North Rail Trail Secured
The Regional District of North Okanagan and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District 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.
"From the beginning this project has helped to initiate relationships with our Splatsin and RDNO partners. The CSRD is excited to continue to build on these relationships with the opportunities for regional economic and recreational development, as well as the opportunity to learn more of the cultural history of the rail line," says CSRD Board Chair, Rhona Martin. "This new way of connecting our communities will go a long way in creating a stronger region. I am excited to see these benefits unfold."
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).