On the road to an iconic Fernie
By Erin Knutson
The City of Fernie recently applied to the Tourism Dependent Communities Fund (TDCF) to proceed with the ‘Journey to Iconic Fernie’ initiative after approving the recommendation at their regular council meeting (Nov. 23).
“There is one application per year, and we have elected to go with a smaller amount to show our capabilities, which is contingent on securing the grant,” said city Chief Administrative Officer Michael Boronowski.
The city’s application seeks $853,063 in funds from a $1 million cap to enhance the community as part of a $19.4 million enterprise to aid 33 tourism-dependent communities.
‘Journey to Iconic Fernie’ was equable to council priorities identified in the Regional Destination Development Strategy, the Tourism Master Plan, and the Resort Development Strategy.
According to staff reports, the ‘Journey to Iconic Fernie’ is consistent with council’s plan to expedite climate action through a collaboration between itself and community partners.
Funding from the TDCF will contribute to the city’s overall appeal by seeing a host of desirable projects realized, including its dedication to COVID-19 recovery and the provision of Level 2 EV charging stations.
“I like this idea, and I’ve been discussing with Mr. Boronowski almost every chance we get about getting charging stations to support this product in our town, so let’s get on board,” said Mayor Ange Qualizza.
Tourism Fernie, Fernie Chamber of Commerce, the Community Energy Association, and the Fernie Trail Alliance, among other community consultants, developed the project in alignment with grant specifications.
A complete list of the project’s initiatives as outlined in council’s staff report include:
– Provide future‐proofed Level 2 EV charging stations at both the Chamber of Commerce /Visitor Information Centre (VIC) and City Hall in historic Downtown Fernie.
– Establish a multi‐modal connection including bike‐share between the Visitor Information Centre and downtown Fernie, incorporating interpretive experiences and enhanced wayfinding to connect visitors between these destinations.
– Fund enhancements to the exterior, landscaping, interpretive information, and parking at the Visitor Information Centre.
– Fund an iconic wooden sculpture by a local artist at the Visitor Information Centre and replace the East Community Entrance Monument Sign.
– Fund trailhead and trail enhancements for the Fairy Creek Falls trail to improve safety, interpretation, and the overall visitor experience.