The unpaved and unmarked parking lot at the corner of 4th and 3rd in Fernie, B.C. in July 2021. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Fernie plots a carpark glow-up

City applies for half a million to improve parking around downtown core

The City of Fernie has applied for half a million dollars to improve parking around the city’s downtown core.

The application to the ‘Canada Community Revitalization Fund’ operated by the Federal Government is based on input from the public from a survey done last year, when respondents identified a desire for more parking downtown.

Acting director of operations with the City of Fernie, Mark Rowlands listed four sites around downtown that could be improved to add more stalls within walking distance of 2nd Ave.

The sites are the city-owned lot of 4th Street and 3rd Avenue, the lot at the Railyard Dog Park, the lot at the Skate Park and Aquatics Centre, and 1st Avenue, which could switch to angle parking.

Each site would see parking spaces delineated more clearly and improved.

“All of these (sites) are perfect for being able to walk one block over to 2nd Avenue and downtown,” said Rowlands.

The parking upgrades for each area combined would add up to $625,000, of which $125,000 would come from city coffers.

The Skate Park would cost $130,000, the 4th-3rd lot would cost $300,000 (as is is unpaved and unmarked currently), 1st Street angle parking would cost $7,000 (as it would consist of painting new lines), and the dog park lot would cost $250,000.

Chief operating officer of the city Michael Boronowski said the parking improvements proposed were not intended to replace any parking on 2nd Ave (at this time), but to improve poorly designed city-owned parking in close proximity to downtown, and allow the city more wriggle room in the future when it further engaged in downtown revitalization plans.

“We see it as an enabling project to enhance perimeter parking around the downtown core, to then enable us to engage and design downtown revitalization that supports better active transportation, because should we need to reduce parking at all along 2nd Avenue, we will have in advance more than compensated for that loss with the enhancement to these specific lots,” he said.

Council discussion was on the provision of bicycle parking spaces (which is not factored into the application), but Rowlands said that the application had been put together ‘in haste’ in order to secure the funds first, and further refinement and addition of items like bicycle parking could be included in later plans, should the application be successful.

READ MORE: New crochet art exhibit brings (extra) zest to Fernie Arts Station



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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