Outdoor enthusiasts will have more reasons to get outside with the announcement of a $2.17-million contribution of provincial funding to enable local government to acquire a section of rail corridor in the Okanagan, announced MLA for Shuswap Greg Kyllo on behalf of Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone.
“The B.C. government is committing $2.17 million toward the purchase of a 43 kilometre section of rail corridor between Sicamous and Armstrong, with the anticipation that this corridor will be eventually converted to a multi-use recreational trail,” said Kyllo. “Once finalized, this latest acquisition will add to the already diverse supply of trails in the Okanagan, providing even more recreational opportunities for residents and tourists.”
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District and the Regional District of North Okanagan intend to purchase 43 kilometres of discontinued Canadian Pacific rail line with future plans to convert it into a multi-use recreational trail, complementing the seven kilometres of corridor that has already been acquired by the Splatsin First Nation. The proposed 50 kilometre trail would run along the west side of Mara Lake, and could service the communities of Armstrong, Enderby, Grindrod and Sicamous, and others in the area.
This portion of the Canadian Pacific Rail line ceased rail operations in 2009. It is expected that the Columbia Shuswap Regional District and the Regional District of North Okanagan will sign a purchase and sale agreement with Canadian Pacific for the discontinued portion of the line between Sicamous and Armstrong. The Province’s contribution is contingent upon the completion of this purchase and sale agreement.
“Splatsin welcomes this commitment by the Government of B.C. in this investment founded on collaboration and partnership between Splatsin, Columbia Shuswap Regional District and the Regional District of North Okanagan to create a world class trail venue that will have a lasting legacy for the region,” said Kukpi7 Wayne Christian of Splatsin.
“The Regional District of North Okanagan is very thankful for this generous contribution from the Province,” said Bob Fleming, chair of the Regional District of North Okanagan Board of Directors. “We look forward to using this funding to help us finalize a purchase and sale agreement.”
“The acquisition of the abandoned CP Rail corridor represents an enormous opportunity and creates a lasting legacy for many communities within the Columbia Shuswap and North Okanagan,” said Columbia Shuswap Regional District chair Rhona Martin. “The benefits revolve around the long term tourism and transportation potential of the corridor, as well as the economic benefits of a trail network to the people and businesses of the North Okanagan-Shuswap.”
This acquisition, once finalized, will add to the Okanagan’s recreational corridors, which includes the Kettle Valley Railway, including the segment from Osoyoos to Kelowna, and the planned Okanagan Trail that will run between Kelowna and Coldstream. The Province provided $7.3 million towards the purchase of the Okanagan Trail in 2015.
B.C. on the Move is available online: www.gov.bc.ca/bconthemove