Summary of Findings / Recommendations
A Transportation Impact Assessment (TIA) has been completed by Bunt & Associates Engineering. This assessment included the intersection of Highway #3 and Fernie Ski Hill Road and the internal roadways (Highline Drive, Boomerang Way and Snow Pines Drive) leading to the subject lands. The study utilized traffic data obtained from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) for the Highway #3 corridor and traffic counts for the internal roads completed on January 20th and 22nd (a busy ski weekend) and February 19th, 20th and 22nd (Family Day Weekend).
The TIA determined that the proposed 74 residential lot Galloway Lands development would generate 28 weekend peak hour vehicle trips. This means an increase of 13 trips in and 15 trips out during the peak hour.
The intersection of Fernie Ski Hill Road & Highway #3 will reach capacity in coming years (2040), regardless of new traffic generated by additional development at the ski resort. It is recommended that MOTI monitor the intersection independent from the proposed development and that improvements be made for 2040 as needed.
Potential improvement options available for implementation by MOTI include:
• Manual intersection control by RCMP officers during peak winter periods (specifically the afternoon peak for outbound traffic flows).
• A roundabout.
• Signalization with retention of current approach laning.
• The interchange improvement as per the Highway 3 – West Fernie Access Study
The most straightforward of the three options is the signalization of the intersection while maintaining the existing laning as it would be able to be implemented within the current physical constraints of the intersection. However, the TIA does not recommend upgrading this intersection at this time as the decision to upgrade the intersection is driven by the potential impact on year-round traffic flow along Highway #3 as opposed to short-term and intermittent traffic congestion departing the ski hill on a few days of the year.
Delineation lighting (streetlights) are warranted on Fernie Ski Hill (FSH) Road at the Highway 3 intersection under existing conditions, without consideration of new traffic. The addition of the delineation lighting will fully illuminate the intersection. Please note that this recommendation is not due to the minor increase in traffic from the proposed Galloway Lands development, but rather is due to the current level of traffic of which the Galloway project would increase by 3%.
While the intersection of FSH Road & Highway 3 meets the minimum sight distance, the collision history indicates that two casualties have occurred along FSH Road, with assumed one at the Highway 3 intersection, in the past 5 years. The implementation of the delineation lighting would help address this safety issue. We will work with Fernie Alpine Resort and MOTI to have these streetlights installed.
The TIA evaluated the performance of the intersections of FSH Road and Highline Drive, Highline Drive and Bommerang Way, and Boomerang Way and Snow Pines Drive for both with and without the proposed Galloway development. All internal resort study intersections operate within acceptable capacity limits. No improvements are required. With the addition of new traffic generated by the proposed Galloway Lands development the study intersections will continue operating within acceptable capacity limits.
Regardless of the TIA demonstrating that all internal roads will operate within MOTI’s requirements, there is a perception within the community that the roads are unsafe and that additional traffic could add to the anxiety of residents.
With or without development of the Galloway Lands, the speed limits on Highline Drive and Boomerang Way should be posted at 30 km/h and the roadways should be provided with “shared space” signage. We will work with Fernie Alpine Resort and MOTI to have these signs posted.
We also believe that installation of walking paths within the MOTI road right-of-way would alleviate some of the safety issues along Highline Drive and Boomerang Way. We will work with Fernie Alpine Resort, local residents and MOTI to design and construct this pathway system.
The findings of the Bunt & Associates TIA and additional work to be undertaken by the proponent, as outlined above, confirm that the proposed development will not have a negative impact on road utilization or traffic safety.
Note: the proponent has studied several alternative access options all of which may be physically possible. The difficulties associated with those options relate to the fact that alternative options all require either a bridge crossing of Lizard Creek, or the involvement adjacent landowners land, or both. We remain open to alternative options and will continue to work to understand the viability of those options. We remind the reader that it is the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure who decides on the sufficiency of the access solution. This is only addressed at the time of subdivision application.
Questions and Answers
We have committed to answering all the questions submitted to us. Some of the questions submitted are very similar in substance. We have aggregated those questions and provided the answers in the summary below.
1. How will the Galloway Lands be accessed?
Vehicular access to the property is from an existing public road right-of-way known as Snow Pines Drive which is off Boomerang Way at Fernie Alpine Resort.
2. Why are you not creating a separate access road rather than utilizing an already dangerous community road system?
The road system through Fernie Alpine Resort (FAR) consists of public roads under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). At the time of the approval of the subdivision of the lots for FAR, part of the design and approval included the requirement to provide access to adjacent lands, consistent with section 75 1(a)(ii) of the Land Title Act, just as roads within proposed Galloway development will have to comply with the same provisions under the act. The access shown in our proposal is that access as originally mandated by MOTI.
As part of the subdivision process, a Transportation Impact Assessment (TIA) is required. The purpose of the TIA is to address the functionality and safety of the roads potentially impacted by the proposed development based on the approved methods and standards required by MOTI. We have completed the required TIA ahead of a subdivision application. The completed TIA confirms that the public road network will functionally and safely accommodate the additional traffic generated by the proposed development.
We remain open to discussions relating to improvements to the existing access that may go beyond those required by MOTI in its review. We are committed to addressing the concerns of community members who, like us, wish to ensure an increase in traffic results in no deterioration in safety.
3. Access to the property is proposed from Fernie Alpine Resort’s roads. How will the development impact these roads?
Vehicular access to the property is from Snow Pines Drive which is off Boomerang Way at Fernie Alpine Resort. This is a public road under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). We have completed a Transportation Impact Assessment (TIA) based on the requirements of MOTI. The TIA quantifies the existing traffic and additional traffic that would be generated due to development and concludes that the proposed development does not warrant upgrades to the road network, but it does recommend some other improvements that can be implemented with the development to improve the functionality of the road network.
The TIA reviewed the intersection of Highway #3 and Fernie Ski Hill Road and finds that the busiest movement occurs during the winter weekend PM peak hour, at which time approximately 764 vehicles leave the resort via Fernie Ski Hill Road onto Highway #3. The proposed development will increase this traffic by approximately 3% at the peak hour — an amount that does not alter the functionality of that intersection. The TIA does recommend that street lighting be installed from the intersection a short distance up Fernie Ski Hill Road to improve visibility and safety.
The TIA also includes an assessment of the internal road system at FAR. Traffic counts for this analysis were done over two different busy weekends in the winter, one of which was the Family Day weekend, as well as a summer weekend. It finds that the intersections through which traffic would pass to access the Galloway Lands are operating well within acceptable limits and that the proposed development does not warrant changes to the road layout. The study reveals that the traffic generated from 74 lots is minor in comparison to the background traffic that exists. The TIA does make recommendations to include signage about shared road usage and to post speed limits of 30kph to improve safety through heightened awareness of the current functionality of the road.
Regardless of zoning approval, MOTI will not permit subdivision of the lands until proper safe road access that meets all MOTI requirements is available.
4. How will additional traffic impact local roads?
The TIA completed by Bunt & Associates Engineering Ltd. (Traffic Engineers) found that the proposed development of 74 residential lots will generate a very small amount of traffic. At the weekend PM peak hour, only 28 total trips would be generated by the proposed development (13 trips in and 15 trips out of the Galloway Lands). The weekday AM peak hour would see 16 total trips and the weekday PM peak hour would see 21 total trips.
The TIA also reviewed the intersection of Highway #3 and Fernie Ski Hill Road. The study found that approximately 6,553 vehicles per day travel along Highway #3 (counted at the Lizard Creek bridge). At the winter weekend PM peak hour, approximately 862 vehicles leave the resort via Fernie Ski Hill Road onto Highway #3. The addition of 28 more vehicles, as generated by the proposed development, was deemed to have negligible effect on traffic volumes at this intersection (increasing traffic volume by approximately 3%).
Regardless of the additional traffic generated by the proposed development, improvements to the intersection of Highway #3 and Fernie Ski Hill Road will be required within the long-term horizon (out to 2040) of the study. Potential improvements to ensure traffic flow and safety include signalization of the intersection or construction of a round-about. The improvement of this intersection will be driven by the growth in traffic on Highway #3 and the recommendation is that MOTI monitor the intersection independent of the proposed development and that improvements be made by MOTI for 2040 as needed.
An assessment of the internal road network (Fernie Ski Hill Road, Highline Drive, Boomerang Way and Snow Pines Drive) was completed by Bunt & Associates as part of the TIA. All intersections operate with acceptable capacity limits and the proposed development does not tip them into a condition of compromised operation. Consideration was given to the active (pedestrian and cycling) use of the roads. There are opportunities to improve awareness of pedestrian and cycling use and to post speed limits thereby improving safety overall. These improvements could be implemented as part of the proposed Galloway development.
We recognize that there is also an opportunity to improve the pathway network and pathway use as part of the development process. Improving connectivity both within the resort area and down to the highway would have benefits for active modes of transport and tie in with other pathway development such as the Fernie Valley Pathway. We have discussed the option of taking the proposing multi-use trail up the proposed emergency access route to the Galloway Lands. This would avoid the difficult transition from Highway #3 up to Fernie Ski Hill Road and provide a better link between the proposed Galloway development and this proposed multi-use trail. We welcome the opportunity to work with adjacent landowners, the City of Fernie, and other groups to discuss opportunities.
5. The traffic study has to review the Y-shaped intersection of Boomerang and Highline which is already unsafe. Y intersections are not recommended by MOT. Congesting this further will increase the numbers of accidents that already occur in this area. Furthermore, the bridge on Highline is too narrow and additional traffic is absurd. Having an egress through Snowy Pines is a good idea but a gate should be installed similar between Montane and the RV Park residences.
The TIA included traffic counts that were done on high-use weekends in the summer and winter. That study confirms the volumes of traffic are not materially affected by the proposed development volumes and that all intersections currently function with appropriate levels of service both without the proposed development and incorporating the proposed development.
There are also recommendations within the traffic study that can be implemented to reduce the potential for incidents, whether or not further development takes place. The Galloway project is an opportunity to implement these improvements and they form part of the transportation plan that will accompany the development.
6. From what I can tell the emphasis by the developer is only one option; Ski Hill Rd., Boomerang Road and Snow Pines. Reference is not made to the evaluation of direct Highway 3 access. Direct access needs to be considered and evaluated on the basis of engineering design feasibility and safety.
There are two existing Hwy 3 intersections in the vicinity of the development. I am suggesting that the ski hill Road and the intersection north of lizard Creek are potential access points for the development. These options would require a frontage Road paralleling Hwy 3.
There is a lot of concern from stakeholders about the existing resort roads and their alignments and geometries and not being of adequate standard to accommodate the developments traffic. A thorough evaluation by the developer of all options and a selection of the optimal solution should be undertaken. Full disclosure and transparency which highlights the selection process should satisfy stakeholder concerns.
The existing public roads are intended to provide access to adjacent parcels, including the Galloway Lands. See the response to Question #2 for further detail. The TIA supports the use of the existing roads, and the roads meet all requirements for functionality and safety required by the Province. However, the use of the existing intersections detailed in the question is under evaluation and may play a role in the incorporation of second access points and/or emergency access for the development.
We are open to any solutions that may be proposed but are mindful of the complexity of many of the alternatives or additional access options. We are committed to engaging with MOTI and adjacent landowners, both of whom would be involved in alternative alignments. This engagement would take place as part of the application for subdivision.
7. Shouldn’t the Transportation Impact Assessment be required before the development approval? There are limited ways to upgrade Snow Pine Drive or Boomerang Way due to the topography.
A TIA has been completed and will need to be approved by MOTI prior to subdivision approval.
8. Why are you asking for a bylaw change/rezoning now when you have not yet completed a thorough Transportation Impact Assessment?
TIAs are the typically required at the subdivision stage of a project, not the rezoning stage. However, we have accelerated this issue to ensure it is addressed prior to rezoning. To do this we have completed a TIA based on the terms of reference provided by the MOTI. See questions above for details on the TIA and its findings.
9. At what stage is traffic addressed by the relevant agencies?
Roads and traffic are the jurisdiction of MOTI. Regardless of zoning approval, MOTI will not permit subdivision of the lands until proper road access that meets all MOTI requirements is available.
The Galloway Lands proponent has agreed to register a covenant on title to the Galloway Lands that requires completion of a TIA for the internal roads and agreement on the required outcomes of the TIA (such as improvements to roads). MOTI will not permit any subdivision of the lands until the terms of this covenant have been fully met.
10. Will a through-road between Fernie Alpine Resort and the Cedars community be provided?
The City of Fernie Official Community Plan (OCP) includes a proposed road extending from the Cedars through the Galloway Lands and connecting to Fernie Alpine Resort, and previous MOTI studies have identified the potential for a through road connecting to the area of the Cedars as well. No through road is included in our application, however, if a future connection is desired it will have to meet all the guidelines and requirements imposed by MOTI. We are prepared to dedicate a statutory right-of-way to MOTI for future road construction between the Cedars and Fernie Alpine Resort if required by MOTI.
11. In your FAQ (Dec 21, 2021) on your website under “a through-road to the Cedars community”, you mention that the City of Fernie OCP proposes a future connection between the two current rights-of-way at the north from the Cedars and from the south from FAR. You say: “As these lands are not in the City of Fernie, their OCP has no legal effect on the proposed development.” You don’t mention a 2007 MoTI study (“Highway 3 Fernie Access Management Plan”) which also shows this route as part of their proposed long-term road network. In this report it says: “It is assumed that the intention is that all of these new roads will be constructed as development in these areas progresses and brings about the need for such roads.” Specifically, it says: “Consideration should also be given to providing an alternate access to this area (FAR). This could be a secondary or minor access possibly connecting to Anderson Road which could serve an important role in the event that there is an accident at the existing Ski Hill Road intersection and would provide some relief, albeit in a minor way, to the existing intersection.” What is your position on this plan?
We believe that the requirement for an alternate daily-use access to Fernie Alpine Resort is outside the scope of this proposed development. It is our understanding that Fernie Alpine Resort has identified a future access south of Fernie Ski Hill Road to be constructed by the resort when future residential development in that area occurs.
The 2007 MOTI report states “It is assumed that the intention is that all of these new roads will be constructed as development in these areas progresses and brings about the need for such roads” and then continues “Another potential expansion is Anderson Road west to Fernie Alpine Resort as a potential alternate emergency egress from the resort.” We agree with these statements in the MOTI report and are proposing an emergency egress through the Galloway property. The proposed alignment down to Highway #3 avoids the difficult slopes and crossing of Lizard Creek required with an emergency access to Anderson Road while achieving the goal of providing an emergency access as suggested by MOTI.
12. In your FAQ (Dec 21, 2021) on your website under “a through-road to the Cedars community” you say: “Further, we don’t believe that residents in Fernie Alpine Resort, the Cedars or Anderson Road would want the additional traffic generated along this route from the resort to downtown Fernie.” If you believe the residents of the Cedars or Anderson Road would not want the additional traffic between the resort and downtown Fernie, why don’t you also believe that the residents of Fernie Alpine Resort would not want the additional traffic between the Galloway Lands and downtown Fernie?
A through road connecting Fernie Alpine Resort to Anderson Road, as envisioned by the City of Fernie, would provide a connection between the resort and downtown Fernie with potential to be part of a downtown bypass that would provide direct access to traffic from east of downtown. This road would function as a new access to the resort and would, we believe, be utilized by a large percentage of current resort traffic. This would result in a significant increase in traffic over what is proposed within the Galloway Lands.
Based on feedback to date from resort residents regarding the perceived safety of the existing road network (ie. Highline Drive, Boomerang Way, Snow Pines Drive) we believe that high volumes of additional traffic – as would be expected with construction of a through road – would not be supported.
13. In your FAQ (Dec 21, 2021) on your website under “a through-road to the Cedars community” you say: “…and our desire to not impact Lizard Creek, implementation of this roadway is not feasible.” Your road network shows 3 crossings of riparian areas and tributaries of Lizard Creek. Why are these feasible and do not impact these riparian areas?
The Lizard Creek corridor has more pronounced topography and is a more significant watercourse than the ancillary creeks that feed into it. These smaller creeks are easily crossed with clear-span bridges that do not impact these watercourses. To the extent that there are locations that make sense for building clear span bridges across Lizard Creek, it could also be crossed subject to the conditions and approval of MOTI.
14. In your FAQ (Dec 21, 2021) on your website under “a through-road to the Cedars community” you say: “However, we have assessed the potential to provide this through-road. Based on site topography…., implementation of this roadway is not feasible.” I’m presuming that you looked at a possible crossing south of the right-of-way from Cedars near where a current bridge exists. What is it about the topography at this site that makes a bridge unfeasible? Bridges have been built on far worse sites.
The City of Fernie Official Community Plan (OCP) includes a “Proposed Road (actual alignment to be determined)” extending from the Cedars through the Galloway Lands and connecting to Fernie Alpine Resort. As these lands are not in the City of Fernie, their OCP has no legal affect on the proposed development. However, to the extent that there are locations that make sense for building clear span bridges across Lizard Creek it could also be crossed subject to the approval of MOTI.
The RDEK Elk Valley OCP does not propose a similar through-road. Rather, the Elk Valley OCP proposes implementation of a multi-use trail connecting the ski resort and the City of Fernie. We are proposing a multi-use trail as a critical part of the proposed Galloway Lands development. This trail will be available for public access by pedestrians, bicycles, Nordic skiers and snowshoers.
15. Pedestrian crossings are dangerous. Why would you not use the proposed emergency access route that is shown as the main access route? Has a traffic study of the existing roadway network in the residential area been conducted and how buildout use and construction access will affect safety.
Safety of roadways is a necessary part of any TIA. The terms of reference for the TIA are set by MOTI. There are improvements mentioned above that can improve the shared nature of the roads. See questions above for details on the TIA and its findings.
16. Why are you not creating a separate access road rather than utilizing an already dangerous community road system?
The existing public road network, specifically, Snow Pines Drive ends at the property line for the Galloway Lands and is intended for access to these lands. Access from Highway #3 with a dedicated road is not desired by MOTI. The Ministry is seeking to limit additional access points to the highway in this location and would not support another access in close proximity to the Lizard Creek Bridge. A TIA has been completed and finds there is no evidence to demonstrate that the road system is not suitable to support access for an additional 74 residential lots.
17. The proposed main access route goes from the highway up to Highline Drive which is a narrow and dangerous road especially in the winter. There are no sidewalks and roads are used by visitors and residents for pedestrian access to the lifts and ski hill. Over last 20 years we have nearly been hit on Highline Drive, had a dog run over and seen accidents and vehicles sliding into ditches. The internal ski hill road system is currently inadequate and unsafe. Sight lines are very poor, grades are steep, and there are several 90 degree turns. Pedestrian crossing are dangerous. Why would you not use the proposed emergency access route that is shown as the main access route? Has a traffic study of the existing roadway network in the residential area been conducted and how buildout use and construction access will affect safety.
Please see the response to Question #14.
18. There has been lots of discussion around vehicle access to and from the development but there has been nothing said regarding pedestrian traffic between Boomerang Way and the Ski Hill Road. There is no current pedestrian paths in this area so pedestrians are forced (especially in the Winter) to walk along the roadway. This is a very dangerous situation! The road is barely wide enough for vehicles to pass. There is no extra room for pedestrians. In heavy snowfall situations, there is often not enough space for two vehicles. What consideration is there being made for pedestrian access along Boomerang Way, Highline Drive and the intersection with Highline Drive and Ski-hill road?
Creating safe and useable paths for people to move about the proposed development and FAR is important to the viability of our plan. The potential for improvement of pedestrian routes is part of the discussion we have with FAR.
19. The Galloway FAQ indicates that a parking lot will be created to provide public access to portions of the Galloway lands. Why isn’t the expected traffic flow from this public parking lot included in your incomplete traffic study?
The traffic flows addressed in the TIA occur at peak hour. We do not believe that the proposed parking area would increase peak hour traffic flow by any meaningful amount. The majority of access to public portions of the Galloway Lands will continue to come from the edges of the development as opposed to from within. Those users who currently access the Galloway Lands from FAR are included in the background traffic numbers.
20. You project that 40,000 individual users will access the Galloway lands yearly. How are these numbers incorporated into your traffic study?
We have estimated that upward of 40,000 users per year currently utilize the Galloway Lands for recreational activities. This number represents our estimate of the current users of the property and is not a projection of new users. These users are already accessing the property from Fernie Alpine Resort, the Cedars community and Mt. Fernie Provincial Park. We are not suggesting that 40,000 new users will drive to the property to use the trails.
The users accessing the Lands from Fernie Alpine Resort are already included in the traffic counts to determine the impact of the proposed development. These users are part of the background traffic referred to in the traffic assessment.
21. You mention there will be a centrally located 1 acre public parking lot available in the development. Where exactly will it be located?
This has not yet been determined and will not be until the trail designs are completed at the subdivision stage.
22. I’m not concerned about the traffic generated by 75 homes (plus suites!) but much more concerned about the construction traffic that will go on for many years. Logging, building of roads and infrastructure, septic and wells, and of course the building of the homes themselves. This represents a great deal more traffic than the residents of the new community and will require big, heavy trucks for a very long time. Please address and include this traffic in your discussions.
The traffic generated by construction is typically associated with off-peak hours and does not constitute volumes that defeat the functionality of the existing public road infrastructure. Consistent with the requirements of the approving body (MOTI), the peak volume from the development is calculated based on the build out of the development.
23. Will your traffic study address road construction and house construction for the life of the project?
As noted in the question above, construction traffic is included in the TIA by way of considering the peak volume of the proposed development which is in place at full build out.
24. Does the TIA evaluate the number and impact of heavy construction equipment required for the development during the construction phase (10 to 15 years). Has a separate temporary construction only access been considered?
Please see the responses to Questions #21 and #22.
25. I personally witnessed a head on collision at the highway 3 and ski hill road intersection this summer. The current access from the ski hill to highway 3 is very busy and not well designed. Adding additional vehicles with the Galloway development will only make this worse unless the access is redesigned.
Please see the answers to Questions # 2 and #3.
26. In your application under “Emergency Egress”, you say: “Emergency access routes are proposed as single lane (one way), gravel surface roads suitable for evacuation of vehicles during an emergency. It is assumed that fire vehicles will access the property utilizing the public road network.” You describe the public road network coming in from Fernie Alpine Resort (FAR) via Fernie Ski Hill Road (FSHR), Highline Drive, Boomerang Way and Snow Pines Lane. What is your plan for getting emergency vehicles to the community if the public road network is blocked?
Emergency access will be reviewed and approved by the RDEK. The nature of access roads will be based on the recommendations from the TIA as well as those from the Wildfire report and will need to be approved by appropriate agencies before a subdivision is endorsed. The access route constructed will be in accordance with requirements of the RDEK and other agencies having jurisdiction..
27. Why can’t you make the Emergency Access route a secondary year-round, two-way access/egress road?
The location of the proposed emergency access route is not feasible for day-to-day use. The proposed access route will be constructed to the standard required by the RDEK and other agencies having jurisdiction. The access route will be able to accommodate two-way traffic if required.
28. You also don’t mention the Elk Valley OCP which says in Section 13. Solid Waste, Utilities and Transportation, subsection (12): “A process to identify, evaluate and select the preferred conceptual alignment for an alternate access/egress to Fernie Alpine Resort is encouraged.” What is your position on this plan?
We believe that the requirement for an alternate access to Fernie Alpine Resort is outside the scope of this proposed development. This clause of the OCP relates to further commercial and residential development at the ski hill and anticipates a new access south of Fernie Ski Hill Road to be constructed by Fernie Alpine Resort. However, any emergency access/egress created through the development of the Galloway Lands would be available for use by those in the FAR.
29. What is your plan for getting emergency vehicles to the community if the public road network is blocked?
We are proposing to construct an emergency access route. Currently, there is no emergency access that connects the Fernie Alpine Resort lands to Highway #3 if the intersection of Ski Hill Road is blocked. The emergency access proposed will extend from the property down to Highway #3 near the Lizard Creek bridge utilizing an old logging road that will be upgraded as required to ensure safe and efficient emergency access to the property. The emergency access will be constructed to the standards required by the RDEK and other agencies having jurisdiction (including emergency response services). This emergency access will be available for use in an emergency to serve both the Galloway Lands and Fernie Alpine Resort.
30. Where can we get a copy of the traffic study?
The Transportation Impact Assessment is part of the public record and can be obtained from RDEK.