Sidewalk snow removal concern in Fernie

Local residents are concerned over sidewalk and roadway maintenance as well as off street parking throughout the city throughout the city.

After the first major snowfall in Fernie last month, several local residents are concerned over sidewalk and roadway maintenance as well as off street parking throughout the city.

These complaints were addressed during the public input session at the December 15 council meeting, with two residents bringing forward their concerns.

“Tonight, I’d like to talk about snow,” Fernie resident Val Desserre said.

Bringing forward snow removal information from Sparwood, Elkford and Cranbrook, Desserre noted that Fernie is not following suite with several of their snow removal protocols.

Using information gathered from the District of Sparwood, Desserre said that after the November 28 snowfall, Sparwood finished clearing their roads and sidewalks within 13 hours while finishing the trails in an extra four hours. She also mentioned that unlike Fernie, Sparwood does not plow their snow into the middle of the road.

“It’s been determined over time that it’s a waste of time and money,” she said, adding that following a heavy snowfall, Sparwood will begin plowing two hours earlier than scheduled. “Maybe we could tighten up our policy.”

The local resident also noted that both Elkford and Cranbrook do not plow into the middle of the road. Another resident expressed a similar aggravation.

“The city plowing and the way you do things is 1960’s/1970’s. We’ve got new rules, new regulations and new laws,” Chris Inglis said, highlighting his frustration with the lack of plowing on the sidewalks on 2nd and 3rd Avenue as well. “[The elementary school kids] are walking on the street because the sidewalks are not plowed. The sidewalks are not cleared and this happens all the time.”

Inglis’ remarks were reiterated by Desserre, who noted that the field across from the 901 building is city owned property yet the sidewalks are not maintained.

“I walked myself every day and I witnessed six people that fell and these are not just young people,” she said. “I think this is a big issue.”

Council noted that they are aware of the issues in regards to snow removal, and Coun. Ange Qualizza added that an Isabella Dicken Elementary School Parent Advisory Council (PAC) member recently contacted her in regards to snow being packed up at crosswalk buttons on 13th Street, making street crossing dangerous for the children.

In regards to the sidewalks on 2nd Avenue, which are currently only paved on the north side of the street, Mayor Mary Giuliano noted, “I have been getting a few complaints regarding the sidewalk on the other side of 2nd Avenue across from 901, because residents from Vento come out and use that sidewalk.”

Giuliano inquired about having the sidewalk from the Veneto apartments to Overwaitea cleared, and although the Director of Operations for the City of Fernie Dave Cockwell said this hasn’t been the city’s number one priority, they are working to get it cleared in the near future.