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CSRD announces spring start to rail trail construction, but not in Sicamous

Regional district says rail trail partners considering ‘alternative trailhead parking options’
In 4-3 split, Sicamous council defeated the rezoning required to start work on the rail trail, with those opposed citing too many unanswered questions during discussion at the Feb. 14 council meeting. (Black Press file photo)

Rail trail construction is expected to get rolling this spring, though not in Sicamous.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), one of owners/partners behind the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail project, said work will begin from kilometre 3.5, and move southwards along Mara Lake.

Construction of the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail will be proceeding this spring, beginning at kilometre 3.5 and moving southwards along Mara Lake, said the CSRD in a Feb. 23 media release. Plans for kilometre 0 (Sicamous) to 3.5, however, are on hold as a result of a recent rezoning decision by District of Sicamous council.

On Feb. 14, a public hearing was held for three proposed zoning amendments for Sicamous Zoning Amendment Bylaw 1044. If and when approved, the bylaw would change the zoning along the section of trail trail within the District of Sicamous from residential to parkland. This, explained the CSRD, would “authorize the use of the Sicamous section for recreational purposes.”

“After hearing from participants, the vote by District of Sicamous council members to approve Zoning Amendment Bylaw 1044 was defeated four to three,” said the CSRD. “Consequently, the rail trail ownership partners, which include the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), Splatsin té Secwépemc and the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO), will not undertake any immediate construction activities within the Sicamous section.”

With the hold up on the Sicamous end, the CSRD said the rail trail partners will be considering “alternative trailhead parking options.”

Providing some background on the project, the CSRD explained the collaborative rail trail partnership was formed to purchase the 50.25-kilometres of the former CP Rail corridor to construct the rail trail as a non-motorized corridor for recreational walking and cycling.

“The three ownership partners remain unanimous in their continued support to see the rail trail project reach a successful conclusion,” said the CSRD. “The ownership partners are pleased with the financial support provided to this project from the Federal and Provincial governments, including the pending $12.5 million Infrastructure Canada Active Transportation Grant, which will fund the development of 42.6 kilometres of the trail.”

Sicamous council’s Feb. 14 decision was supported by owners of properties within the district along the proposed rail trail. The CSRD said prior to the purchase of the rail trail lands, many of those upland private property owners “installed docks that partially encroach within the 30-metre wide rail trail corridor.”

“Initially, the RDNO and CSRD offered these private property owners the opportunity to validate their encroachments,” said the CSRD. “To date, the private property owners have not obtained authorization to legitimize their foreshore use, which leaves the three ownership jurisdictions in a position to advise the Province of BC that these dock owners do not own land upland of the foreshore.”

Read more: 4-3 split vote defeats rail trail rezoning in Sicamous

Read more: Petition protests Sicamous council decision holding up work on rail trail

Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market, and Eagle Valley News. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to keep our readers informed and engaged.
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