Contoversy over downtown patios continue

The motion to install two new restaurant patios in Fernie was quickly approved last week despite public outcry and opposition.

In fact, there was no discussion among council members when it came time to approve the patio permits.

But local resident Chris Inglis felt some discussion into this controversial matter was warranted.

“Council really has to look at this patio project, it’s getting out of hand,” Inglis said.

While driving down Second Avenue, Inglis said he spotted eight occupied parking spots within a two-block radius.

“You guys really need to get a grip on this,” he said. “It’s getting out of control.”

Two new patios will be put in on Second Avenue at Nevados Restaurant and Lunch Box, in addition to the five patios that were installed on Second Avenue last summer.

Last year, patios were built in front of The Brick House, Loaf Bakery, The Northern Hotel, The Central Hotel and Big Bang Bagels.

The initial idea behind them was to bring some livelihood to the downtown strip and create an area where people could relax and enjoy Fernie’s beautiful backdrop.

“The pilot project for patios was a huge success and certainly added a positive vibe and great ambiance to Second Avenue,” Fernie Mayor Mary Guiliano wrote in her January Mayor’s update.

But last year, several Fernie residents expressed concern over parking spaces and pedestrian traffic.

“I am concerned for every time I drive downtown that they are blocking my view of people crossing the streets,” local Sherry Earl wrote on a Free Press post last November.

Despite months of opposition, council decided to push forward with the motion, bringing the total patio count to seven within a 350 metre or three-block radius.

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