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Petition protests Sicamous council decision holding up work on rail trail

Delegation appearing before council at Feb. 28 meeting
A group of locals, led by Leanne Hamilton, has started a petition to have Sicamous council reconsider giving the necessary rezoning to allow work to start on the rail trail, and is hosting a public meeting at Bruhn Crossing at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22. (File photo)

A Sicamous resident is petitioning district council to reverse a decision holding up work on the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail.

After council’s split vote that defeated rezoning required for work to start on the rail trail’s north end, Leanne Hamilton launched a petition demanding it reconsider.

At the Feb. 14 council meeting, councillors opposed to the zoning amendment cited issues of trail crossings for dock owners, lack of access from town and parking. Though the public hearing held at that time had a number of residents speak against the rezoning, the district received 11 letters in support, with the writers now trying to overturn the decision.

“This decision deeply affects me and many others who believe in the potential benefits this trail could bring,” Hamilton, owner of Hooked Decor & Gifts, said in her online petition. “The Shuswap Rail Trail is more than just a path; it represents an opportunity for economic growth and promotes healthy living within our community… the council’s decision seems short-sighted considering how much we stand to gain from completing this project.”

Hamilton hosted a public meeting on Feb. 22, with 11 people in attendance. While discussing issues raised at the last council meeting, Hamilton pointed out they are addressed in the rail trail development plan that’s available online at Brenda Dalzell, who co-hosted the meeting, added that trail ownership group has done the research, and that “it won’t get opened until there’s parking and a safe access.”

“We need the zoning so we can start the foundation,” she said.

Though the petition is still open for signatures, both online and in person, Hamilton submitted the 216 she had already collected to the district, and requested to appear as a delegation at the Feb. 28 council meeting.

“The game plan is to walk in there very positive and address all their points,” she said.

Sicamous deputy corporate officer Sarah Kyllo explained that the request to have council reconsider its decision doesn’t fit the criteria to go to a referendum, which is only required for the disposal of certain utilities or specified parkland, municipal boundary extensions and loan authorization bylaws. She did, however, say that through the Community Charter, the mayor has the ability to have council reconsider and vote again on a matter within 30 days of the original decision.

As of Feb. 23, the online petition, which can be found at, has 270 of its now 500-signature goal after hitting the original target of 100 within a day.

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

Read more: Work on Sicamous section of rail trail to start in March

About the Author: Heather Black

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