Both Fernie in the East Kootenay and Kaslo in the West have new, safer passages for pedestrians over local waterways.
At Fairy Creek, located northwest of Fernie, pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorized traffic have been required to cross the creek on the shoulder of Highway 3. With Trust support, the Fernie Trails Alliance Association is building a new pedestrian bridge to improve this experience. In addition to linking outlying communities to downtown Fernie, the 21-metre-long bridge will also link to the local trail networks and provide easy access to the Fernie Visitor Information Centre.
“Dicken Road residents generally opt to drive into town rather than risk their lives on the highway shoulder, especially those with young families,” said John Shaw, Trail Manager. “The new bridge allows hikers, bikers, families, tourists and more safe pedestrian access in either direction, without having to negotiate the highway.”
In Kaslo, the Kaslo Trailblazers Society recently completed construction of a 40-metre, wheelchair-friendly bridge over the Kaslo River. The 5th Street Unity Bridge connects the north and south trail system and provides a continuous path for travelling through the community–and just won an award from Wood WORKS! BC for leadership in using wood in building a community project.
“The trail system was well used before the bridge–especially the north side–and now people have easy, safe access to both sides of it,” said Val Koenig, Society President. “We hope it will encourage locals and visitors alike to explore more of our trail system, and get some exercise while doing it.”
“These projects not only increase safety for residents, but increase the appeal of these communities as tourist destinations,” said Lynda Lafleur, Community Relationships Manager, Columbia Basin Trust. “We are proud to support this type of community development.”