Mayor Qualizza Seeks Re Election
I am announcing my bid for a second term as Mayor for the City of Fernie.
This past term has seen enormous challenges and success, I could not have imagined these past four years if I had tried. We started out our first two years recruiting a CAO, then moved straight into supporting our community through a global pandemic.
Despite those challenges we have a lot to celebrate including securing $1.28 million dollars to fund a new Skatepark, 8.23 million dollars to provide much needed flood protection with dike upgrades, active transportation network improvements, wastewater upgrades and remediation, a commitment to an effective asset management program and continued review of financial processes and policies so we can build a resilient future.
Affordable housing remains a crisis across our country, and as a Council we have taken many steps to support creative housing solutions. In 2021 we were one of the first local governments to approve a High Density Residential Rental Zone, creating the opportunity to develop up to 193 units, we approved a text amendment to our Service Commercial Zone to allow dwelling units in our commercial business areas, and were successful in applying for support to review our development application and approval processes, bylaws, and policies to support increasing diversity and attainable housing.
This past year we chose to delegate minor variances to staff with the goal of speeding up processing time for development applications and created an Affordable Housing Reserve to ensure we are poised to take advantage of opportunities to create affordable housing.
I am especially proud to have worked with our Resort Community Municipalities to co-author and secure a one-time dedicated fund to support tourism dependent communities during Covid to build capacity and resiliency in our tourism sector. Tourism dependent communities across the province benefited from this fund, Fernie brought in almost $800,000 of investment for a ‘Journey to Iconic Fernie’ project that includes the installation of 9 new electric vehicle charging stations between City Hall and the Visitor Information Centre, staging enhancements to support visitor experience and a reconfiguration of City Hall parking.
As the second Vice President of the Union of BC municipalities I am awarded a unique opportunity to represent Fernie and our region to the Province, advocating, representing and driving solutions that we need. I am very much looking forward to continuing to represent Fernie on the President’s Committee at UBCM.
The challenges facing local government remain as high as they ever have been as we face a future of severe weather events, rising police costs and aging infrastructure. That is why I am looking forward to continuing to represent Fernie, advocate for Fernie and work with our team to insulate our community from those pressures.
With the Affordable Housing Reserve established, next term my priority will be supporting housing solutions, childcare, driving our asset management program through a climate lens and working to ensure our community is resilient to flood and fire cycles.
It takes team work to build a resilient community, and I have had the privilege these past four years of working with an incredibly focused Council and staff.
I want to personally thank them for their professionalism and commitment, it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with you all.