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Major federal funds for Splatsin to develop rail trail

First Nations band near Enderby receives more than $12 million to develop almost all of old rail corridor
A federal grant worth $12.5 million will help Splatsin develop almost all of the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail. (Jacob Brett file photo)

Splatsin has been awarded a $12.5 million Infrastructure Canada Active Transportation Grant to develop 42.6 kilometres of the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail.

This initiative has been championed by Splatsin leadership, in partnership with the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD).

As per the terms outlined in the program terms and conditions, Canada will support up to 100 per cent of the total eligible costs to a maximum federal contribution of $12,539,445. Funding from all government sources cannot exceed 100 per cent of the project’s total eligible costs.

This funding will cover trail development within Splatsin te Secwépemc territory from Kilometre 0 at the Bruhn Bridge in Sicamous to Kilometre 42.6 near Stepney Road in the Township of Spallumcheen.

“This is very exciting news,” said Splatsin Chief Kukpi7 Doug Thomas. “The significant funding provided by the Canada Federal Active Transportation Grant will enable the construction of the Rail Trail to be completed as soon as possible. The Rail Trail itself will be a boon to our community, providing economic benefits to the region, while promoting healthy lifestyles, family outings, and the appreciation of nature and knowledge of the land. It will also connect people to Secwépemc values and culture.”

The Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail is a non-motorized recreational pathway that will create an active transportation corridor for walking and bicycling between Sicamous and the Township of Spallumcheen. The project will create new tourism and transportation benefits for the region – including the eventual linkage with the recently opened Okanagan Rail Trail and 200 kilometres south to Osoyoos.

Plans for the project include conducting archaeological impact assessments, trail clearing, site preparation and construction with a gravel-based surface, parking areas, fencing, shoreline protection, as well as signage and drainage improvements.

The total length of the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail is 50 kilometres, however, the final 7.4- kilometre section near Armstrong was not included as part of this grant application. It will be considered for other grant applications in the future.

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About the Author: Vernon Morning Star Staff

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