It was announced on May 8 that the B.C. government is providing the Fernie Trails Alliance (FTA) with a $15,000 grant for the construction of the proposed Fairy Creek pedestrian bridge.
The bridge, which is expected to be completed by the spring of 2016, will be located just north of Fernie, on the west side of Highway 3.
The timber-frame bridge was proposed in order to enhance public safety by providing pedestrian and cyclists with a way to cross Fairy Creek without being exposed to Highway 3 traffic.
“The bridge will provide a safe corridor for people to move between the City of Fernie, the visitor information centre (Fernie Chamber of Commerce), the back country trails and the Dicken Road residence,” FTA president Terry Nelson said.
On May 8, Nelson joined East Kootenay MLA Bill Bennett and Regional District of the East Kootenay (RDEK) Area A Director Mike Sosnowski for a tour of the newly build trail system leading up to Fairy Creek.
“When I found out that there were kids riding their bikes across the highway bridge to connect with the trail, I thought that sounded like a pretty family oriented project,” Bennett said, adding that the safety concern prompted him to take action.
Sosnowski reiterated Bennett’s concerns, stating, “I grew up on Dicken Road and when I was a young fella you could ride across the Fairy Creek Bridge without many problems. Now with the traffic, I have grandsons growing up on Dicken Road and it’ll be a great thing to have abridge across Fairy Creek for them to ride their bikes to town on.”
The new bridge will link into the Alpine Trails system on the south, while linking to the Mount Proctor trail network and visitor’s centre on the north side.
Aside from $15,000 in government funding, the FTA has received funding from the Columbia Basin Trust’s Initiatives Fund. In addition, they are currently in the process of requesting a grant application from the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) through the Cycling Infrastructure Partnerships Program (CIPP).