Taking the long view on Okanagan Rail Trail completion

Taking the long view on Okanagan Rail Trail completion


OKANAGAN – The rush to get control of the abandoned rail corridor is over and now development of the Okanagan Rail Trail is going to slow down somewhat.

Rail trail development team leader Andrew Gibbs told council initial plans will focus on providing a basic trail, four metres wide, from Kelowna to Coldstream, with common signage and road crossings.

Gibbs said cost of the trail remains unknown although previous estimates by the Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative have suggested a price of $180 to $260 a metre or $10 million.

Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative has vowed to raise the initial $10 million and Gibbs said the team will be agressively pursuing government grants but full development of the trail is likely many years away.

“It really will depend on the public’s interest in this project as to how fast it will advance,” Gibbs added.

The Okanagan Rail Trail is a partnership between Kelowna, Lake Country, the North Okanagan Regional District, the Okanagan Indian Band and the provincial government.

Gibbs said individual communties are free to spend more money on the portions of the trail within their boundaries, as long as it remains contiguous.

“It could be that one community has the need to get bikes off the highway or something like that so maybe there’s an advantage to that community putting more money into a particular piece of the trail if it fits in with their overall plan.”

A series of open houses on the project are planned for Kelowna and Lake Country beginning next week, with the development team seeking suggestions from the public on the initial trail design.

For more Okanagan Rail Trail stories, click here.

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