The City of Fernie is excited to announce that that construction is underway on Section 1B of the Fernie Valley Pathway (FVP). Various volunteer groups have worked starting in the 90’s to create a City to Fernie Alpine Resort (FAR) active transportation pathway. Past funding issues and route permissions have hindered the project so it’s wonderful that this initiative is moving forward with another segment. Hopefully the pathway will finished and connect to FAR in the near future!
The City contractor,McElhanney, has been busy this week at the bottom of Boardman Road removing the collapsed pedestrian bridge crossing the creek and is working to prepare the site for the placement of a new bridge. The bridge and this portion of the existing trail will remain closed for several weeks.
Clearing and grubbing of the FVP trail alignment between Boardman Road and Mount Fernie Park Road is also getting underway, with gravel placement expected to start next week.
About the Fernie Valley Pathway
The FVP is a multi-phased partnership project driven by the City of Fernie and Fernie Trails Alliance (FTA) to create a 7km active transportation network of paved and accessible multi-use trail connecting the City of Fernie with Fernie Alpine Resort.
The Fernie Valley Pathway is an important part of Fernie’s overall transportation network, and ensuring a robust, multi-modal transportation system that safely and comfortably incorporates all mobility options is important to the City’s continued economic growth, livability, and success.
Current Project: Segment 1B
In 2021 the City of Fernie, in partnership with the Fernie Trails Alliance (FTA), has been awarded $1,619,000 for segment 1B of the Fernie Valley Pathway (FVP).
Segment 1B is a 1.69 km active transportation corridor that will extend from McLeod Avenue in West Fernie to Mount Fernie Provincial Park Road. It is one portion of the larger FVP, which is a 6.1 km paved, multi-use pathway from the City of Fernie to Fernie Alpine Resort.
FVP Segment 1B is funded under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) – COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream (CVRIS) by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.
Segment 1B, specifically, will:
• Connect central Fernie and its neighbourhoods to Mount Fernie Provincial Park.
• Provide an inclusive and safe link to the residential communities of Riverside and the Cedars, and to hotels, restaurants, and other businesses along Highway 3.
• Improve the safety of trail users and enhance users’ experiences.
2019: The First Phase
The first phase of the Fernie Valley Pathway Project began in 2019 with a preliminary design and alignment validation for the future pathway, with a budget of $78,300 and is being funded through a partnership, consisting of City of Fernie Funds, FTA Funds and BC Rural Dividend Program funds. For this phase, the City entered into a partnership agreement with the FTA, where the FTA managed the project on the City’s behalf, with budget and scope oversite from the City Project Manager.
2020 – 2021: Segment 1A
Phase 2 of the FVP project kicked off in 2020, with development and construction of Segment 1A. This phase included a 450 m long and 2.5 m wide paved active transportation pathway along the north side of Highway 3, connecting the existing separated path between the West Fernie Bridge and McLeod Avenue.
This section of the pathway includes a concrete barrier to separate vehicle traffic and the multi-use path; involves work to reduce the slope of the embankment into the highway ditch; and new catch basins to convey storm water from the highway underneath the multi-use path and into the ditch. The new segment of paved pathway is an all-seasons facility and is maintained with snow clearing services throughout the winter.
The project is the result of stakeholder engagement and advocacy with the Province. Construction of Segment 1A completed in early 2021.
Segment 1B – Project Status and Next Steps
The City has worked with McElhanney to complete an advanced set of design drawings for Segment 1B, and the City will now move forward through a targeted public consultation process before planning implementation and construction.
Key features include:
• A paved pathway along the corridor
• Important safety improvements at intersections and protection from highway traffic
• A new pedestrian bridge is proposed north of Anderson Road
This Fernie Valley Pathway is one of three separate but connected grant-funded projects currently underway, bringing together the benefits of robust flood protection and enhanced trail experiences through active transportation.
Upon completion of these projects, people of all ages and abilities will be able to walk, bike, and roll along the Elk River on a fully paved, inclusive trail network from the Visitor’s Centre in the Ghostrider Subdivision to Mount Fernie Park Road.
• Fernie Valley Pathway Improvements – enhancing our active transportation network from West Fernie Bridge to Provincial Park Road.
• Annex Dike Flood Protection Improvements – providing 1:500 year flood protection for the Annex neighbourhood from the bridge to bridge.
• Active Transportation Network Improvements – improving mobility and active transportation along the Annex Dike.
These projects have a combined project value of $7.178 million and represent a significant investment in meeting the challenges of climate change and climate change mitigation by investing in both flood protection and active transportation, supporting reduced reliance on motorized transportation throughout the community.