Kelowna buys last chunk of CN rail corridor for trail, plans upgrade | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna buys last chunk of CN rail corridor for trail, plans upgrade

A man walks along Recreation Avenue in Kelowna beside the future Okanagan Rail Trail extension to Ellis Street.
August 29, 2018 - 5:04 PM

KELOWNA - A chunk of the CN Rail corridor that wasn’t included in the original Okanagan Rail Trail deal has been purchased and is going to get some attention.

Rail trail project leader Andrew Gibbs says construction could start as soon as this fall on the piece of the corridor from Gordon Drive along Weddell Place and Recreation Avenue to Ellis Street.

Council on Monday, Aug. 27, approved an increase to the rail trail budget of $1.26 million made up from a mix of grant money just over $400,000 and $827,000 from public donations made to the Central Okanagan Foundation during the original fundraising drive.

The city recently spent $2 million to purchase an additional piece of the corridor totalling seven acres stretching from Spall Road to Ellis Street, according to real estate manager Graham Hood, however the piece from Spall Road to Gordon Drive already hosts an enclosed bike and pedestrian trail. The city signed an option to buy that piece of the corridor during the original negotiations and recently exercised it before the deadline ran out in June.

Initial plans are to build the new stretch to the same minimum standard as the recently completed sections of the Okanagan Rail Trail, which officially opens Sept. 27 at a ceremony in Oyama in Lake Country.

That would mean a three-metre wide cinder crush path with cambered for drainage and directional signage.

“They will look pretty much the same at first,” Gibbs added. “Eventually, it will be paved like the rest."

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