$1.3 million funding for rail trail

After years of planning and fundraising, the Okanagan Rail Trail project is now one big step closer to completion.

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr visited Lake Country on Thursday afternoon to announce $1.3 million in federal funding towards the project.

Fuhr says he was pleased with how quickly he was able to get approval and announce the funding.

“That process, from the federal committee approving it to an announcement like today usually is a month on a good day, but now it’s 48 hours, because we want this trail done before the snow flies.”

The project is a joint collaboration between the City of Kelowna, the District of Lake Country, the Regional District of North Okanagan, and the Okanagan Indian Band. It involves 50 kilometers of unused CP rail trail being converted to a safe walking and biking trail extending from Kelowna to Coldstream.

So far, several parts of the trail are already in the construction phase, and the project is expected to be complete later this year.

“There are lots of things that we can do on this trail that will make it a great experience,” says Lake Country Mayor James Baker. “Not only for the local people, but for people who come from long distances to ride a good trail.”

Baker also stated that the District would be working with the Okanagan Indian Band to showcase some of the culturally significant sights along the trail.

This new federal funding, in addition to a previous contribution from the Canada 150 infrastructure fund, equals a total contribution of $1.8 million for the project.