The proposed changes would have allowed patios to extend onto sections of Second Avenue. File Photo

No changes coming to Fernie’s Second Avenue

Following a public survey, council holds off on repurposing Second Avenue

At the most recent special meeting of Fernie’s city council on July 9, council continued discussions about proposed changes to Second Avenue. The project’s objective was to devise a creative way to support business recovery by allowing businesses to increase patronage while adhering to social distancing protocols.

After a number of meetings, discussions, and a public engagement survey, council voted to maintain the status quo traffic pattern for Second Avenue.

At the council meeting on June 8, council directed administration to research and present options to make sections of Second Avenue one-way. At the committee of the whole meeting on June 15, a design proposal of the aforementioned concept was presented, then finally at the meeting on July 9, options for the repurposing of Second Avenue were summarized, reviewed, and voted upon.

In her presentation to council on July 9, Zabrina Pendon, director of operational services, reviewed the proposition to have one-way vehicular and bicycle traffic flowing north down Second Avenue from Fourth Street to Seventh Street. Given this option, the street’s east side would have reverse angle parking, allowing businesses on the west side to expand onto the road. This option was also offered in reverse, with traffic moving south.

In addition to using planter boxes at either end of each block to delineate where the new zone starts and ends, two options for barriers were offered. The first option was to use metal crowd control fencing, an inexpensive, easy to install, and reusable option. The second, slightly more expensive option, was to use bike racks.

At the meeting on July 9, Pendon also presented council with the results from the public survey put out by the city from June 19 until July 2. The survey received a remarkable 1,054 responses from the public, 85 per cent from residents and 16 per cent from businesses.

Survey results indicated that roughly half of all respondents were in support of changes to Second Avenue. Additionally, approximately one quarter of respondents did not support the changes, and another quarter were neutral.

According to Pendon, when assessing responses from only the business community, results trended toward neutrality, or not favouring changes, with half of Second Avenue business respondents raising concerns about accessibility. As a result, only a quarter of businesses located on Second Avenue mentioned they would benefit from the changes.

Benefits of repurposing Second Avenue that were identified in the survey include supporting businesses, increased ability to social distance while shopping, and adding to Fernie’s vibrancy. Concerns revolved around issues such as accessible parking, deliveries for businesses, unruly cyclists, increased confusion, a need for more parking, and the inability to social distance.

“The intent of the proposed redesign in 2020 was to help businesses adapt to and thrive during the pandemic,” Pendon and manager of planning, Patrick Sorfleet wrote in their request for decision. “The majority of business respondents and more particularly Second Ave business respondents are either ambivalent about the changes or see them as negative. Therefore, administration has no data at present that indicates the changes will result in better business recovery and as such believes that implementing these changes during the 2020 summer season is not warranted.”

In addition, only 30 per cent of downtown businesses expressed they would participate in the changes. As such, council followed Pendon’s recommendation, and approved the maintenance of the status quo. This said, both administration and council see revising the use of Second Avenue as a matter to revisit in the future.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Where a five-point bull elk shot in a bow-only area near Sparwood. (Photo contributed by Conservation Officer Service.)
Conservation Officers seek info on bull elk shot in bow-only area

The five-point bull elk was shot near Sparwood on Oct. 18

The most recent council meeting was streamed via Zoom on Oct. 20. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
District of Sparwood revisits support for no-cost contraception

Representatives from Sparwood Contraception Access Advocates brough the matter back to council

COVID-19 test tube. (Contributed)
test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health launches online booking for COVID-19 tests

Testing is available to anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

STA members and non-members alike are encouraged to send in photos of their trail adventures. (Photo contributed by Scott Tibballs)
Sparwood Trails Alliance fundraises for Lunch Loop

Trail adventurers are invited to submit photos of their adventures for an STA calendar

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Jack Vellutini, 100, is still making sweet music. Photo: Submitted
Music stirs memories as Trail serenader nears 101st birthday

Jack Vellutini gave his brass instruments to Trail up-and-comers so the legacy of music can live on

B.C. political leaders reflect on rural health care as election looms

NDP leader John Horgan, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson talk health care priorities in the Kootenays

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast a ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau and his family decide against trick-or-treating this year due to COVID

Adhering to local health authorities, Trudeau urges Canadians to do their part in following those guidelines

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

Most Read