One step closer to an Armstrong-Sicamous rail trail - InfoNews

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One step closer to an Armstrong-Sicamous rail trail

A section of the North Okanagan-Shuswap Rail Trail.
Image Credit: Regional District of North Okanagan
July 25, 2017 - 11:44 AM

NORTH OKANAGAN - Efforts to acquire a discontinued rail corridor between Armstrong and Sicamous have made it past a major hurdle.

Both the North Okanagan and Columbia Shuswap Regional Districts successfully concluded the Alternate Approval Process, giving them taxpayer approval to borrow the funds to buy the land.
 
To be defeated, 10 per cent of eligible voters would have needed to  formally oppose the borrowing. That would have been roughly 2,918 eligible voters in the Columbia Shuswap and 1,658 in the North Okanagan.

Only 141 valid petitions were received in the Columbia Shuswap, and 91 in the North Okanagan.
 
“In partnership with Splatsin and their segments of the CP rail corridor, this proposed land acquisition is intended to ensure public ownership of a key linear corridor to be used for recreational opportunities, including walking and cycling, while retaining the corridor for future transportation and economic development needs,” the Regional Districts said in a joint media release.

There is also long-term potential to connect the corridor to the Okanagan Rail Trail, currently under development between Kelowna and Coldstream.
 
Columbia Shuswap Regional District chair Rhona Martin is thrilled to see overwhelming support for the project.  

“Acquiring the rail corridor will be a long lasting legacy for residents, visitors and the communities in our region,” Martin says in the release. “We expect this project to be another tremendous tourism opportunity that will contribute greatly to our local economy.”

North Okanagan Regional District board vice-chair Juliette Cunningham shares the excitement.

“The successful public assent process for the CP rail corridor brings us one step closer to securing yet another section of trail, building on the CN rail corridor purchase between Coldstream and Kelowna,” Cunningham says. “These trails will undoubtedly result in increased tourism activity, and be a tremendous asset to local residents.”
 
The total cost of the purchase is $6.5 million, and with the provincial government’s contribution of $2.17 million announced in March 2017, North Okanagan and Columbia Shuswap Regional Districts agreed to split the remaining cost on a 50-50 basis, each paying $2.17 million.

The final purchase is still subject to a satisfactory legal and environmental examination of the property by the Regional District partners, states the release.


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