Rail Trail to Sicamous
The Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) have successfully concluded the purchase of a section of CP Rail corridor that runs from Sicamous and Armstrong, excluding a number of sections owned by the Splatsin, after a legal and environmental examination of the property coming back as being satisfactory.
RDNO Board Chair, Bob Fleming, credits the successful purchase to a collective regional vision and a commitment to cooperation. “Similar to the Okanagan Rail Trail, this purchase of rail corridor will provide numerous benefits to the North Okanagan and Columbia Shuswap areas, including significant recreation and economic opportunities,” says Fleming.
In partnership with Splatsin and their segments of rail property, this strategic land acquisition will ensure the continued public ownership of a key linear corridor to be used for recreational opportunities, including walking and cycling, while retaining it for future transportation and economic development needs. There is also long-term potential to connect this corridor to the Okanagan Rail Trail, which is currently under development, connecting the City of Kelowna to the District of Coldstream.
Rail Trail Ambassador, Brad Clements says "This railway was abandoned in 2009 and nobody bought it. The (Splatsin) Band there stepped forward and actually tied it up in court because the railway went through 2 of their reserves." "It was only tying it up in court that saved it, otherwise that property would've been sold." If any of the property did sell, "it's no longer a continuous corridor and it can't be used as a walking path, cycling path or even a future transportation corridor" Clements explains.
The total cost of the purchase was $6.5 million dollars, and with the Provincial Government’s contribution of $2.17 Million dollars announced in March 2017, the RDNO and the CSRD have paid for the purchase on a 50:50 basis, with the RDNO securing funding through borrowing approved through public assent, and the CSRD funding their portion through a combination of borrowing and contributions from the Sicamous/Area “E” Economic Opportunity Fund ($250,000), and from the Revelstoke/Area “B” Economic Opportunity Fund ($100,000).