Rail trail eyes BC funding

Could there be provincial funds for the Okanagan Rail Trail?

Trail society spokesperson Brad Clements confirms the group will be applying for the “biggest amount we can” from BikeBC.

The Ministry of Transportation has committed $8 million in funding to communities for 2017-18, to enhance and expand cycling infrastructure such as bike lanes, multi-use paths and trails, and cycling/pedestrian bridges.

“We are accepting applications for next year’s BikeBC program now and with this earlier intake, we’ll be able to provide funding decisions to municipalities earlier, which allows them to get started on their cycling projects sooner,” said Transportation Minister Todd Stone. “And with the funding boost of $2 million next year, local governments will have more opportunities to make their communities safer for cyclists and encourage more residents to use cycling for commuting and for recreation.”

“It’s good news that they’ve added a couple million dollars,” said Clements.

He said the Okanagan Rail Trail Society would be partnering with some municipalities or Community Futures to apply for some BikeBC funding.

“We help municipalities complete the grant applications. We’ve got a couple of volunteers who are really great at filling in those applications.”

The cost of constructing the 50 kilometre trail between Coldstream and Kelowna is estimated at close to $8 million.

“With BikeBC, generally $1 million is the largest amount they give out,” Clements explained, without stating how much the province would be asked for.

There is hope the bid for provincial funds will be successful.

“(The trail) will have the biggest impact. This will be a key piece of infrastructure for the tourism industry in the Interior,” Clement said.

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