Local leaders meet to discuss governance of Okanagan Rail Trail

With the Okanagan Rail Trail inching closer to completion, the question of how it will be governed has come to the forefront.

Elected leaders from jurisdictions that have land ownership on the rail trail met on Friday to discuss options and goals for the 48.5 km trail.

How to proceed with a coordinated approach to governance, operation and administration of the regional rail trail was discussed at length.

“It was good to be involved in such a proactive meeting with other elected leaders from Okanagan Rail Trail owner jurisdictions today,” said Lake Country Councillor Blair Ireland.

“As a public amenity, it is in the interests of all residents to have the local government owners of the corridor work to develop a coordinated approach.”

Kelowna’s mayor Colin Basran was in attendance and he said that there’s a commitment to preserving the new trail.

“Local governments and the Province of B.C. have invested $22 million in the purchase of the discontinued CN rail corridor running from Coldstream to Kelowna,” he said.

“In doing so these communities and First Nations have committed to preserving this corridor as a multi-modal transportation link that will enhance the social, environmental and economic health of the region for generations to come.”

Approximately 26 km of the trail is anticipated to be completed in the spring of 2018.

The remaining sections of the trail will be built once funding and all the necessary approvals are in place.

Parts of the trail are already in use and the public is reminded to stay away from active construction on the corridor.

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