April 07, 2015 - 9:16 AM
KELOWNA - There are some strings attached, but the provincial government is pledging $7.2 million to help make the purchase of the CN Rail corridor a reality.
The money is conditional on a successful referendum in Lake Country later this month, according to a press release from the province Tuesday, April 7.
“We believe in the plans that the City of Kelowna and its partners have for the discontinued rail line and we think this project is a good investment for the local communities,” Minister of Transportation Todd Stone said in the release.
The communities of Kelowna, Lake Country, Coldstream and the regional districts of North Okanagan and Central Okanagan signed the agreement to purchase the corridor in December 2014 but the deal has been plagued by setbacks including the failure of the alternative approval process used by the District of Lake Country to get voter approval for the district's $2.6-million share of the purchase.
CN Rail has agreed to sell the railroad right of way to the communities for $50 million, of which $28 million is in the form of a charitable donation tax receipt. The balance is split between the three communities based on the amount of land within their boundaries.
The release makes no mention of the lawsuit filed by the Okanagan Indian Band which aims to overturn the sale and force the federal government to acknowledge its claim on the Okanagan Commonage Reserve.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015