City of Fernie city hall. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Speed boards proposed for Fernie

Mayor Qualizza floated the idea to councillors at the most recent Committee of the Whole

Mayor Ange Qualizza has floated an idea to purchase speed boards to install around city roads to encourage safer driving.

Speaking at the most recent regular council meeting, Qualizza said she and her fellow councillors were regularly engaged by concerned members of the community in regards to speeding, noting there was a particular ‘speed corridor’ on Park Ave where drivers were often exceeding posted speed limits.

“It’s as you’re leaving main town, and you’re at the top of airport hill and you head down to the Mt Minton intersection … people are catching high amounts of speed,” she said.

“We’ve discussed it before with residents, and the response we’ve been giving them feels a little unsatisfactory,” she added, explaining that directing residents to input concerns to the city through the Active Transportation Plan – which was still incomplete – wasn’t enough to allay concerns.

She proposed exploring options on the city purchasing radar speed readers that display a driver’s speed around town as a potential solution, using Sparwood as an example, which acquired two for $4,200 in 2016.

She said despite the RCMP’s efforts, “people are still speeding … I’ve got to say, even myself as a driver, when I’m driving into a zone that has a speed reader, I know I slow down.”

Qualizza formally tabled a proposal to explore purchasing speed boards at the Committee of the Whole meeting for the City of Fernie on Jan. 18, writing that “speeding is a complaint we hear frequently, and while there are a variety of traffic calming measures that can help reduce speed, the implementation of speed boards can be an effective tool.”

During discussion on potential ways to slow traffic around town, Coun. Morgan Pulsifer raised concerns with efforts by the local RCMP detachment, saying the conversation was missing “a firm commitment from the local RCMP Detachment to commit to enforcement within Fernie.

“It’s been more than a handful of times that we’ve mentioned this … I don’t think they’re getting in there in the ways that we’ve been asking them,” he said.

Pulsifer said he believed the RCMP needed to start enforcing speed limits within community neighbourhoods, and not just on the highway.

Councillors voted unanimously to direct staff to bring a report to council on traffic calming options for the City of Fernie, including movable speed boards and movable speed bumps.

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