that needs to be done with infrastructure. Fernie is over one hundred years old; our infrastructure is in need of replacement in many areas of town.
Another contentious issue is the possibility of a new fire hall. Previous councils spent much time discussing a building that would have included a fire hall, police, ambulance and search and rescue. Many areas of town were looked at as possible sites to house such a building. Regulations set where a fire hall can be situated, for instance it has to be within the two bridges and it can’t be across the train tracks. Unfortunately there is not much available land, when the soccer field across from 901 became available it was purchased for $700,000 and considered as a possible site. It was conceivable that this might not be the best place however it was explained that a building could be esthetically pleasing while facing the tracks and no sirens would sound so as not to disturb the residents nearby. Of course none of this would transpire without first having consultation with the public, a referendum to borrow the large funding to make this building a reality would also have to be considered giving the public opportunity by voting whether this is something that is wanted or needed. Present fire hall is in need of repair, a new fire hall is a priority but definitely not in the budget this year. Council wants to make the right decision of whether the present building gets repaired and remodelled or a new fire hall built by borrowing. Fiscal reality is front and centre as is safety for our firefighters. Regardless of the decision arrived at the City does have an asset with the ownership of the soccer fields, but ultimately it will be up to the residents to choose what they want. However I do appreciate the strong opinions out there.
Fernie has been extended an invitation by the province to host the 2016 or 2018 winter and summer games. Do we have the volunteer base to work on such a large project? I would definitely like to hear from all of you regarding this request.
There is a large group of people who are consistently feeling their lives are disrupted and their peace destroyed by the sound of the train whistle. As with all issues there are those who feel that the whistle is the sound of prosperity and also part of Fernie’s history. Council has requested a meeting with CPR to address this situation once again.
Good news for West Fernie, 1.5 million dollars has been awarded towards the West Fernie Dike upgrade project. This will take two to three years to complete.
I will be at the Fernie Heritage Library on Wednesday February 22 at ten o’clock to meet with all business owners that would like to come and discuss concerns, ideas or thoughts.
As always I am here to answer questions and hear concerns and suggestions, email me at email@example.com, or call at 250 423-6817 to book an appointment. I will do my best to accommodate your time schedule.