The BC government has got the ball rolling on plans by local government to purchase a section of former rail corridor north of Armstrong.
Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo has announced 2.1 million dollars towards buying a 43 kilometre section from Canadian Pacific between Armstrong and Sicamous.
Regional District of North Okanagan chair Bob Fleming says the final deal still has to be completed with CP.
“Now that the province has made a commitment of 2.17 million dollars it’s a huge step forward in trying to complete the process,” Fleming tells Kiss FM.
Photo: Bob Fleming, Regional District of North Okanagan board chair
Fleming says RDNO and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District would provide the rest of the funding for the purchase which would be about $6.5 million.
Officials say it could be very similar to the Okanagan Rail Trail being developed between Coldstream and Kelowna.
“Once finalized, this latest acquisition will add to the already diverse supply of trails in the Okanagan, providing even more recreational opportunities for residents and tourists,” says MLA Greg Kyllo.
“There is a tentative agreement that’s already been completed,” Kyllo tells Kiss FM. “The agreement is largely being led by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District and the Regional District of North Okanagan.”
The CSRD and the RDNO intend to purchase 43 kilometres of discontinued Canadian Pacific rail line with future plans to convert it into a multi-use recreational trail, complementing the seven kilometres of corridor that has already been acquired by the Splatsin First Nation.
The proposed 50 kilometre trail would run along the west side of Mara Lake, and could service the communities of Armstrong, Enderby, Grindrod and Sicamous, and others in the area.
This portion of the Canadian Pacific Rail line ceased rail operations in 2009.
“The acquisition, once finalized, will add to the Okanagan’s recreational corridors, which includes the Kettle Valley Railway, including the segment from Osoyoos to Kelowna, and the planned Okanagan Trail that will run between Kelowna and Coldstream. The Province provided $7.3 million towards the purchase of the Okanagan Trail in 2015,” says a media release from the BC government.