PENTICTON - Infrastructure construction for a private property accessed by the Kettle Valley Trail has raised concerns at the regional district board table.
Area D director Tom Siddon informed Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board members at yesterday’s, May 4, board meeting about the “wild scene” taking place along a section of the right of way through Kaleden since last week.
Contractors tore up a section of the rail trail to install water and electrical lines to Sickle Point, a piece of property that was involved in some previous controversy two years ago when a dispute over the right of way took place between two private landowners and the province. The dispute was resolved in 2016, along with a condition in the agreement that Sickle Point could not be subdivided.
Last week’s construction took place in an area that had just seen extensive trail improvements made by the regional district last fall. The district holds a license of occupation on the trail.
Siddon said two sets of pipes had been installed along the right of way, which had been excavated up to six feet deep, adding the pipes were of a much larger diameter than would be needed for a single residence.
He was concerned the regional district had no knowledge of the construction work taking place on the trail right of way, noting the trenching was taking place on the upslope side of the trail, against a hillside red zoned as unstable, without prior geotechnical evaluations taking place.
“The public has been going through a war zone. There’s no signage, no provision for public safety,” he said.
He found out about the construction work when neighbouring property owners on Alder Avenue in Kaleden called him.
“The width of desecration is wider than the trail,” Siddon said. He called it “quite a disturbing development” if the lands branch gave the go-ahead.
“Who pays for remediation?” he asked the board, adding a lot of people were very angry about it.
The work caught regional district staff off guard as well, as chief administrative officer Bill Newell said it was the first time he’d heard anything about it.
"The regional district is an adjacent Provincial license holder over the Kettle Valley Rail Trail surface and as such, we are interested to ensure that utility corridor construction project does not disrupt trail use or negatively impact the trail in the long term, after the project is complete,” community services manager Mark Woods said in an email on May 5.
"Regional district staff are working with provincial staff to ensure these points are addressed,” he said.
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