July was full of hot days but August has a morning chill giving notice that summer will soon be over. Hot days didn’t stop work and at City Hall we have been pretty busy.
The June flooding prompted a joint local Government discussion regarding cleanup of the Elk River with representatives from the RDEK, District of Sparwood, District of Elkford, Teck Coal ltd, Canfor Corporation, Tembec, Elk River Alliance and interested members of the public. This initial meeting led to an agreement to share mapping information and ask for a meeting with different Ministries at the UBCM convention this coming September.
A follow-up meeting at City Hall was held August 14th with the above and with the additional attendance of MLA Bill Bennett, Jeremy Zandberger Ministry of Forests, Land, NRO, Kristina Anderson MFLNRO-Water Stewardship, Wes Shoemaker Ministry of Environment, David Curtis Ministry of Justice, Antoine Berrault Ministry of Forest, Lands and NRO and Dwayne Boyer who provided a video presentation on the aerial assessment of several sites along the Elk River and tributaries to assist with defining future activities required for flood protection. Previous to the meeting Director Sosnowski took Bennett and Ministry personnel on a land tour of some of the areas affected to view changes and damage.
Ensuing discussion was in regards to funding sources, utilizing trees and finding good rock to place in the river, responsibility for this work, streamlining process, studying only certain sections of the river, working with the Federal Government, having all levels of government working together as there isn’t funding to do mitigation from one source, issue of private land, need to remove the river from high points and being pro- active before another flooding event happens. At end everyone agreed to ask for a meeting with the associated Ministries at UBCM. We want to thank Mr. Bennett, Mr. Shoemaker, Mr. Zandberger, Mr. Curtis, Ms. Anderson and everyone that attended this important meeting. The Elk River means a great deal to the entire Valley and this display of concern is encouraging.
The Beautification committee thanks everyone in the community for their support of the Fernie in Bloom initiative; the town is looking good with the “Mountain themed” flowers of white, yellow, purple and red. Although we have lost parking spaces with the patios people have noticed the vibrancy and colour they are contributing to downtown.
Proliferation of gophers and weeds has caused some residents and visitors to perceive that the City of Fernie doesn’t care about the Cemetery; I can reassure you that isn’t the case. I care a great deal as both my parents are buried there and changes will forthcoming next year. The Cemetery Committee is now in place and will work towards attaining a visible symbol to honour those that have no final resting place.
The Leisure Services Master plan was presented to council with recommendations previously discussed such as relocating the arena, curling club and community center to the Aquatic Center grounds. BC Hydro is proposing to upgrade the Fernie substation, the new soccer field at Max Turyk is in progress and already looking pretty impressive, new playground equipment has been installed at Max Turyk as well.
Ghostrider President Anderson has asked for support for the installation of new marsh pegs, plexi glass above the visitor’s penalty box and the painting of lines and circles for the hockey ice markings instead of using paper and council has requested BC Transit to consider a Handi Dart bus door to door service for seniors and those with disabilities within Fernie.
A Development Cost Charge Update is being worked on, as is a plan for local reduction of home energy and organic waste and the Official Community Plan update could be finalized by the end of this year, thanks to a volunteer group that has been working in conjunction with the hired consultant. Congratulations to Ecole Sophie-Morigeau, the Francophone School opening its doors this September at Max Turyk.
September 6 & 7th will see the National Western Regional Mine Rescue Competition hosted here in Fernie. Mine rescue is very important to our communities, they are sometimes the first people to come to an accident and their strong training contributes greatly not only to the workplace but to the community as a whole. So please come out and support the competitions