Fernie residents will be able to enjoy more accessible active transportation thanks to a $500,000 grant that will add nearly two kilometres of paths in the community.

City of Fernie officials said the grant will pay for paving along the 1.9-kilometre Annex Park Loop between West Fernie and the Leo T. Nimsick Bridges.

This will add to the $4.975 million grant-funded Annex Dike project and connect the Fernie Valley Pathway.

“We’re going to have several opportunities for accessible, universally designed standards, so we can get wheelchairs and motorized scooters on the dike,” said Mayor Ange Qualizza. “This, to me. is a step in the right direction for our community. Being able to enhance flood protection projects is a win-win.”

City staff said the fully paved path will allow people of all ages to walk,  bike or roll along the Elk River with an inclusive trail network that stretches from the Visitor’s Centre to Mount Fernie Park Road.

The grant will help complete three significant infrastructure projects with a combined total value of nearly $7.2-million: the Fernie Valley Pathway, Annex Dike Improvements and Annex Park trail loop,

The project is set to be completed by the fall of 2022.