Some holes remain but Okanagan Rail Trail celebrates federal donation - InfoNews

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Some holes remain but Okanagan Rail Trail celebrates federal donation

April 13, 2018 - 11:47 AM

LAKE COUNTRY - Gaps in the Okanagan rail trail are temporary and are more than made up for by the latest funding announcement, Lake Country Mayor James Baker says.

Early trail users might have noticed a barricade that blocks a portion of the trail near Beaver Lake Road, but Baker says that’s a specific localized issue that will be addressed soon.

“People were driving their vehicles down the east side of Wood Lake,” Baker said. “People were doing doughnuts in (a land owner’s) field. His land comes right down to the rail and it wasn’t fenced yet. We put up a locked gate that cyclists and people can get through but not vehicles.”

Acquisition of land from the Okanagan Indian Band is also still being worked out, Baker said, as the rail corridor had to revert to the federal government first before being given over to the band.

“These are temporary delays,” Baker added. “We fully support what the band is doing.”

The trail is also fenced and locked near Old Vernon Road close to the airport. Rail trail project leader Andrew Gibb said there's no timeline as to when the deal with the band will get done and the section will stay closed until then.

Better news is the $1.3 million of federal funding, Baker said, calling it new money that will advance completion of the rail trail by a year.

“I have to give kudos to MP Stephen Fuhr,” Baker said. “When we approached them about the rail trail, they said they weren’t in acquisition mode but he somehow changed their minds.”

The $1.3 million comes from the federal New Building Canada fund and is on top of $471,000 from the Canada 150 infrastructure fund.

The province of B.C. has provided $1.3 million through Bike BC and the Rural Dividends fund.

The 48.5 kilometre trail runs from Coldstream to Kelowna along the discontinued CP Rail corridor.

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