Technical experts from Waters Edge Limited assess rising waters and erosion on the rail trail along the Shuswap River this spring for the Sicamous-to-Armstrong rail trail development plan. (Waters Edge Ltd. Photo)

Technical experts from Waters Edge Limited assess rising waters and erosion on the rail trail along the Shuswap River this spring for the Sicamous-to-Armstrong rail trail development plan. (Waters Edge Ltd. Photo)

Erosion, flooding push Sicamous-to-Armstrong Rail Trail estimate to $22.9 million

Portion of trail flooded this summer during extended period of high water

Government partners behind the Sicamous-to-Armstrong Rail Trail face higher-than-expected development costs due to flooding over the summer and ongoing soil erosion.

With the recent completion of technical design work, development of the rail trail is now pegged at an estimate of $22.9 million. A Regional District of the North Okanagan (RDNO) staff report, circulated prior to the Aug. 21 meeting of the trail Governance Advisory Committee, stated the estimate is for a 50-kilometre gravel corridor similar to the Okanagan Rail Trail developed between Coldstream and Kelowna.

“It’s substantially higher than predicted because there’s some major erosion and flooding,” commented said Phil McIntyre-Paul with the Shuswap Trail Alliance, which was contracted to oversee planning and development of the rail corridor.

McIntyre-Paul said was known three years ago, after the trail alliance conducted a preliminary investigation, that there would be issues with erosion in some sections of the trail.

“This spring gave us a chance to see what water was doing – we had fairly high water this year and then it did another unusual thing, it stayed high for a long time… So it allowed us to watch what was happening over an extended period time but it also meant the damage was extended as well,” said McIntyre-Paul.

In addition to the erosion, a section of the trail by Rosemond Lake flooded, and gabion-basket supports set up when the abandoned railway was still in use were found to have failed.

Read more: Planning proceeds on Sicamous-to-Armstrong rail trail

Read more: Rail trail project proceeding despite denied government grant

“So when you start putting all of that together, there’s at least three-and-a-half kilometres of substantial erosion work that has to be done, and then another kilometre of less aggressive but still substantial work,” said McIntyre-Paul.

Factored into the new cost estimate is the building up of areas that could flood based on 10 and 25 year flood levels.

The development cost estimate did not diminish the governance committee’s enthusiasm for the project, said McIntyre-Paul, explaining the work would be done in stages, ideally with funding from upper levels of government.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District board has yet to formally receive a report on the updated cost estimate, but CSRD administrator Charles Hamilton, who sits on the rail trail technical operational committee, wasn’t entirely pleased with the figure, especially with the fact that it includes a 40 per cent contingency.

“The idea of a budget is to have some measure of accuracy, not adequacy, so it kind of bothers me when the engineers come up with 40 per cent… That really affects your planning and your fundraising and your starting point,” said Hamilton. “What I’d like to see is a little more budget realism.”

That higher cost impacts matching funds local government partners, the CSRD, RDNO and Splatsin, would have to come up with for grant funding opportunities from the provincial or federal governments.

“The problem is we just don’t have the taxing authority under the current bylaw to raise enough money to come up with that $5 million-$6 million figure…,” said Hamilton, adding there is also need to be mindful of tax thresholds and the fact this is a difficult time for many people right now.

McIntyre-Paul said that sensitivity to the current economic climate is being considered in planning that is underway for a fundraising campaign aimed at acquiring the money needed for future grant applications. He said that is expected to launch this fall.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

railwayShuswap LakeTrails

Just Posted

Song Sparrow Hall producer and sound engineer Craig Newnes with Darrin Herting from Jimmy Two Shoes & the Lost Soles prepare to record for The Wharf Sessions. (Kate Fagervik photo)
Wednesday on the Wharf makes 2021 debut as digital offering

Variety of musicians and musical styles recorded in The Wharf Sessions

Two people were killed in an April 6 collision on Highway 1 east of Salmon Arm. (RCMP Image)
RCMP correct cause of fatal April 6 collision on Highway 1 near Sicamous

Crash resulted in the deaths of both drivers involved

Completion of the Solsqua-Sicamous Bridge isn’t expected until spring 2022. (District of Sicamous photo)
Sicamous bridge completion pushed to spring 2022

Overnight crossing delays expected at Solsqua-Sicamous Bridge, May 18-21

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

The province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory Tuesday

The Vernon School District has cancelled spring break trips in following with the province's health recommendations amide COVID-19. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon school trustee candidates face off in forum

Voters in Vernon, BX and Silver Star can join May 18 virtual meeting

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Collecting the rookie cards of current and former Indigenous. (Instagram)
Kelowna collector to distribute hockey cards to Indigenous youth players

Naim Cardinal is a member of Tallcree First Nation in Alberta

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Contributed)
Police offer no updates into two brothers found dead in Penticton last week

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a couple walking in Naramata on May 10

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran addresses media from the front steps of council chambers on March 23, 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
‘Playing with fire’: Kelowna Mayor urges caution, vaccination after busy weekend downtown

Mayor Colin Basran said he felt there were a lot of people from out of town in the city over the weekend

Most Read