City of Fernie councillors have voted to apply for funding through the federal government’s COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream to move further ahead with the construction of the Fernie Valley Pathway phase 1, connecting the City of Fernie to the Fernie Alpine Resort along Hwy. 3.
The funding is available as part of a government program to support pandemic resilience and economy recovery efforts.
Fernie municipal engineer, Jenny Weir said that the current setup of the highway to cater to walkers and bike riders with wider shoulders was too dangerous, requiring the need for the completion of the project.
“As a primary transportation corridor connecting our community, this configuration does not meet our needs,” said Fernie municipal engineer Jenny Weir in a presentation to council.
Some 450 metres of the Fernie Valley Pathway – Phase 1A, was constructed earlier in 2020 between the West Fernie Bridge and McLeod Ave by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, with more work still underway.
The grant application from the City of Fernie will be for the completion of Phase 1B – a multi-use trail from McLeod Ave to Mount Fernie Park Road – some 1,800m of trail, at a cost of $2.7 million with an estimated annual maintenance cost for all of Phase 1 being $41,300 according to the preliminary design report.
The grant would cover a detailed design and the construction of the pathway.
“Should we be successful in receiving this grant we would need to account for maintenance fees in our 2022 budget and beyond,” said Weir, who explained the completion of the first phase of the pathway would greatly increase safety and connectivity.
“(The pathway) would provide a non-motorized paved, multi-use pathway between the West Fernie bridge and Mount Fernie Park Road, and would allow active transportation users to safely reach many places of employment, business, hotels, restaurants,and recreational amenities.
“Additionally the trail would provide a key link to connect the neighborhoods of West Fernie, Riverside and The Cedars to the City’s core,” said Weir.
From the Mount Fernie Park Road there is another 3km of highway to the Fernie Alpine Resort turnoff.
Councillors voted unanimously to support the application.
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