An Okanagan connecting bike trail will come with hefty price tag - InfoNews

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An Okanagan connecting bike trail will come with hefty price tag

Bike path on either side of Boucherie Road in West Kelowna.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna
June 13, 2020 - 3:30 PM

Key connections in the 250 kilometre Trail of the Okanagans from Sicamous to Osoyoos through the Central Okanagan will need considerable senior government funding if they're ever going to be filled.

Kelowna city council, on Monday, will be the first of four Central Okanagan municipal councils to review a regional transportation plan that includes proposals to build more bike paths to connect to routes to the north and south.

While this plan only deals with the Central Okanagan, the main spine its proposing will connect to Vernon on the north through the existing Okanagan Rail Trail.

That will eventually connect to the Sicamous to Armstrong rail trail that is currently struggling after failing to secure a $13 million grant to actually build it.

READ MORE: Sicamous to Armstrong rail trial planning continues despite missing out on major grant money

Costs for the Central Okanagan section are projected to be in the range of $48 million. The plan also deals with other cycle paths in the region and does not break out time-lines for each project but it foresees taking up to 15 years and contributions from senior government to get all those projects built.

From Lake Country, the route is still missing a three kilometre section along Duck Lake to Kelowna Airport as the Okanagan Indian Band is waiting for the land to be transferred from the federal government.

There are plans to create a loop route around Wood Lake along Pelmewash Parkway as well as making connections along Glenmore Road.

The Rail Trail continues through Kelowna to paths that take cyclists over the Bennett Bridge to West Kelowna where significant trail development is needed along the Westside trail near Okanagan Lake. The plan also proposes a cycle route parallel to Highway 97 that would continue down Drought Hill into Peachland.

There are numerous areas south of Peachland into the South Okanagan where there are significant and difficult gaps but that's outside the boundaries of the Central Okanagan.

Ultimately, trail proponents want to connect with Washington state bike networks to create a world class, 370 km major tourist attraction.

READ MORE: We are so close to a rail trail connecting Osoyoos to Sicamous

Cross-border cycling route could generate millions of dollars for Okanagan economy


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