“That’s a beautiful heritage building downtown. This Masonic hall was once the Methodist church. It’s built of beautiful yellow brick, which was produced in Fernie at the time,” explains Giuliano. “We’re really happy to see they kept the facade the way it was.”
Other downtown heritage building redevelopments include the $3-million improvement of the Hamilton Building, which hosts a tea and coffee house. The Loaf Building, which holds a bakery and restaurant, is being expanded by an addition.
“We encourage a mix,” says Giuliano. “We really like the idea of having our heritage buildings being brought up to the standard that they used to be — and even improved.”
Improvements in the city itself include an $800,000 upgrade of the soccer field, along with drilling for a new water source to supplement spring water from Fairy Creek.
“We have just spent a lot of money to build a new boat launch in Dogwood Park that goes onto the Elk River. It’s so much better than the small one we had before,” says Giuliano.
There are also expansion plans.
“We’re working with the regional district and the provincial government to include West Fernie into Fernie, and that could happen next year,” says Giuliani. “We’re also working to increase our boundary to the north to include some commercial properties because we need some land for an industrial park.”
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The latest improvement was evidenced on the streets of town this summer — a peoplefriendly change that nevertheless had faced an uphill battle in its bid for approval by city council.
“This year, we had outdoor patios. Loss of parking was the only complaint I had,” says Giuliano. “I told them, ‘When you see how the patios look — when they get the flowers, the furniture and the umbrellas — and they’re full of people, you’re going to appreciate how vibrant Fernie looks.’ That’s exactly what happened.”