A recreational corridor is proposed from Spallumcheen to Sicamous. (photo submitted)

Rail purchase process proceeds

RDNO will seek voter approval to purchase former Canadian Pacific rail corridor

Some North Okanagan residents will soon have their say on a proposed recreational corridor.

On Wednesday, the Regional District of North Okanagan board approved an electoral approval process to borrow $2.17 million to purchase the former Canadian Pacific line from Spallumcheen to Sicamous.

“If we communicate what’s involved, people will understand the value in pursuing it,” said Rick Fairbairn, rural Lumby director, of tourism and economic development.

The service area for borrowing would include Armstrong, Enderby, Spallumcheen, Lumby, Area D (rural Lumby) and Area F (rural Enderby).

Public assent will be sought through the alternate approval process, which means if 10 per cent of eligible electors signs a petition in opposition, borrowing would be blocked. Ten per cent of voters for the entire service area is about 1,658 people.

Shirley Fowler, Armstrong director, isn’t sure what will happen.

“We as elected officials are behind it but it doesn’t mean the public sees it as a priority,” she said.

It’s anticipated the petition process could begin June 11 and conclude July 17.

Beyond RDNO, the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District will also seek voter support to borrow funds for the acquisition.

Within the CSRD, a service area will also be established for proposed borrowing of $1.83 million. The service area will include Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Area E (rural Sicamous), Area D (Falkland-Deep Creek), Area C (South Shuswap) and Area F (North Shuswap). The remainder of CSRD’s $2.17 million will come from the Sicamous/Area E Economic Opportunity Fund ($250,000) and the Revelstoke/Area B’EOF Fund ($100,000).

The total purchase price of the 48-kilometre corridor is $6.51 million, with $2.17 million coming from the provincial government.