City of Fernie

So, here we are. 2024.

It’s a year that feels like the future. Growing up in the 1970s I was a nerdy kid obsessed with science fiction, casting my mind ahead to distant 2024 would have been a thrilling exercise in speculation. What would the world look like, what new and wonderous technologies would we have, would we already have gone to the stars? Given that the events of the 1982 film and dystopian masterpiece Bladerunner were set in 2019, it’s not difficult to miss the mark. Still it’s fun to look ahead, even for just  
a year. 

Author Kevin Crossley-Holland wrote a cycle of books set at the turn of the 12th century. They are about a boy growing up on the English Marches, then a hinterland bordering Wales, and the books invoke Arthurian legend to tell a coming-of-age tale.

The City of Fernie is asking residents to share their insights and opinions into city services and standards. Starting this week, residents can expect to see the City of Fernie's 2023 Citizen Satisfaction Survey in their mailboxes.  Letters containing a unique pin and instructions are being distributed through Canada Post starting November 21, 2023. The Citizen Satisfaction Survey will be open through December 10, 2023, with final results delivered to Council in January at the start of the budget process. 

When this goes to print, I will have been Mayor of Fernie for a year. That feels amazing to me, both that the time has gone so fast and that it’s only been a year. 

In my role I have recently visited classrooms and spoken to children and young adults of various ages. I love these visits because, while I have some prepared prompts, I almost never use them. The students have usually readied a bunch of questions that generate a great discussion, and it occupies most of the visit. 

As summer transitions into autumn and the larch fade to pale green then to gold, it’s almost impossible not to think about change. And, when you live in a community you love it is a constant lingering consideration, perhaps not in the forefront, but in the background. 

The City of Fernie is pleased to announce $19 million in provincial and federal funding has been secured for a Provincial Pilot Project to create 100 new child care spaces and approximately 27 units of housing, prioritized for early childhood educators (ECEs). 

I appreciate I’m not writing an advice column, there are people far better equipped. But, at this writing, I have been asked to present scholarships at Fernie’s two high schools and say a few words. And, while I also appreciate that I’m not being asked to provide the commencement address (for reference look up the transcript of David Foster-Wallace’s This is Water for a singularly outstanding example), it is hard not to offer some advice for graduates.

A long-unoccupied building in Fernie collapsed recently. Gratefully nobody was hurt, and it is now moving toward orderly demolition. In my memory it was a commercial storefront. When I was a boy, it was it was a Pop Shoppe, where you excitedly took your plastic crate of empties and, after returning them, you refilled the crate with a selection of your favourites like Cream Soda and Black Cherry, flavours the thought of which today make my teeth ache in my jaw.

I am very grateful for the good people in this community. One of those people, a kind soul, great new mom, and talented potter, gifted me a handmade coffee mug immediately post-election. The mug is embossed with trees and an image of the Lorax, the creation of Dr. Suess. You may see me using it at Council meetings.