City of Fernie Council

Congratulations to Fernie’s new City Council! As they prepare for their first meeting this month, we thought we would check in with a few questions to see how they are dealing with the anticipation of their new role, representing the best interests of our community!

1. What are you most excited about in your new position as Mayor/councillor.
2. How will you encourage working collaboratively with your peers and staff members of the City of Fernie?
3. What is the biggest challenge you anticipate facing, and how will you navigate it?
4. In your position, how will you promote respect and kindness in regards to how residents treat one another, City staff and City representatives?
5. Now a fun one: Star Trek, Star Wars, both or neither?

Nic Milligan

1. Building strong, resilient relationships with our new Council and staff. For Council, I am excited about the mix of fresh perspectives and solid experience and anticipate, by both supporting and challenging each other, we can make a real difference for Fernie’s future. 
2. Through open and frank dialogue about our respective roles, the needs of all our city employees, and how meeting those needs will help meet the needs of the residents of Fernie. It’s only by listening and learning from one another that we can collectively advance our goals. 
3. Over the campaign I’ve come to think of housing as a foundational challenge holding Fernie back in many ways—labour, childcare, seniors’ quality of life, etc.. A robust housing committee that draws on the experience and perspectives of willing, engaged stakeholders is the best vehicle for surfacing solutions. 
4. True dialogue must proceed with openness, kindness, and integrity. As I’ve said, I define my work with optimism, empathy, and compassion and encourage everyone to do the same. Respect engenders respect. Let’s all focus on the issues not the individuals. 
5. Star Trek! In J.J. Abrams’s reboot Captain Pike says to young Jim Kirk, “Your father was captain of a starship for 12 minutes. He saved 800 lives, including your mother’s and yours. I dare you to do better.” A good reminder to aspire to the expectations you set for yourself.

Tracey Audia-Kelly
1. There are so many exciting opportunities but inviting community engagement back to City Hall is what I am excited to do right away. It’s the foundation for a successful local government. Our combination of new and experienced voices positions us to renew focus on the community. Serving Fernie is an honour. 
2. Communication and collaboration are keys to success. Relationship building is the first step, I built relationships over the campaign and will continue to develop those connections. There are protocols to follow when interacting with staff and I am sure our Mayor will set an excellent example. I am looking forward to meeting everyone!
3. There is a huge learning curve as a new councillor, and I have spoken to several current and former councillors to gain perspective. There are also serious infrastructure challenges, a housing crisis, a daycare shortage among others. I expect to dig in, learn, read and ask questions. I can’t wait to start!
4. When you treat others with dignity, listen to understand and not to answer, and you come from a position of empathy you invariably encounter the same treatment back. Respect is something you earn from others when your way of being in the world warrants it. I will continue to follow these principles. 
5. Star Wars. Spent the past year watching it in timeline order. 

Kyle Hamilton

1. The opportunity to continue making hard decisions that continue to improve policy and processes at City Hall that help our community - ensuring that basic infrastructure needs are met to support current and future populations and investing in its maintenance and replacement. It’s unsexy work, but it’s what I’m most excited about.
2. As a councillor, I am one voice, and one vote. Success will only be achieved through collaboration amongst all of my colleagues, whether they be councillors, staff, or community members. Ensuring that everyone has all of the relevant information to make informed decisions will be imperative to ensuring collaboration is successful.
3. The two biggest challenges are managing service level expectations vis-à-vis budgets and developing plans and budgets to address infrastructure deficiencies. Both carry financial impacts, and with affordability already at concerning levels, having clear communication plans, and encouraging engagement from the community will be the best way to navigate it.
4. Setting standards of what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour means that everyone knows what is expected. I hope to lead by example. I know first-hand that mistakes happen under stress. Accepting with compassion, and showing empathy are key. But just as importantly, identifying unacceptable behaviour, is the first step to correcting it.
5. Lord of the Rings!

Kevin McIsaac
1. Normality. COVID made every aspect of governance and management difficult. Meeting with people again. Having people in City Hall. All so important to being an effective councillor.

2. Collaboration starts with respect. Assuming competency and good intentions leads to effective communication.
3. Affordable housing is Fernie’s biggest challenge. It’s affecting staffing, childcare, quality of life, etc. Incentivizing and making diversity of development a priority.
4. I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to hold themselves to a higher standard and we receive what we accept. Not accepting nor requiring staff to accept rude, threatening, or bullying behaviour is mandatory. Set a high bar and hold everyone, especially one’s self to it.
5. Star Trek (Original Series). But I like them both. 

Troy Nixon

1. I’m excited to get back to work and truly honoured that the people of Fernie have given me the privilege to serve another term as their representative. 
2. Collaboration comes with communication and kindness. We have a mix of old and new and I hope that I can be just as welcoming to the new as the previous incumbents and Staff were with me in 2018. 
3. No one challenge will dominate the next 160+ meetings and four years of work for the City of Fernie. Our biggest challenge will be how we will work together as a team to solve these challenges.
4. Leading by example has always been the way I have promoted respect and kindness. Whether it be Staff, Council or Citizens we need to raise the level of decorum in our community to what it once was. The “Be kind” term of Dr. Bonnie Henry has never been more important.
5. As much as I love the fantasy and grittiness of Star Wars, I am a big fan of science-based solutions and clean design so I must say “Engage!”

Harsh Ramadass

1. I am honoured that a record number of Fernie voters took a chance on me. I want to take that mandate as marching orders to help solve tough issues. I am most excited about understanding everything there’s to know about the Liquid Waste Management Plan!
2. While legislative/procedural tools ensure there’s separation of duties etc. I don’t want to get bogged down by procedural hurdles; the best work gets done when people can think freely/challenge one another in a safe environment. I will strive to build the culture of innovation/idea generation without micro-managing technical experts.
3. Given our infrastructure challenges and fixed revenue streams, I will be failing on my mandate from the people if Ido not push for tough decisions sooner than later. The biggest challenge I am anticipating is how we bring our citizens through our journey and decision-making process. 
4. This is who I am, I live by this motto every day. I’ll continue to lead by example. But one thing I won’t do is, try controlling and stifling free communication. Our citizens have resoundingly said no to this.
5. Star Trek! My brother and I watched it as kids along with totally inappropriate materials that adults let us watch (it was the 80’s after all!). It was the only American show at a certain time on a weekend on the state broadcaster back in India.

Ted Shoesmith
1. I am excited to contribute to and be involved in the community. I’ve already enjoyed running, as it involved meeting and learning from a lot of people. I hope to continue as a councillor.
2. I will continue to do what I enjoy, which is to be approachable, and to try and listen and engage with people. There are lots of different skillsets on council and in staff, and I know they have knowledge and perspectives that should be heard and considered before any action is undertaken.
3. The scale of this job is the biggest challenge. To do it justice I need to learn about every aspect of the community, from the top to the bottom. The good news is I’m not alone, there are many well intentioned and skilled people who are engaged, and a strong group on council. 
4. I will promote respect and kindness because that’s just something I enjoy doing. I can’t control what happens or how people act, all I control is my response to it. I can, however, choose to be an example in this regard. There’s no point to being miserable at work.
5. Star Wars. The Empire was a safe and secure society. Shame the series was such a tragedy, with the triumph of terrorists who blew up two peacekeeping battle stations. One of the leaders even attacked his own father, an asthmatic crippled veteran with PTSD! I jest though, it’s my favourite retelling of the classic hero’s journey.