Some of the signage installed on 1st Avenue in Fernie following the creation of the Station Square Park on 6th Street. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Pop up no more: Fernie’s 6th to stay open through summer

Instead the city will close part of Station Square carpark for outdoor seating, and the road will only be closed for events

The downtown pop-up park on 6th St in Fernie will not be making a return for summer 2022.

The much maligned park, which was described by the mayor as “not working” and “poorly implemented” in 2021, was created during a trial closure of 6th St when the pandemic prevented businesses from providing indoor dining.

The pop-up park created a fair share of conflicts such as vehicular access, mobile vendor concerns, parking and ambience.

Ambience in particular was an issue, with the park itself being picnic tables, bike parking and concrete blocks to stop traffic, with no shade.

Instead, a summer sitting area will be set up in the Station Square parking lot, while the street itself will be closed only for events.

At the June 20 Committee of the Whole meeting, councillors gave a thumbs up to city staff to adopt three different road closure scenarios for events. Which scenario is applied to different events depends on what the organisers ask for when they apply for a road closure.

In all three, 6th is closed, and the alleyway off it is cut by the closure. The closure can be expanded to 1st Ave (closed at 1st and 5th, and beside the Arts Station), or the entire Station Square car-park.

Unless there are events which will be advertised ahead of time, 6th will remain open to traffic through summer, with vendors staying in place.

In a presentation, director of parks, facilities and recreation, Brett Logan, said that by closing a large portion of the Station Square car-park for a picnic area for all of summer, it would be easier to shift gears for events without incurring the same problems as 2021.

He added that staff believed the loss of parking would have a minimal impact, saying that staff believed there was enough street parking, and with upcoming changes to 1st Ave (making it one-way with additional parking, “there’s going to be ample opportunity for people to park.”

Logan also added that when 6th is closed for events, mobile vendors will be offered other alternative locations.

Staff will bring information back to the Committee of the Whole on how the area will be animated this summer, with questions from councillors on the provision of shade, and comments from the mayor on wanting the city to be responsible for making the area more attractive, rather than the neighbouring Arts Station.

READ MORE: Fernie’s Station Square Park ‘not working’ according to council



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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Outdoors and Recreation