Deal signed for Okanagan rail line

Image Credit: Contributed

OKANAGAN – A deal between the consortium of municipalities and CN Rail to buy the decommissioned rail corridor between Kelowna and Coldstream has been reached.

The consortium, made up of Kelowna, Lake Country, Coldstream, along with the North Okanagan and Central Okanagan Regional Districts, have agreed to buy the 47.5 kilometre long stretch of railway for $22-million and land to be donated to the city of Kelowna for which the rail company with get a charitable reciept. CN had originally been asking for $1 million per km for a total of almost $50-million.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve a continuous, regionally significant corridor with the potential to provide long-term public benefits for our residents,” city of Kelowna director of real estate Doug Gilchrist says in a media release. “We are ecstatic to have reached a negotiated agreement with CN that both parties consider fair.”

Some of rail line is on Okanagan Indian band land and those parcels are not part of the pending agreement.

The deal requires CN to remove the rail infrastructure by the end of 2015. Once that happens, and assuming public ownership is achieved, local governments will establish their own construction and operation agreements as well as determine future costs and considerations.

It is hoped the rail line could serve as a continuous transportation corridor connecting all the communities between Kelowna’s north end and Mile 88 in Coldstream.

The municipalities have a 120-day due diligence period to lift conditions, including financing.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

— This story was updated at 1:27 p.m., Monday, Dec. 1, 2014 to correct information about the land donation.

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