April 07, 2016 - 6:30 PM
PENTICTON - Trail improvements will continue this year as the regional district focuses on trail building and tenure in the region.
The South Okanagan Similkameen Regional District has applied for funding through the B.C. Bike Funding Program.
If successful, the grant will cover half the cost of trail improvements on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail between Kaleden and Banbury Point, south of Penticton.
“It’s been a long standing project but because of ongoing negotiations with the Penticton Indian Band and CP Rail, we haven’t been able to build the piece from the band’s boundary north to Penticton,” community services manager Mark Woods says.
Woods says negotiations with respect to access and property exchange between Kaleden property owners Mel Reeves, Debbi McGinn and the province are coming to a conclusion, so the regional district is preparing to begin improvements to the trail.
Once the Penticton Indian Band secures tenure to the trail north of Banbury Green, Woods hopes to begin negotiations for trail use.
Last year the regional district began work on the Okanagan River Channel Trail Development Plan, taking in the whole South Okanagan from Oliver up to Vaseux Lake, a project continuing into this year.
He says public preference is for the trail to follow the river channel in that area, up to Vaseux Lake where it would run along the west side of the lake. Woods says the development plan, which would provide a comprehensive outline of requirements and tenures needed to complete the trail would be completed this year.
“We have a model in place where we can apply and move quickly if there is an opportunity to move forward,” he says.
Design work is also underway on a section of trail near Deadman Lake, between Oliver and Osoyoos, with construction slated for 2017.
Ongoing discussions are taking place in rural areas outside Princeton and Summerland to establish a trail development plan in those areas, Woods says.
“A lot of that has to do with use, motorized and non-motorized, trying to decide where the recreational users want to go, with all stakeholders at the table,” he says.
The section of trail between Princeton and Tulameen, closed last year due to a rockslide, has been cleared and reopened, Woods says, after receiving extra funding from the province.
In the Similkameen, work continues to complete the trail between Keremeos and Cawston. Woods says negotiations for trail right of way continues on a section of land between the two communities, adding the regional district will be adding more signage this year.
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