After addressing their concern over maintenance costs, Fernie council temporarily denied a permit for a proposed Fairy Creek trail sidewalk extension during the April 13 meeting.
Director of Planning Bruce Lennox brought forward the proposal to council, requesting that they approve not only an increase in the sidewalk width from 1.35 metres to 2 metres but the installation of asphalt.
Lennox noted that the landowners, the East Kootenay Land Corporation’s, objective is to have a trail system that is bicycle friendly and away from the primary road.
The city, however, raised concern over the use of asphalt, as the trails system would require the city to maintain the proposed path.
“When they put the path in, will we have to take care of that or will it become strata of the homeowners?” Coun. Joe Warshawsky questioned. “I’d like to see us be firm on this. If we’re going to have to maintain it, we’re going to be on the taxpayers nickel.”
Lennox noted that the Alpine Trails subdivision would require the city to maintain the path.
He added, “This is 100 per cent a public subdivision, so we would be responsible for the ongoing maintenance for that particular pathway.”
Although, according to Warshawsky, the proposed asphalt would be cheaper to build, he questioned whether it would be more cost efficient to maintain a concrete path.
“Maybe we should ask Mr. Lennox for a report based on costs of concrete versus asphalt,” Warshawsky said. “I don’t want to derail it. I’m thinking more for us and the future.”
Despite these concerns, council agreed that having a pathway not directly beside the main roadway would be a great amenity for the city.
“I like the idea of the off setting sidewalk or path,” Coun. Dan McSkimming said. “I like it being away from the road in a newer subdivision where they have room. I like the feel for it, I like the safety of it.”
Mayor Mary Giuliano agreed, stating “Although we would have to maintain it, this is quite a good amenity for the city.”
Council agreed to temporarily suspend the motion and request a cost and maintenance report in order for them to compare the projected costs of installing asphalt versus installing concrete.