Plans for the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail are on track.
According to Alex de Chantal, fundraising strategy coordinator for the trail, the project a $500,000 grant from BC Active Transportation on Sept. 29.
Contributions from the District of Sicamous Economic Opportunities Fund and Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) Electoral Area E are also supporting the trail.
This money will support preliminary work on the 19.8 kilometre section of the trail from Sicamous to Mara, and allow the public early access to that section. Some of the work necessary on the trail includes rock scaling, road crossings, bridge decking, safety signage, preliminary grading, and erosion mitigation.
This work will be known as an “Early Access Safety and Asset Protection Project” and will involve project partners including the CSRD, the Regional District of the North Okanagan, and Splatsin te Secwépemc, said de Chantal.
With the Sept. 29 grant included, about $1.4 million has been raised for the project, between grants and corporate and community donations. De Chantal is happy with fundraising progress so far, but noted there’s still a long way to go until the $8 million fundraising goal is met.
“I am grateful to the CSRD Board and Electoral Area E Director Rhona Martin and District of Sicamous council for their ongoing support of the rail trail and for using Economic Opportunity Funds,” she said. “I applaud Splatsin, CSRD, and the RDNO for their leadership and commitment to building this section of the rail trail.”
Word of the $500,000 grant was shared at the City of Salmon Arm council meeting of Sept. 27. While providing his CSRD report, Coun. Kevin Flynn, who also chairs the CSRD board, said the regional district had approved use of $232,000 of economic opportunity funding to try and get $500,000 in provincial grant money for the rail trail project. Coun. Chad Eliason, who sits on the governance advisory committee for the project, confirmed that money was leveraged to get the grant to do initial planning and technical work.
“We wanted a million but we are happy with the $500,000 to get started…,” said Eliason.
Earlier this year the project received more than $700,000 in grants for a pilot section of rail trail within City of Enderby and Splatsin territory.
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