Park Place Lodge

By Keith Liggett

Someone calls in a dead body in a field. The coroner shows up and determines the cause of death is blunt force trauma. Just by happenstance, an Interior Health manager from Kelowna is driving by and gets out to look at the body. And the Director from Tourism Fernie joins them. And then the Chamber Manager, too. Seeing a crowd, Mayor Ang joins the growing group, of course. Eventually even the Manager from Fernie Alpine Resort stops and walks across the field to join the group standing around staring at the body.

They look around. The field is empty. Just a body wearing a helmet, a pair of goggles and a small backpack.

No vehicles in sight.

“Blunt force trauma. It looks like he got hit by a truck. Must be a hit and run.” says one of them.

The FAR Manager says, “Let me call Calgary.” He pulls his phone out. Walks off. Makes the call and walks back to the group. “Yeah. Hit and run.”

They all nod in agreement.

An engineer from Teck is driving by and, being an open-minded engineer, he stops, gets out of his truck and joins the group circled around the dead body.

One of them, nodding welcome to him, says, “It’s a hit and run.”

He looks at the body. The helmet. The goggles. The pack. He shakes his head, points to the sky above and an airplane. “No, his parachute didn’t open.”

“No, hit and run”

“No, it’s a hit and run.

The Tourism Fernie Director says, “We just put up a whole page of travel instructions on our web site, he just didn’t pay attention. It’s a hit and run.”

The Interior Health manager pulls out a spread sheet from the office in Kelowna and starts explaining the predominance of blunt force trauma in hit and runs.

The engineer shakes his head and leaves them in the field surrounding the body, now chanting in chorus, “It’s a hit and run.”

The internal Teck Covid report on December 21, 2020 reported thirty-seven active cases of Covid in their mines, with their outside contractors, and detailed the contact tracing. The internal report on January 26, 2021 (most recent) reported only four cases in their mines, outside contractors, and detailed the contact tracing. In five weeks, they dropped from thirty-seven cases to four active cases.

Tech has required their employees to rigorously follow the guidelines of Dr. Bonnie Henry—no non-essential travel, social distancing, remain in your household pod.

In that five weeks, under the guidance of our civic leaders, the Fernie Covid cases have risen from single digits to sixty-three officially and positioned the City of Fernie as the second community outbreak in BC. A notable position in the province.

Of those figures, it is important to note–these are sixty-three cases within the residents registered in the Fernie Local Health Area (LHA), but they are a zero in the Fernie figures.

In Dr. Ron Clark’s Zoom Covid talk to the Fernie Chamber community Monday January 21, 2021, he stated the infection rate was over 20% at the test site in Sparwood. One in five tests come back positive. By the time the numbers get to Interior Health and they discard all the out of area tests, they get to 10-12%. Dr. Clark is on the ground here. Interior Health is in Kelowna. Interior Health tried to walk back his numbers, but Dr. Clark’s numbers are correct. Do the math, that puts us at about a hundred and twenty-six cases in the Fernie LHA, not sixty-three. And that is last Saturday. Who knows what the number climbed to in the last six days?

David Wilks, mayor of Sparwood, was quoted in the Free Press, ““Don’t go to Fernie unless there’s a need to…”

From the Free Press, “Fernie Mayor Ange Qualizza said the cases currently in Fernie and surrounding communities are the result of community transmission and not out-of-province travel.”

Maybe someone should remind Mayor Ang Qualizza, Wuhan lies one very large ocean (the Pacific) and half a continent away. This pandemic is all about “out-of-province travel” and transmission.

The Fernie outbreak is directly the result of the influx of Alberta residents blatantly ignoring the guidelines and recommendations of Dr. Bonnie Henry over Christmas break and on weekends. Skiing in Fernie is non-essential travel at it’s finest. We’re in this current mess because the powers that be have been putting the economy ahead of Fernie’s public health. All facilitated by a complete and utter lack of respect for the BC Health guidelines by the non-essential visitors.

We, the citizens of Fernie, are the dead body in the field. And it was a hit and run.

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