The City of Fernie has applied for a cool $853,063 from the province’s $19.4 million ‘Tourism Dependent Communities Fund’ available to 33 tourism-dependent communities to implement what it calls the ‘Journey to Iconic Fernie’ initiative.
The initiative was described by city staff as a program that if fully funded would provide future-proofed level two electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at the Visitor Information Centre (VIC) and the Fernie City Hall, establish a multi-modal connection including bike-share between the VIC and downtown Fernie including “interpretive experiences and enhanced way-finding to connect visitors between these destinations” and fund enhancements at the VIC and nearby Fairy Creek Falls trail.
Enhancements at the VIC would include improvements to landscaping and visitor signage, an “iconic wooden sculpture by a local artist” and a new sign for the eastern approach to the city.
A city staff report explained that developing EV charging infrastructure was needed to encourage EV travel and reduce pollution, while increasing traveller time spent in the downtown and VIC areas while they waited for their vehicles to charge.
“Level two chargers incent drivers to ‘stop n’ shop’ and take four to six hours to fully charge a vehicle, encouraging extended visits to the community’s amenities,” reads the report.
Chief Administrative Officer Michael Boronowski said that beyond the EV benefits, “our goal is to connect two of our key staging areas,” thanks to the bike-share and the interpretive signage.
Four chargers would be installed at the VIC with another five installed at City Hall.
If installed, the EV chargers at the VIC would potentially necessitate the need to remove the sanitation dump, with Boronowski saying that staff were exploring alternate locations for the dump, and whether the city should continue providing that service at all.
The ‘Journey to Iconic Fernie’ initiative was developed in collaboration between the City of Fernie, Tourism Fernie, the Community Energy Association, the Fernie Chamber of Commerce and with support from the Fernie Trail Alliance.
City councillors voted unanimously to support the application for the funding.
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