November Project Update

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:

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.

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