April 01, 2016 - 6:00 AM
BIKE ASSEMBLY AREA WILL ALLOW PEOPLE TO OFFLOAD THEIR BIKES AND RIDE AWAY
KELOWNA - Baggage handlers at Kelowna International Airport typically must deal with an innordinate number of golf clubs and skis but changing tastes means bike boxes are catching up.
With that in mind, the airport’s 2045 master plan calls for a bike assembly area at the airport that would allow cyclists to put their bikes back together on the spot and cycle off.
“We’ve seen it for years with golf clubs and skis. People want their own gear and are willing to pay to get it,” airport director Sam Samaddar says. “Now you see it happening with bikes. And then, of course, there’s the rail trail.”
The Okanagan rail trail corridor follows the old CN rail line and is being developed as a cycling and pedestrian trail possibly opening in late 2017.
Plans are to open a four-metre wide trail, sloped for drainage with common signage throughout its 48 kilometre length.
He normally deal with airplanes but Samaddar recognizes the long term potential of the rail trail corridor that splits the airport in two and joins Vernon and Kelowna.
“Our airport magazine this quarter has an article that talks about biking in the valley. We couldn’t be in a better position to take advantage of the trail,” Samaddar says.
Further out, Samaddar mentions light rail transit as a possibliity for the corridor.
“It’s so important to preserve the corridor, even if it’s used for hiking and biking at this point.”
Kelowna International Airport has until recently been one of Canada’s fastest growing airports, stumbling a little last year when passenger counts dropped by a half-percent.
Samaddar says passenger counts are up 7.5 per cent over the first two months of 2016 and he expects a rate of two per cent averaged over the year.
He gives credit to the strong U.S. dollar and an increase in east-west tourist traffic as Canadians stay closer to home.
Find past stories on Okanagan Rail Trail here.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016