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

UPDATE: Rail trail purchase on track

UPDATE: July 21

The celebratory air of the rail trail continued at the July 20 CSRD board meeting.

“This is fantastic news; we’re all thrilled with the overwhelming support for this project,” said chairperson Rhona Martin.

“I think Mayor Rysz is strapped into his seat or he’d be bouncing all over.”

Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz responded by thanking regional district staff for their work and board, including directors who are not affected by the project. “It’s an exciting day for all of us.”

Salmon Arm Coun. Kevin Flynn epressed surprise that the naysayers accounted for less than half of one percent of the population.

“I think that’s amazing.”

Chad Eliason, another Salmon Arm councillor, sent his thanks to the Shuswap Trail Alliance through their work that provided the knowledge of the great things that can be accomplished when groups work together.

Although not impacted directly, Revelstoke Mayor Mark McKee was also enthusiastic.

“Thanks to Charles (CAO Hamilton) for making surethe i’s and ts were taken care of,” I think the end result will be something everyone can be proud of for years to come”

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It’s all aboard for local taxpayers purchasing an abandoned rail corridor.

Not enough names in opposition to borrowing funds were gathered, so the Columbia-Shuswap and North Okanagan regional districts can proceed with buying the former Canadian Pacific line from Spallumcheen to Sicamous.

“I’m happy it’s going ahead,” said Herman Halvorson, RDNO’s rural Enderby director.

As part of the public asset process, borrowing would have been shot down if 10 per cent of electors signed a petition in both regional districts. In RDNO, 10 per cent of the service area voters was 1,658 and 91 signatures were received. In the CSRD, 10 per cent was 2,918 and 141 people signed the petition.

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

RDNO will borrow its entire $2.17 million contribution, with the service area including Armstrong, Enderby, Spallumcheen, Lumby, Area D (rural Lumby) and Area F (rural Enderby).

Within the CSRD, a service area will be established for 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).

Once the regional districts own the corridor, the next step will look at projected costs for developing it into a trail.

“It’s a process and it will take some time,” said Halvorson.

Greg McCune, Enderby director, believes a rail trail will draw tourists and bolster the economy.

“If we look into the future, it will be a great asset for the region,” he said.