September 06, 2016 - 1:30 PM
CHIEF WON'T COMMENT ON PUBLIC ACCESS
PENTICTON - Two new developments with respect to the Kettle Valley Trail south of Penticton began unfolding late last week.
On Friday, Sept. 2, Transport Canada, along with the Ministry of Indigenous and Northern Affairs and the Penticton Indian Band announced an agreement to transfer five parcels of land totalling 45 acres to the Penticton Indian Band.
The agreement includes the portion of the former Canadian Pacific railway right-of-way between Banbury Green in Kaleden, north to Penticton.
Penticton Indian Band Chief Jonathan Kruger says the band hopes to get all parcels of land in question returned to the band in the near future, including sections of the former KVR rail between Penticton and Summerland.
“There will be other parcels in the future, but we are doing this one today,” Kruger says, adding there is a little more to be done, including some reclamation work, on some of the properties before transfer of the other parcels can take place.
Kruger says the band hasn’t been in negotiations with the regional district regarding use of the right-of-way for public trail purposes.
“They wanted to have discussions with us, but we told them, first and foremost, we needed to have the land back,” he says.
“There are no plans yet, we need to complete the work to get it transferred over, then go from there,” he says.
Kruger refused to comment on what discussions might take place in the future.
“I’m really grateful that we’ve come up with a solution, happy to be working with CP Rail and the federal ministries to come together to create solutions and steps and phases to get this transferred over to the band, and we did that in a good way. This has been a long, outstanding issue for generations and hats off to all parties who were committed to the process,” Kruger says.
The lands, which will transfer from CP to the Government of Canada and then to the Penticton Indian Band, is expected to be finalized at a meeting in Vancouver today, Sept. 6.
Improvements to the trail’s surface through Kaleden also began last week as contractors started the long awaited resurfacing project for the trail from Pioneer Park to Banbury Green through Kaleden.
A portion of the trail along and north of Alder Avenue is being built to also serve as access to the Sickle Point property, Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen Community Services Manager Mark Woods said.
Woods said he expects work will proceed at a steady pace now that negotiations between the province and private property owners along the trail have been completed.
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