January 28, 2016 - 2:30 PM
ENDERBY - Negotiations continue between CP Rail and a coalition of local governments to buy the old railway line between Armstrong and Sicamous.
The Splatsin First Nation, North Okanagan Regional District and Columbia Shuswap Regional District have been working for months to acquire the 50 kilometre long stretch of railway, which was discontinued in 2009. The Splatsin obtained 29 acres of the railway south of Enderby and along Mara Lake in December 2014, and is working together with the two regional districts to buy the rest.
The coalition met in January 2016 and established a technical team that will continue meetings with CP Rail to discuss acquisition options for the remaining land.
“We are pleased with these next steps taken toward acquiring the abandoned CP Rail lands as a contiguous corridor,” Splatsin Chief Wayne Christian says in a media release.
Regional District of North Okanagan chair Rick Fairbairn says representatives met with CP Rail officials several times over the past year and through a recently approved Memorandum of Understanding with CP Rail, the political jurisdictions are working collectively to acquire the land.
There is no deadline for the land deal and a formal purchase and sale agreement for the railway lands will need to be finalized, as well as funding approvals and grants from senior levels of government.
“The Technical Team will work with CP Rail on moving forward with the purchase and the development of a business model to oversee the corridor on a go forward basis,” Columbia Shuswap Regional District Chair Rhona Martin says.
She adds “there is strong support among the partners to acquire the rail line as a contiguous corridor as this will provide our communities with a wide range of recreational opportunities and provide an enduring legacy for the North Okanagan Shuswap.”
Next, an agreement will need to be drafted to address the apportionment of costs and detail the sections of the corridor each partner would be responsible for overseeing.
While the Technical Team negotiates the agreement details, political leadership will be embarking on a lobbying campaign with relevant senior government officials for grant funding to help cover the overall cost, states the release.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016