Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 14, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
12 THE LETHBRIDOE HERALD Tuesday, November 14, 1972- Fcrnic was incorporated in 1904 as a cily and although I lie population hasn't warranted city status all the years since, this booming community 35 miles west of Hie- Alberta bor- der is a real going concern. Tlic formerly depressed eco- nomy of the area has experi- enced very rapid growth since 19G8, spearheaded by major de- velopments in the mining and forest industries, which in turn stimulated cxpnrsion in the construction and' service pro- ducing sectors. Development of the coal min- ing properties at Sparwood and Elkford by Kaiser Resources Ltd. and Fording Coal Lid. has provided the largest source ol labor force growth. Also, a major sawmill expan- sion by Crowsncst Industries Ltd. at Elko, west of Fornic, had added furl her impclus to employment grov.lh. However, the labor force in I he Fcrnic- Elko sub-area is still predomin- antly oriented to the service trade, education, health, per- sonal services including accom- modation and fend services and public administration at the provincial, federal and munici- pal levels. GOOD Ftr-mr: The future for Fernic is grind with reports published which show the economic growth in the area is expected lo continue at a moderate rain, spcarhend- ed by further expansion in Ihn Jogging, wood manufacturing, construction and service pro- ducing sectors. The limited sun- ply of available land suit able for rc.sidcnlial and non-rosidfn- tial development could inhibit the future economic growth nf the cily lo n certain extent. Like the majority nf (lie urban areas in I he En.sl Knolcnays, Fernic was horn nut of Hie foal Industry, fn 1f197. a srtl lenient, formed nt Coal Crook when the railway arrived and it was known as Old Town. In the spring of 1099 Fcrnic hcd two hotels. Oldlimers will remember that the illicit liquor busine.-s by the shack town hoc! loggers remaining from construction days was very great. That same year, a school was built and GO students attended. Later, another teacher was add- ed and the student population reached 107. EXPLOSION In an explosion killed 12U of the HOD men working in the area but still expansion of (he mining industry went ahead. This was also the first year for a strike in the Fernic and it occurred over hours of work. 190-1 was also the year of the big fire. It was at a time when the cily boasted 10 hotels (hat the whole business section was practically destroyed by fire uliieh started in a general store. The Annex was added lo the city limits in 1005 and a tele- phone system was installed. An- other fire spreading from the forests outside (he cily burned down several more blocks which had just been rebuilt. In (be streets were lit by electricity and sewers were laid for Ihc first time in the Crowsncst Pass. Then in 1908, praclically Hie whole city was destroyed by fire originating from another f ores I fire. Aid was received from a'l parts of Canada. Actual pictures show lhat only three months afler Ihc fire, new structures were put up on the old cement founda- tions, indicative of Ihc sniril of the early rcrnio population. Todny, I'nrnie si I.s nestled among the mountains, present- ing a picture of peace and Iraiujuility The business sec-lnr was bustling Ihc day The Her- ald visited with people moving about the modern stores and businesses. Mayor Vcrnon Uphill heads the cily. council consisling of aldermen Brian Hop wood, Mi- chael Pisoni, Peter Slash, Roy Richard Yerhurgh. Tha council works with a mill tax rate, up from 70 mills last year. City Clerk Frank Bulala said the increased mill rale resulted from increased city costs anticipated for this year. He said educalion ac- counts for 30 3 G mills of Ihc tax role. Mr. Eiilala said snow remov- al is one of Ihc major jobs for superintendent of works Rill Ross and his crew of dur- ing the winter season. The cily budgel for this winter is compared lo Lcthbridge's 000 budget for a population roughly 10 times that of Fer- nic. The city recently started work on a secondary sewage project valued at SSGG.OOO Mr. Rutala said the primary sew- age treatment facilily was anli- qualcd and was allowing sew- age lo enter the river in such a staic Lhat it wasn't being brok- en down by the river. Health authorities made Ihe decision for Ihc cily. The cily crews have been ex- lending Ihc S3wcr services into new areas to help serve the residents. Electrical needs of the resi- dents arc supplied by B.C. Hy- dro and Power Authority. The city had the distribution rights but sold out to B.C. Hydro in 10G9. The cily i.s serviced by a gra- vity system for its water needs. A dam on Ferry Creek collects which falls into Ihc city's .system. Water i.s also kept in a recently completed reservoir which holds gallons as an added pressure .station and for cnrjrgcncies. Mr. Bulala said Ihe cily usu- ally contracts street paving but because of the; increased expen- ses, only will be spent this year. He said the city likes to spend about annually for paving projects. A new subdivision is being completed. The work and ser- vices arc included in the selling prices which varies between and per lot. Lot prices have been going up in Fernic because of the rising price of land on the outskirts, with land now selling for per acre in the immediate vicin- ity of the cily boundaries. HKCKEATIOiV Recreation is a big parl nf the life of Fcrnie citizens. In the Forme Recreation Commission was formed and lo- day consists of 12 members ap- pointed by city council for a two-year term. One position i.s filled by a representative of the cily council, one by a rep- rcscntalivc of the school board, five by organized recreation groups and five from the com- munity at large. Under Ihc city bylaw, the commission is charged with Ihc responsibility of: appointing a recreation di- rector. Gary McClcnaghan was named director the cud of 1971 and has been filling Ihc needs of the commission lo ils satis- faction. planning and making rec- ommendations f o i- recreation facilities and for the future. conducting surveys of rec- reation facilities. piugrams, and leadership according lo the needs of the community. The objectives of Ihc com- mission arc lo improve Ihe quality of community life, In plan, develop and- activate a broad program of public recre- ation, lo provide equal lunitics for recreation for ev- eryone, lo .strengthen commun- ity groups and lo encourage and develop leadership and assist in (raining new leaders. To help do (his, Fernie has a new community centre lo sup- pie men t the arena, skating and hockey facility, curling rink, swimming pool and base- ball and Eoccer facility The new centre, valued at contains an aucV.lori- um and stage with a flcor plan- ned for basketball and indoor lennls. A special room in the rear of (he building serves as a leen centre, where, as Mr. Bi-.tahi puls it, "the teens can do their o'.vn thing." All the money was raised Ihrough payroll de- ductions and rainpaigrs as well as help from the provincial gov- ernment. EDUCATION Education needs arc being met by three institutions. There are 529 students and "1 leachers at the Fernie Ele- mentary and Secondai-y School. 457 students and 17 leachcrs at Isabella Dicken Elementary School and 541 students and 20 teachers at Uidgcmount Ele- mentary School. The cily lias an applicalion now before Ihe D.C. govern- ment for a 10-room secor.dary school. Cranbrook and Kimber- lev arc also bidding for Ihe fa- cility, planned al a vocational high school. The business and industry sector is complete lo serve the needs of the residents. Thciv are three manufacturing con- cerns in Hie cily. Unr'or Ihn litle of construc- tion, (here arc .12 general con- irndors and Ifl special trade contractors. There are 13 busi- nesses dealing with transporta- tion and 77 businesses termed trade Iniflincssys. There arc Hi finance, insur- ance and real e.slale concerns ;is well as accommodation and services. Fourteen personal concerns are available as well a.s five agents for welfare ser- vices and eight termed miscel- laneous.