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Three sites approved as part of Fernie’s downtown parking revitalization project

The Railyard dog park, skatepark and 1st Avenue will see improved parking
Fernie skate park at Pine ave, built in 2001. Pictured in 2022. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

The City of Fernie has added the skatepark parking lot to it’s downtown parking revitalization project.

The wider project, which has a budget of $625,000 would see three locations around downtown Fernie improved: The Railyard dog park parking lot, 1st Avenue improvements and now the skatepark parking lot as of the Augyust 22 council meeting.

Previously, plans to install a temporary municipal sani dump location were included in this project, but those plans were spiked at a previous council meeting due to the high cost and low return. An alternative project was then asked for, with some $183,000 of a $555,000 construction budget still unallocated.

“Based on proximity to downtown (and) the current skatepark redevelopment, the size of the parking lot fits well within the available budget,” said manager of engineering, Jenny Weir in a report to council on August 22.

Weir said that with cost overruns putting pressure on the ongoing skatepark project, using other grant funding to build the skate park parking lot would help relieve pressure.

During discussion, Councillor Phil Iddon asked about fencing being a part of the project scope, given the car park’s proximity to popular downtown attractions and it’s location on the other side of the railway tracks.

Weir said there was no fencing budgeted, and Mayor Qualizza added that prior discussions with CP Rail about fencing the tracks to prevent people crossing the tracks had not gone anywhere, as CP Rail wanted to install fencing that was not in keeping with the rest of downtown.

The skatepark parking lot inclusion was supported unanimously by council, with the three projects to be included in negotiations with the contractor going forward. Funding is made up of $468,750 in grant funding from the Canada Community Revitalization Fund, and $156,250 from the City of Fernie.

The skatepark parking lot came in ahead of two other options: The gravel parking area near the bike park (discouraged by staff due to long-term plans for the area) and the parking area at the Ridgemont trail head, near the cemetery. This option was discouraged due to the need to pave a much larger area.

READ MORE: Fernie’s temporary sani dump plans get flushed
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