The ongoing division will hurt business, Fernie Mayor Ange Qualizza said during a speech at the Fernie Chamber of Commerce’s annual general meeting on Thursday, April 20.
Getting out of the conflicts that have sprung up over the past two years is a major topic on the minds of municipalities across the province, Qualizza said, noting examples of local governments being targeted by angry residents.
“Because you want to know what’s going to happen is that the hate is going to cost you money, because the uncertainty in our communities and this bad attitude is not good for business, it’s not good for any of us,” Qualizza warned.
“Across the province, local governments are installing security cameras for the first time and creating security plans. This all just happened in two years and we have to recognize it because it’s important that when we talk about each other in the community, we use good language. Sometimes we don’t always agree, but make sure this online energy is managed and you don’t fall into these habits of using this inflammatory language.
Qualizza encouraged the business community to avoid voicing concerns online or sending emails, but to communicate directly with the city by phone.
The City of Fernie disabled Facebook comments on its own Facebook page in 2021, while Qualizza publicly withdrew from social media due to “sharp blows”, without disengaging completely.
“We can’t complain to Facebook and think we’re going to get good feedback. I’m surrounded by a team of brilliant people – we’re the most accessible local government ever.
“Call us, call your councillors, call your mayor, call me. If you want clarification on something, call me, don’t call someone who is going to interpret what happened.
Qualizza highlighted the Town of Fernie’s successes, “despite what a guy on Facebook says.”
“When I was in Vancouver last week, people asked me ‘how do you do so well…the grants you get and the investments in your community…’, and I said it’s because we train a team. ”
Council unity was something she saw as an advantage Fernie had over other communities.
“I don’t have councils that are defending each other, talking back – those councils that are councils that are divided and at odds with each other don’t do a lot of work. The partnership between the Mayor and the Chief Executive of the City of Fernie is currently the strongest it has ever been, we are aligned, we support each other all the time.
Over the past four years, the City of Fernie has secured $14 million in grant investments – most recently, a $1.3 million grant for a new “destination skatepark” in downtown Fernie. Closed.
Some other grants include $3.5 million for flood protection upgrades, millions for transportation improvements and works, a grant-funded organic waste collection plan, and $86,000 for an upgrade. level of local government development approvals.
“You have been very well served by this management team. We don’t really get to celebrate our success enough, and it’s not just the project (skate park).
“I wish people would jump for joy about the other investment we have because that $14 million that’s not coming from residential ratepayers is huge.”
In a callback to comments made at the Business Excellence Awards in Fernie in October 2021, Qualizza said everyone needed to show more appreciation to staff and councillors.
“When you see these people around you, give them a high five.”
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Municipal Business Policy