Splatsin First Nation takes lead role acquiring rail corridor

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ENDERBY - The Splatsin First Nation is taking a lead role shaping the future of the abandoned Canadian Pacific Rail line between Armstrong and Sicamous.

The band is hoping to bring all stakeholders together in the coming weeks to develop a plan to preserve the line in its entirety, and come up with a use for it that benefits everyone.

“It has real potential for the region,” Chief Kukpi7 Wayne Christian says.

The band has already secured 29 acres of the line, which was shut down in 2009, and says it has further title and rights interests along the remaining portions as well.

“We’ve got archaeological sites, pictographs, old village sites and salmon habitat,” Christian says. “We can bring our culture and history to the forefront. We could develop it into something dynamic for the region as a whole and as an international destination.”

But without keeping the entire corridor intact, it will be difficult to do anything with it, Christian says.

“We’re inviting all local government officials to a meeting Feb. 17,” Christian says. “We want to get a dialogue going and get everyone’s interests on the table.”

The band is keen to coordinate with local government, CP Rail and community groups to acquire the rest of the line and build an asset together.

The band has proposed converting the corridor into a non-motorized greenway, something that would protect its environmental and cultural values, while also creating tourism and transportation benefits for the region. A discussion paper prepared by the band and the Shuswap Trail Alliance details possible funding and acquisition options, as well as long-term management.

Government funding, sponsorships, grants, and the possibility of user donations are all being looked at.

The possibility of joining the greenway up with a trail on the old Canadian National Railway between Vernon and Kelowna is also being explored. 

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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