Okanagan Rail Trail moves ahead in bits and pieces | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan Rail Trail moves ahead in bits and pieces

Work has begun on different sections of the Okanagan Rail Trail.
December 13, 2017 - 6:00 PM

KELOWNA - Construction begins next week on Kelowna’s portion of the Okanagan Rail Trail between Dilworth Road and UBC Okanagan with plans already in the works for the next section out to Kelowna International Airport.

But what about the the rest of the CN land Kelowna bought up beyond Dilworth toward downtown Kelowna?

Well, don’t expect a rail trail extension into downtown Kelowna anytime soon.

“We actually don’t yet own the land between Gordon and Ellis,” rail trail project leader Andrew Gibbs said. “CN still owns that.”

Gibbs said the railway was required to remediate the entire rail right-of-way, even portions that were not sold to the Okanagan Rail Trail group of communities. “It’s part of the decomissioning. They have to take everything out."

The first seven-kilometre portion of the rail trail will be connected to the old Rails with Trails project that predates the Okanagan Rail Trail, he added.

“We have paved a piece there already from Gordon to Spall and then to Dilworth,” he said.

The city also picked up ownership of a number of rail sidings that originally serviced industrial customers such as Sun-Rype and the Tolko mill.

Gibb said that land would likely be considered surplus and could be offered for sale to adjacent property owners.

Meanwhile, construction of the first Kelowna phase of the rail trail should be complete by the end of March, Gibbs added.

Construction is also proceeding on rail trail sections in Lake Country and in the North Okanagan Regional District while the section on Okanagan Indian Band land is stalled awaiting transfer to the band from the federal government, Gibbs added.

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