#1 –Busy Night for Delegations
➢ Council was busy Monday night hearing presentations from six organizations which included: a quarterly report from Constable Andy Veltmeyer of the RCMP; an overview of the proposed outdoor skating rink from Mr. Frank Palski; an overview of the upcoming Taste of Fernie event from Mr. Kevin McIsaac; an update from Mr. Ronan Mac Con regarding the Fernie Childcare Society; an update on funding for the Bear Aware Program from Ms. Kathy Murray; and a presentation from Ms. Velma McKay on behalf of the East Kootenay and District Labour Council regarding the minimum wage in BC.
#2 – Bear Aware Program gets $10,000 Boost
➢ Ms. Kathy Murray of the local Bear Aware Program was successful with her recent grant application to the Ministry of Environment for $10,000 toward the Program. In January this year Council passed a resolution stating that if additional funding were obtained by Bear Aware, the money would be turned over to the City to reduce its earlier contribution to the Program. Despite this, Council decided to allow the Bear Aware Program to retain the funds to be used for the purposes for which they were granted: providing educational materials and completion of a bear hazard assessment. The Bear Aware Program focuses on reducing bear/human conflict through education.
#3 – Support for Increase to Minimum Wage Provided
➢ The East Kootenay and District Labour Council came seeking a City Council resolution to call upon the provincial government to increase the minimum wage to $10.00 per hour. Ms. Velma McKay provided an overview of a letter submitted to City Council regarding the minimum wage in BC. The letter identifies the current minimum wage of $8.00 per hour which has been frozen for the past six years as a contributing factor to the housing affordability crisis, among other problems.
The letter also notes that the communities of Elkford, Sparwood, Creston, Golden and Canal Flats have all provided their support for this initiative. Council passed a resolution indicating its support for the proposed increase.
#4 – Council Supports Taste of Fernie Event
➢ Mr. Kevin McIsaac representing the Taste of Fernie Organizing Committee addressed Council by announcing some of the plans for this year’s event which is scheduled for September 14th and 15th in CP Station Square. He also called for volunteers to assist and requested Council’s support for the event’s Special Occasion Liquor Licences. Council provided its support for the event in general and specifically for two Special Occasion Liquor Licences which will allow liquor to be served from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Friday night and from 12:00 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday night.
#5 – Outdoor Skating Rink Plan Approved
➢ Mr. Frank Palski provided Council with an update on the proposed location of the outdoor skating rink adjacent to the Aquatic Centre and other details regarding this community-driven initiative. City Council approved the project which will be made possible primarily through the assistance of volunteers.
The City of Fernie will provide some benches and contribute $1000.00 toward the purchase of shovels and other miscellaneous items. The Fire Department will provide the water and the public works crew may occasionally assist with removal of heavy snow cover on an “as-available” basis only.
The plan is to commence with construction following Labour Day weekend and the hope is to have the skating rink fully functional sometime before Christmas, weather permitting. Hours of operation will be sunrise to 10:00 p.m. and no hockey sticks, pucks or other objects will be allowed on the ice at any time. If the project is well received and supported, preliminary plans for a Phase II expansion that would allow for hockey to be played may also come to fruition.
#6 – Fernie Memorial Arena Renovations/Expansion
➢ City Council was provided with an update regarding the renovations and expansion planned for the Fernie Memorial Arena. It was noted that the installation of new boards and glass is currently underway and that work is expected to be completed on time and on budget. In regards to the expansion to provide four new dressing rooms, increased storage and improved public washrooms it was noted that the size of the addition has been increased by 24% based on input from user groups and arena staff and that since the initial budget for this work was developed construction costs have increased.
Overall, preliminary estimates of the increased cost due to an increase in size and construction costs are in the neighbourhood of $250,000. Council was advised that the necessary funding for the increased costs could come from a 2008 budget allocation for a heating, ventilating and air conditioning unit for the Courthouse that could be deferred so that the Arena expansion could go ahead as envisioned. Overall, the Arena expansion will create a better facility for user groups and the public and extend the life of this important community recreational amenity.
#1 –Busy Night for Delegations