Annex Dike Improvements & Fernie Valley Pathway

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Project Overview

In 2019, the City of Fernie commissioned and completed a Flood Mitigation Plan, which identified flood hazards based on existing flood protection infrastructure and new floodplain mapping from the 2017 Elk River and 2014 Coal Creek studies. Many of the existing dikes were determined to be too low, and additional gaps in flood protection were identified throughout the community. The recommended mitigation measures throughout the City were prioritized based on the associated risks using a likelihood and consequence of failure methodology.

Based on this plan, the City has secured $8.234 million in funding to improve flood protection since 2019.

The Annex Dike Project is the City's third major flood mitigation and protection initiative and is valued at $4.975 million.

The Annex Dike protects the over 900 residences, 113 commercial properties, 6 industrial properties, and 2,000+ citizens living in the Annex neighbourhood.

Further enhancements to the project are being funded through a $500,000 provincial Active Transportation grant that will provide paved trails, accessible and inclusive features, and integrate the Annex Park trails with the grant-funded phase 1 of the Fernie Valley Pathway for a combined project value of $7.178 million.

This project represents 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.


Project Goals

This focus of the Annex Dike & Trail Improvements project is to:

  • Raise the dike along the 1,800 linear meters of the existing dike to identified flood construction levels
  • Reconstruct the dike slope and crest
  • Improve erosion protection
  • Provide accessible and inclusive features that benefit locals and visitors
  • Connect the Annex trail system to the Fernie Valley Pathway and provide improved inclusive accessibility and trail animation/interpretation


Project Status and Next Steps

Improvements to the Annex Dike are still in the design phase, with 90% of the design complete and approved. This means structural designs of the Dike has been finalized by engineers, and we're now working to refine features, enhancements, and discretionary items not critical to the structure, such as wellness stations, a hand launch, landscaping etc. A complete version of the 90% design drawings can be viewed in the 'Reports' section of this project page.

The City has formed an Advisory Group to review public feedback, provide recommendations, and generate ideas for discretionary elements, such as wellness stations.

The group is made up of representatives from the Francophone school, the Seniors’ community, Fernie Academy, Fernie & District Historical Society, Elk River Alliance, Tourism Fernie, and Fernie City Administration.

Over the course of January and February 2022, the group will be exploring different ideas and making recommendations in the following areas:

  • Overall theme of wellness stations
  • Location of wellness stations
  • Physical expression of theme, the fun part, determining exactly what a wellness station can look like (Considering amenities such as exercise equipment, benches, storyboards, structures, etc.)

The Advisory Groups meets biweekly, exploring BIG IDEAS with the group and delving into what their visions are for the Annex Trail project. Summaries of these meetings will be posted to the project website to capture the advisory group’s activities.

The broader public will have access to a comment forum on the project webpage for providing their feedback on the Advisory Group’s progress. To provide additional public access, the February 3rd Advisory Group will be live streamed and recorded for the public to view.

Once designs are complete, the City of Fernie will issue a Request for Proposal that combines the final design and paving of the Fernie Valley Pathway and Annex Dike Improvements projects to provide an integrated, inclusive, active transportation corridor connecting the community along the Elk River and Highway 3.

Questions or feedback about this project can be directed via email to: operations@fernie.ca

Project Overview

In 2019, the City of Fernie commissioned and completed a Flood Mitigation Plan, which identified flood hazards based on existing flood protection infrastructure and new floodplain mapping from the 2017 Elk River and 2014 Coal Creek studies. Many of the existing dikes were determined to be too low, and additional gaps in flood protection were identified throughout the community. The recommended mitigation measures throughout the City were prioritized based on the associated risks using a likelihood and consequence of failure methodology.

Based on this plan, the City has secured $8.234 million in funding to improve flood protection since 2019.

The Annex Dike Project is the City's third major flood mitigation and protection initiative and is valued at $4.975 million.

The Annex Dike protects the over 900 residences, 113 commercial properties, 6 industrial properties, and 2,000+ citizens living in the Annex neighbourhood.

Further enhancements to the project are being funded through a $500,000 provincial Active Transportation grant that will provide paved trails, accessible and inclusive features, and integrate the Annex Park trails with the grant-funded phase 1 of the Fernie Valley Pathway for a combined project value of $7.178 million.

This project represents 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.


Project Goals

This focus of the Annex Dike & Trail Improvements project is to:

  • Raise the dike along the 1,800 linear meters of the existing dike to identified flood construction levels
  • Reconstruct the dike slope and crest
  • Improve erosion protection
  • Provide accessible and inclusive features that benefit locals and visitors
  • Connect the Annex trail system to the Fernie Valley Pathway and provide improved inclusive accessibility and trail animation/interpretation


Project Status and Next Steps

Improvements to the Annex Dike are still in the design phase, with 90% of the design complete and approved. This means structural designs of the Dike has been finalized by engineers, and we're now working to refine features, enhancements, and discretionary items not critical to the structure, such as wellness stations, a hand launch, landscaping etc. A complete version of the 90% design drawings can be viewed in the 'Reports' section of this project page.

The City has formed an Advisory Group to review public feedback, provide recommendations, and generate ideas for discretionary elements, such as wellness stations.

The group is made up of representatives from the Francophone school, the Seniors’ community, Fernie Academy, Fernie & District Historical Society, Elk River Alliance, Tourism Fernie, and Fernie City Administration.

Over the course of January and February 2022, the group will be exploring different ideas and making recommendations in the following areas:

  • Overall theme of wellness stations
  • Location of wellness stations
  • Physical expression of theme, the fun part, determining exactly what a wellness station can look like (Considering amenities such as exercise equipment, benches, storyboards, structures, etc.)

The Advisory Groups meets biweekly, exploring BIG IDEAS with the group and delving into what their visions are for the Annex Trail project. Summaries of these meetings will be posted to the project website to capture the advisory group’s activities.

The broader public will have access to a comment forum on the project webpage for providing their feedback on the Advisory Group’s progress. To provide additional public access, the February 3rd Advisory Group will be live streamed and recorded for the public to view.

Once designs are complete, the City of Fernie will issue a Request for Proposal that combines the final design and paving of the Fernie Valley Pathway and Annex Dike Improvements projects to provide an integrated, inclusive, active transportation corridor connecting the community along the Elk River and Highway 3.

Questions or feedback about this project can be directed via email to: operations@fernie.ca

  • December Project Update

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    Fernie Annex Park Engagement and Wellness Station Design

    The City has formed an Advisory Group to review public feedback, provide recommendations, and generate ideas for discretionary elements, such as wellness stations.

    The group is made up of representatives from the Francophone school, the Seniors’ community, Fernie Academy, Fernie & District Historical Society, Elk River Alliance, Tourism Fernie, and Fernie City Administration. There are a few outstanding invitations circulating in the community and we will update the members list should they be accepted.

    Over the course of eight weeks in the new year, the group will be exploring different ideas and making recommendations in the following areas:

    • Overall theme of wellness stations
    • Location of wellness stations
    • Physical expression of theme, the fun part, determining exactly what a wellness station can look like (Considering amenities such as exercise equipment, benches, storyboards, structures, etc.)

    Orientation packages will be distributed to advisory group members this month, with the group meeting up for their first activity in early January.

    The first activity will be a Walkshop (i.e., group members meeting up to walk the trail) - by taking a walk together we are looking to spatialize ideas and provide participants with an interactive forum to share stories about living in Fernie.

    From here, we’ll move into biweekly Advisory Group meetings, exploring some BIG IDEAS with the group and delving into what their visions are for the Annex Trail project. Summaries of these meetings will be posted to the project website to capture the advisory group’s activities.

    The Big Ideas Board and detailed Engagement Plan (including Terms of Reference for the Advisory Group) is available to view in the 'Documents' section of this project page.

    The broader public will have access to a comment forum on the project webpage for providing their feedback on the Advisory Group’s progress. To provide additional public access, the February 3rd Advisory Group will be live streamed and recorded for the public to view.


    Public Notice: Annex Park Construction

    Please note the Annex Park will be unavailable as an event space from May 1, 2022, to October 31, 2022, due to construction related to the Annex Dike and Park Improvements Project.

    We understand the impact this construction has to users of the Annex Park during 2022. We appreciate your patience as we work to provide robust flood protection and improved active transportation options to the Fernie community.

  • November Project Update

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    We have received tremendous feedback on some specific elements of the Annex Dike flood mitigation project and the supporting parks and active transportation projects currently in planning.

    The primary focus of this project is flood mitigation. Our number one goal is to raise the level of the dike to recommended standards to protect homes, businesses, and infrastructure in the Annex in the event of a flood. The structural design of the dike upgrade is complete, with construction to follow in 2022.

    The City has been awarded additional funding to pave the dike and is considering discretionary elements to improve active transportation and recreation options in this area.

    These elements are optional and by no means set in stone at this stage. A first draft of potential enhancements has been drawn; and the City is engaging the community in a number of ways to have before we decide on a final design.

    Discretionary Elements

    The project team is assembling an Advisory Committee to represent the public and provide recommendations on the optional recreational elements to be included in the design. The committee will include a diverse membership, as recommended by council at the regular meeting held on October 12, here: https://fernie.civicweb.net/FileStorage/A5489A54BC0444178F332D3F685A1737-RFD%20Annex%20October%2012%202021.pdf

    These elements could include wellness stations, reset stations, viewing stations, a hand boat launch, and potential parking and other enhancements. The advisory committee will listen to public feedback and work to develop these ideas alongside the project team, which will then be presented to council.

    Why has a boat launch been added to the design? The 2013 Leisure Service Master Plan included eight recommendations for future development of Fernie’s Annex Park. One of the recommendations is to create a non-motorized boat launch for kayaks and canoes at the northern end of the Annex Park, considering vehicle access.

    Based on this recommendation, a hand boat launch was incorporated into the 90% design. Adding this feature to the project creates a safe access point to the river, taking advantage of the construction and environmental permitting window, making it the most appropriate time and location for this enhancement. This is an optional discretionary element not formally included in the final project at this time.

    UPDATE: The parking lot as proposed has been removed from the project and alternative options for offsetting the parking lost by the dike upgrade will be considered. Why has a parking lot been added to the design? The proposed parking lot adjacent to the hand boat launch is an optional element and is being removed from the project. We’ve read a lot of feedback opposing the proposed parking lot favouring maintaining the wooded area as-is. The City appreciates the feedback and wants the community to know that every voice matters. Raising the dike to protect the community will impact on-street parking on the dike side of 12th avenue. The project team will work to develop alternative options for addressing this change.

    As those design options develop, we will continue to inform the public by updating our Let’s Talk project page and bring these ideas to the advisory committee for discussion.

    Consultation Plan

    The City wants to hear your thoughts and plans to engage with the public in a number of ways:

    1. Meet with Annex residents neighbouring the dike to discuss individual property issues such as encroachments and what to expect during construction.
    2. Provide an online information session for the public to attend and participate. More details on this session will be released in the coming weeks.
    3. Assemble an advisory committee to review public feedback, generate ideas for discretionary elements and provide recommendations to the project team, which will be delivered to council.
    4. Provide regular project updates to our Let’s Talk engagement page.
    5. Review feedback so that we can continually improve our designs with your thoughts in mind.


Page last updated: 20 January 2022, 11:55