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Local governments taking collective approach to Okanagan Rail Trail

Image Credit: Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative
November 27, 2017 - 2:30 PM

KELOWNA - All the local governments along the route of the Okanagan Rail Trail are likely going to take a coordinated approach to its governance, operation and administration.

Representatives from the local governments meet on Friday, Nov. 24, to talk about the governance model for the recreation corridor that runs from Kelowna, through Lake Country, to Coldstream, according to a City of Kelowna media release.

“It was good to be involved in such a proactive meeting with other elected leaders from Okanagan Rail Trail owner jurisdictions today,” Lake Country district councillor Blair Ireland says in the release. “As a public amenity, it is in the interests of all residents to have the local government owners of the corridor work to develop a coordinated approach."

The local governments joining forces to govern the rail trail include Kelowna, Lake Country, the Okanagan Indian Band, Vernon, the North Okanagan Regional District and Coldstream.

"We are excited about jointly achieving the full potential of this unique trail," regional district chair Bob Fleming says in the release.

Local governments and the province have already invested $22 million to purchase the discontinued CN rail corridor that runs from Kelowna north to Coldstream. The federal government has contributed almost $500,000.

"These communities and First Nations have committed to preserving this corridor as a multi-modal transportation link that will enhance the social, environmental and economic health of the region for generations to come,” Kelowna mayor Colin Basran says in the release.

Construction of the first 26 kilometres of trail — 12 km in the RDNO, 5 km in Lake Country and 9 km in Kelowna — should be finished by next spring, the release states. Once the funding and necessary approvals are in place, the rest of the 48.5 km route will be built.

There is a 2.4 km section of trail through the Okanagan Indian Band's reserve on Duck Lake that will be constructed once the federal government transfers ownership of the land to the band.

“We are optimistic about this opportunity and look forward to working collaboratively with our local government partners of the North and Central Okanagan to capitalize on this valuable corridor link,” Okanagan Indian Band chief Byron Louis says in the release.

Construction of the first kilometre of the trail was completed this past summer.

A society has been created to raise money for the Okanagan Rail Trail. You can find more information about the initiative here.

Find past stories on the Okanagan Rail Trail here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Taylor Rae or call 250-819-6089 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.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2017

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