2022 Election Candidates

With two candidates for Mayor, 14 for Council and three for Regional District Area A Director, it is going to be an exciting election season. We asked all candidates the same four questions in an effort to provide a fair opportunity to share their views and provide voters with one location to review these perspectives. It is important to recognize that this is but a snapshot – take the time to learn more about each candidate and consider attending the All Candidates Forum, October 4 at the Fernie Community Centre, in person or virtually. Presented by the Fernie Chamber of Commerce, candidates will be presented with a few pre-submitted questions and there will also be an open-mic portion for the audience to ask questions that haven’t been discussed. 

Thank you to those who have put their names forward to represent the best interests of our residents.  

1. Why did you decide to run for Council / Mayor / Area A Director?
2. What do you believe to be the most pressing concern in our community / region at this time?
3. What outcomes or direction do you want to see Fernie / the Regional District achieve over the next four years?
4. In your opinion, how can we as a community better support elected officials?

Nic Milligan

1. We need a mayor who puts Fernie first, who listens and works with the community, identifies and mobilizes the intelligence, experience, and creativity of our citizens in a unified vision of what Fernie can become.
2. A lack of communication and connection between the city and the community, a key obstacle to solving our most pressing issues, from affordable housing to ailing infrastructure.
3. A suite of common sense, dynamic, and innovative solutions in place with the community fully informed, supportive, and galvanized to realize them. 
4. A community supports elected officials who respect them, keep them informed, and include their expertise. The resulting trust generates respect and support in return, and an understanding and appreciation all are working to improve Fernie.

Ange Qualizza

1. We have critical infrastructure projects that need our attention, I want to continue to drive investment into Fernie, support our asset renewal projects and use my voice at UBCM to ensure we bring funds out of Victoria and into Fernie. 
2. Housing, childcare and insulating our community from the impact of climate related weather events. We must invest in infrastructure to mitigate those threats and continue to make sure Fernie stays a vibrant place to live now and into the future.
3. We need to adopt a regional growth strategy, so that investment in our region will promote and enhance the long-term livability of the region, and ensure that as we develop, we are discussing patterns, transportation, and sustainability.
4. Engage Council, read the reports, and use our Let’s Talk Fernie page. In four years of being the mayor, I have never answered the phone to - I heard on Facebook you were going to do this - and it be true. 
1. Why did you decide to run for Council / Mayor / Area A Director?
2. What do you believe to be the most pressing concern in our community / region at this time?
3. What outcomes or direction do you want to see Fernie / the Regional District achieve over the next four years?
4. In your opinion, how can we as a community better support elected officials?

Tracey Audia Kelly
1. I love Fernie and want it to remain a diverse, inclusive and welcoming place. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that we have gone off course and changeis needed. I believe in taking action to make things better. 
2. We have critical infrastructure issues which will impact our quality of life, our ability to find solutions to issues such as affordability and sustainability and impair our ability to function and develop. 
3. I would like to see improved quality of life, better delivery of services and a plan to resolve and not just band-aid our infrastructure issues for example our sewer system. 
4. Mayor and council are elected to represent and support the community, not the reverse. Two-way communication with the community is crucial and is currently lacking. Citizens should be consulted prior to the expenditure of millions of dollars. 

Patrick Burke

1. I believe in working to provide cost effective solutions to Fernie’s needs, this can be achieved by spending on preventative maintenance. People have lost their options to communicate
with council and if elected I want to reconnect with the public.
2. Most important issue is affordable housing. It’s been a difficult couple of years with the Covid-19 pandemic, now it’s time to work on housing projects as the people of Fernie are in desperate need of rental housing.
3. Continue with mining and tourism, arts and culture, history, and senior facilities and library. Families of all age groups and financial levels living in Fernie and supporting a vibrant school and health care system to ensure children a bright future.
4. Communication between council and the public is key. Open communication, reinstating the 15-minute public input periods and people presenting concerns before council. Officials are there to serve the people, a little less judgement from the people served would be a support.

Blaine Fabi

1. I grew up in Fernie and have returned after 30 years. Upon returning, I was dismayed to see residents’ concerns and well-being being ignored. I decided that Fernie needs someone who can understand and relate to what residents need and want.
2. There are many, but snow removal (so elderly and disabled don’t become housebound all winter), housing costs for the people that live here and make Fernie run, and concern for the health of our valley are some of the most pressing issues. 
3. There used to be a huge sense of pride from the residents of Fernie. That seems to have turned into anger and frustration. I want to help return that pride of living in one of the most beautiful places in the world. 
4. I think the residents of Fernie will support any elected official that actually listens to what is being said and asked for. A council that is fair will always be respected.

Spencer Gough

1. I believe things can be better and decided to do something about it, to make a positive difference in our community. I hope to be a voice of reason and someone the community can feel comfortable to approach and talk to.
2. Currently housing, infrastructure and the lack of a proper communication with the public. Making Fernie a better place to live not just get by.
3. I would like to see better communication from the city to the public and improvement and planning of infrastructure and housing projects. Establishing a project tracker to understand more of what is being done and the state of completion for projects.
4. Understanding that elected officials are human and may not have all the information you might think they do, so communicating issues in a productive and appropriate manner helps expedite solutions.

Kyle Hamilton
1. I feel my first term was “sidetracked” by the pandemic, we didn’t have the opportunity to complete all projects/goals we had set out to achieve. Being re-elected would provide the opportunity to see some of these through to completion.
2. Housing is the issue I hear when talking to people. It’s a complex problem requiring engaged and connected politicians working with federal/provincial counterparts to secure funding and resources. I think the biggest issue is infrastructure replacement costs, needing significant investment.
3. I want to see Fernie continue to be a community that is vibrant, and diverse. I want to be elected to ensure that the decisions made in the next four years positively impact the community for the next 40.
4. Engage in person. We are your neighbours, the parents of your kids’ friends, the people you see at the grocery store. Sitting down to talk is more constructive than a rant on social media. It provides the opportunity to listen, ask questions, and better understand the situation.

Bob Langfield

1. I am campaigning to serve to assist in resolving current issues and planning for the future with a commitment to do the right thing to benefit all stakeholders. The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
2. Our most pressing issue is critical shortage of housing for seasonal workers/visitors in the recreation industry and affordable long-term accommodation. We need to get the city, province and country working together to figure out how to provide affordable housing.
3. Fernie is a rapidly growing diverse community with changing and varied demographics. Many challenges exist which need competent leadership to achieve successful outcomes to benefit the community. Success is best when it’s shared.
4. Active community engagement can better support elected officials through open communication to council, to improve mutual knowledge of issues to assist in making informed rational decisions for the benefit of all. Discuss instead of criticize.

Jonathan MacGregor
1. Fernie is an amazing place to live, but the taxes have risen while the service level provided has fallen. The city has a revolving door of staffing because the culture of the organization is failing. I have operated a service company for 20 years and can see many areas that need to be improved. 
2. That the upcoming investment in public infrastructure is handled properly. Exactly the opposite of the current situation with our only elementary school. After this, policy and culture of the organization.
3. I would love to see Fernie maintain its balance as a town with tourism, not just a tourist town. As well the creation of a community forest similar to Cranbrook and Kimberley. 
4. Fernie is full of engaged community members, that’s not the problem, 
but structurally I would like to see community associations built to ensure a bottoms up approach, instead of the current top down system.

Kevin McIsaac

1. I decided to run for council again for one reason: because I believe my experience on council and familiarity with the issues will allow me to be an effective councillor for the upcoming term.
2. The most pressing issue is housing. The lack of affordable, attainable housing is impacting everyone. Some steps have been taken to lower the barriers to creating more housing, but a great deal of work is still needed.
3. A lot of work for the last four years has been setting up solutions for the next four. The next four will capitalize on that work as we make changes needed to allow for more affordable housing, obtain finances necessary for necessary infrastructure improvements, etc.
4. The best way to support officials, staff, and by extension the community is through communication. Respectful communication about issues, from the smallest to the largest, is an important attribute of any successful community. Civil civic discourse is key.

April Montague

1. I’m passionate about current problems and I think it’s important to participate in democracy, which is why I decided to run for Council. I want to represent low-income people and families in decisions when it comes to our city. 
2. Housing is an ongoing issue that gets worse every year. Inclusive, sustainable options are ski hill staff housing, a municipal rental cap, and “Need to Reside” for home ownership. This is, without a doubt, the most pressing concern in Fernie.
3. I want to see Fernie move towards more inclusive housing and a more ecologically sustainable future. Our waste management system needs to be built for the future generations, and City decision-makers need to think further ahead, avoiding band-aid solutions.
4. The best way to support elected officials is to talk. Tell them your concerns, communicate in a way that maintains respect. People want to run for office because they want to help make positive change. Engage appropriately and consistently, so everyone is heard.

Jesse Mould

1. I just got fed up with how things were going and decided to try do something about it. I want my kids to have a great place to live like I had.
2. Three things: infrastructure, communication with the public and proper staffing/staff assessment. 
3. I would like to see a marked improvement in the city’s critical infrastructure, fire hall and sewer system as some good examples.
4. Shouldn’t council support the public? Fernie should be able to approach
its council and communicate their issues before decisions are made. Communication is a huge problem that needs to be addressed.

Troy Nixon

1. Climate change, a proper asset management plan, housing affordability are huge issues that we can start to address after building on the successes of the last four years. Experience is needed around the table and supporting staff is key to tackling these large issues.
2. We have a tsunami of concerns including housing affordability, wastewater plant upgrades, critical infrastructure, firehall, water source upgrades and implementing an asset management plan. Solutions must also be examined through the climate change lens, but we can do it.
3. By 2026 I want to see us in a place where we have addressed the concerns above. It may seem insurmountable, but I believe council and staff in the last four years have pushed the building blocks together and can now start building upwards. 
4. Staying informed would be the best support for council and staff. At the same time council and staff need to better inform the community. Creating a monthly newsletter which updates and communicates is key to tackling misinformation, rumours and misunderstandings.

Harsh Ramadass 

1. To help bring openness and clear communication with the taxpayers. In the private sector, I have seen precious few ideas succeed, and many fail. The common theme connecting all the successful ideas is clear communication with people who are affected. 
2. In the following order: Livability, transparency from elected officials, value from tax dollars, and long-term infrastructure challenges.
3. First and foremost, remedy the communication gap that exists between city hall and the taxpaying citizens. Executing on infrastructure projects within budget and time, playing a leadership role in finding quick and timely solutions to the housing crisis.
4. Be tough but fair, hold elected officials to account based on evidence, challenge the process but not the person. But most importantly vote!

Ted Shoesmith

1. I’m running for council because I feel that I should step up and serve my community. As a lifelong resident of the area, I would be a good representative of the people who live, work, and raise families here.
2. The biggest issue(s) we face are coping with our growth and maintaining adequate infrastructure. If we want to continue, there’s a lot of work to be done to have a functional and affordable town.
3. We should refocus on the core services a town needs to meet the demands of a growing population, including affordable housing. I think we’ve let that slide while spending money elsewhere. Necessities > Affordability > Amenities.
4. I don’t feel that elected officials are entitled to everyone’s support. We have to earn it. However, I suppose that becoming informed and engaged would be the best way to support your officials.

Zuzana Simpson

1. I care deeply about Fernie which has been my home for 40+ years. Since my recent retirement from the business community, I decided to pay back for the wonderful life this town has afforded me. 
2. One of our most pressing concerns is the lack of affordable and entry level housing for young families, seniors and working-class people. The second is our critical infrastructure which needs to be maintained and developed in order to build a sustainable community. 
3, Most people I’ve talked to would like Fernie to remain a great tourist destination, but also to support the people who service it. More attention should be paid to local residents and the services they require, such as childcare, long-term care and healthcare. 
4. The community and elected officials can support each other through engagement and open lines of communication. Together, we can achieve all our goals through robust debate and cooperation.

Candidates for the offices of Electoral Area A Director

1. Why did you decide to run for Council / Mayor / Area A Director?
2. What do you believe to be the most pressing concern in our community / region at this time?
3. What outcomes or direction do you want to see Fernie / the Regional District achieve over the next four years?
4. In your opinion, how can we as a community better support elected officials?

Hungry Baytaluke
1. I believe with my previous council experience I have a fair understanding of the political workings required at the table and the skill set necessary to contribute positively for the residents of area A.
2. From the canvassing I’ve done to date the most prevalent concern voiced has been my position on sub dividing of the identified ALR farming properties.
3. Transparency on all initiatives undertaken that effect the respective residents of the regional areas.
4. Make your concerns known early and often to your respective representative and follow it up by attending the specific meeting that that concern is presented.

Thomas McDonald
1. I’m running to give back and continue building our community while ensuring the Elk Valley’s rural character and lifestyle is retained. It’s vital to protect our natural assets for the next generation while supporting smart and balanced growth.
2. The main concern is protecting our rural lifestyle while ensuring access to services. We need a leader who works cooperatively with all stakeholders in the region while maintaining Area A’s independence.
3. We need to achieve sustainable growth that keeps taxes affordable while preserving quality health care and education. We also need to increase fire and flood protection.
4. I’ve learned that open communication is key to building trust and healthy communities. We must work together, listen to each other, and be open to change. If elected, I’ll maintain an open-door policy to ensure concerns are heard.

Lee-Anne Walker
1.There is a pressing need for courageous leadership that genuinely represents communities in the Elk Valley. After 40 years in the region, I have the energy and experience working with government, industry, and community to dedicate to this demanding job.
2. The rich Elk Valley lifestyle that we enjoy is being threatened. To address our pressing issues we need: an effective voice with all levels of government; a cohesive long-term regional vision to guide planning; healthy habitat where wildlife and people coexist; and maintaining recreational access.
3. A collaborative, regional plan integrating Area A with municipalities to address Elk Valley wide issues like affordable housing and the demand for an evolution in land use. I'd like to empower people who want to get involved and be heard in the decision-making process.  
4. Employ respectful communication and get involved. Propose innovative solutions to the challenges our communities face. Understand the responsibilities of the RDEK and the tools available by local government to chart a better future for generations to come.