Reserve funds slated for active transportation in city
By Erin Knutson
City of Fernie council Feb. 10 motioned in favour of submitting a grant to the BC Active Transportation Grant funding program for the Active Transportation Network Plan Project (ATNPP) as part of a move, commute, and connect initiative rolled out by the province.
Council also approved an allocation in the 2020 budget provided from the general reserve for a total of $50,000 for the project.
“There would be significant improvements to the quality of life due to active transportation networks, including health, safety, and economic benefits. This grant intends to help communities develop a plan to invest in active transportation for all ages and abilities,” said Municipal Engineer Jenny Weir during a presentation to mayor and council.
Weir touted the benefits of active transport. According to Weir, it would create a more balanced transportation system, one that is accessible, cost-effective, and more equitable for the community.
The grant program aligns with the provincial government’s active transportation strategy for cleaner and more active transportation and its plan to reduce carbon pollution across British Columbia.
Concerns over the alignment of the project with objectives laid out in the city’s official community plan (OCP) were brought forth for discussion by Coun. Kevin McIsaac. “Should we be successful in the grant application, are there timeline restrictions on the completion of it that would impact our transportation masterplan, and if so, how?”
Mayor Ange Qualizza interjected.
“Is this going to complement or hinder our current masterplan? How is this going to impact the workflow we’ve already set in place?”
Weir addressed both McIsaac and Qualizza’s concerns by confirming that the project was in alignment with the city’s current OCP. The OCP describes the bicycle and pedestrian plan for recreation areas and employment destinations, complementing the current masterplan in its execution.
“It would be a guiding document for policy selection. It would include a baseline study of existing conditions in our roads and transportation network. It would include identification of network issues and areas of improvement and would include public engagement,” said Weir.
The province will share the cost of the ATNPP to a maximum of 50%.