Failed erosion work on north end of Okanagan Rail Trail will cost $270K to repair - InfoNews

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Failed erosion work on north end of Okanagan Rail Trail will cost $270K to repair

July 14, 2020 - 3:52 PM

The North Okanagan Regional District will spend a further $230,000 on erosion protection work for the Okanagan Rail Trail after earlier engineering work completed two years ago already needs replacing.

High water levels and waves on Kalamalka Lake from a storm are thought to have caused the shoreline to suffer a slide sometime over the winter.

"We can't say definitively what caused it, we can say high water and wave action causes erosion," Regional District of North Okanagan community services general manager Mike Fox told iNFOnews.ca.

The Regional District agreed to spend the cash at its July 8 meeting and will now move forward and build a retaining wall system at the 200-metre long strength affected by the erosion. The location of the affected bank is at roughly the 12.5 kilometre mark near the border with Vernon and Lake Country.

The District has already spent $500,000 on erosion work along the rail trail this year.

Fox said high water levels in the lake combined with waves and the wakes caused by boats are having a detrimental effect on the shoreline. The erosion work which needs replacing, was done in 2018 and was the first work to be done on the trial. While most of the earlier erosion engineering worked, water levels this year are close to 2017 when high water caused large amounts of damage around the lake.

The District has completed multiple engineering works along the rail trail over the past 12 months to mitigate erosion of the banks. In May, it released a statement requesting boaters to keep 40 metres from the shoreline to help prevent erosion to the lakeshore.

Boaters are encouraged to stay away from the edge of Kalamalka Lake near the rail trail so wakes do not exacerbate the problem.

Fox said a lot of the erosion work done last year needed "soft" engineering and used rocks and other natural materials to mitigate the erosion. However, the part currently needing work requires more complex work as the water level quickly drops by 90 feet from the shoreline. Erosion work is some of the most expensive engineering that can be done, Fox said.

The District staff report requests work to be completed this year under its current provincial permit, and should not be left until next year as a new permit would then need to be applied for and the erosion of the trail will only get worse over time.


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