Vernon at centre of rail trails convergence

More local development input sought for Okanagan and North Okanagan/Shuswap rail trails

The North Okanagan Regional District will set up a working group on how to enhance the economic opportunities presented by the Okanagan Rail Trail and North Okanagan/Shuswap Rail Trail.

Regional district staff have been asked to report back to the regional board on how the working group might function within the realm of the operation, planning and marketing for the two rail trails.

Beyond politicians, the idea is that outside user groups would be invited to participate in the working group.

Catherine Lord, a Vernon regional board director, said while Kelowna and Lake Country are focal points of the Okanagan Rail Trail and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association is based out of Kelowna, she noted the two rail projects converge on the Vernon area.

“We are at the centre of what is going to happen with these two projects and we need to have greater local involvement in that decision-making process moving forward,” Lord said.

The discussion arose from a resolution adopted by the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee, requesting that representatives from Vernon and Coldstream be added to the Okanagan Rail Trail Interjurisdictional Development Team.

That resolution, however, was amended to only include Coldstream, at the recommendation of GVAC chair and Vernon regional board director Juliette Cunningham.

Cunningham said the trail falls within Coldstream’s municipal jurisdiction, raising issues about public access and parking, but falls outside Vernon’s civic borders.

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