Completion of final section Okanagan Rail Trail hinges on federal gov't approval
Mac Logan likens the final stages of completing the Okanagan Rail Trail to an NFL football game after the two-minute warning has sounded.
“You know how long the last two minutes of an NFL football game take?” the City of Kelowna’s general manager of infrastructure said to iNFOnews.ca. “We had the draft final agreements then, when you pull out the pen to get people to sign them, they go: ‘Hey. Wait a minute. We want to take another look at it.’ That’s where we’ve been for the last month.”
On Monday, March 13, city council will be asked to approve a right-of-way agreement with the Okanagan Indian Band so the city’s exiting sewer line can remain under the rail trail once the land is turned over to the band by the federal government. That will allow for the completion of the rail trail that opened in 2018.
There are a number of other agreements that have to be signed between the city, band and Lake Country before all the final details are complete.
“This agreement is the trigger for the land transfer,” Logan said.
It’s the last thing the federal government says it needs before the transfer happens.
There are still agreements needed around water and sewer lines and for things a Commonwealth Road extension and a “trespass” agreement with the band because part of Beaver Lake Road is on band land.
Those won’t stand in the way of the land transfer from the federal government but the band wants all the agreements in place at about the same time.
The city has put out a request for proposals for a contractor to complete the final 6.4 kilometres of trail from Old Vernon Road to 500 metres north of Beaver Lake Road.
That call closes on April 5 and is intended to secure a contractor before they are all booked up for the summer.
READ MORE: Okanagan Rail Trail missing link could be closed by end of summer
Logan estimates it will take about three months to finish building the last section of rail trail. The contract calls for the work to be done by Aug. 31.
After council agrees to the sewer right-of-way, which it's expected to do on Monday, the final paperwork goes to the federal government.
“The piece that we don’t control is how long the feds are going to take to do the land transfer,” Logan said. “All I can say is, they have been quite responsive lately so I’m hopeful. We’re using whatever contacts we have to encourage them to prioritize that transfer.
“We’re doing everything that we can do to be ready to start construction the day we get access to the right-of-way.”
Once complete, the Okanagan Rail Trail will run 52 km from downtown Kelowna to Coldstream.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.
We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above.