Representatives from several local governments meet in April 2017 to announce the purchase of the rail corridor between Sicamous and Armstrong. (File photo)

Grant funding sought for rail trail project between Sicamous and Armstrong

Provincial money will fund project manager if received.

The group of local governments working towards the construction of a recreational trail between Sicamous and Armstrong is seeking help from the provincial government.

An application for $500,000 in rural dividend funds was submitted by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District on July 31.

The 50-kilometre CP rail corridor running from Sicamous to Armstrong was purchased by a partnership of the Province, CSRD, the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) and the Splatsin Indian Band in 2017.

The $500,000 grant being applied for will go towards funding a project manager position and preliminary design costs for the rail trail project.

Related: Rail trail purchase proceeds

According to a document provided by the District of Sicamous, a request for proposals to handle the environmental, archaeological and engineering portions of the project is also planned for 2018. The project timeline says that phase 1 construction on the rail trail, which will span 16 kilometres, is scheduled to begin in 2019. According to the timeline, the final phase of construction on the project will begin in 2022 or 2023.

Both the District of Sicamous and CSRD Electoral Area E, which represents the rural areas around Sicamous, are putting economic development funds behind the project. Each is contributing $168,000.

CSRD Area E director and board chair Rhona Martin said there are numerous reasons to support the rail trail project.

“There’s a trillion reasons why. There’s the opportunity for connectivity all the way down the line and, once this section is done, who’s to say where it could go from there – there could be the opportunity to go even further,” she said.

“There’s huge tourism opportunities, there’s huge recreational opportunities for the people that live here.”

Martin said she sees the project’s potential as an economic driver and having a route between Sicamous and Armstrong owned by local governments is important for possible transportation upgrades in the future.

“Say in 100 years if they need transportation lines. It’s owned by local government and my thoughts have always been that the trail that’s constructed should keep that in mind, we may have to share it with something a long time from now.”

She noted that purchasing the old rail corridor in 2017, rather than shortly before construction began on some future transportation route, will lead to big cost savings.

“I’ve always been a strong supporter of this project and I’m very grateful that the board of directors got behind this project and supported it the way they did.”

She said support came from parts of the Shuswap far from the planned trail and also from Revelstoke and Electoral Area B because the directors from other areas see benefits for the entire region.

Martin said the project will need input from the public going forward.

“When the time comes and we’re reaching out to the public for input, my request to the public would be, ‘please come and make us aware of your thoughts.’”

Martin said the trail will run along private property in some places when it is completed and the owners of those properties need to bring forward their concerns so the board can do its best to try and address them.

Related: UPDATE: Rail trail purchase on track

“When we want input we’re really relying on people to come and share their thoughts with us because at the end of the day that’s what builds a really good project is when there has been full participation.”

Terry Rysz, the mayor of Sicamous, said the project is going smoothly thanks to cooperation between local governments and the Shuswap Trail Alliance.

He said while a lot about the project remains to be seen, a similar trail project in the Kettle Valley near Kelowna attracts approximately 350,000 visitors per year.

Rysz said if the planned trail can get even one-tenth of that many visitors it will be a great benefit to the local economy in Sicamous and the surrounding area.

“We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s going to be a spectacular addition to this beautiful part of the province,” Rysz said.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Renowned piano player to headline Peach Festival

Tom Waters, performing at Penticton Peach Festival, has hit the stage with The Rolling Stones

Update: Highway 3 west of Keremeos open to alternating traffic

Details scarce about collision that has closed Highway 3 west of Keremeos

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Friday last day before rain and clouds return

Environement Canada forcasts a sunny Friday, but darker weekend days

NHL alumni and Canadian country music stars gearing up for Okanagan charity extravaganza

A two-day May weekend event combines, hockey, golf, country music and a whole lot of fun

Behind the mask of the South Okanagan furries community

Penticton furries community member said it’s not a sexual thing

Foodie Friday: crocodile pizza at Bad Tattoo

Take a trip down under and try the Penticton brewery’s newest creation

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

It’s almost time to wine tour again in Kelowna

Lots of great places to visit according to Tourism Kelowna

Okanagan librarian delves into trio of titles

Book Talk: Dark Matter, Lincoln’s Dreams and The Jealous Kind

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Indigenous students recognized at ceremony at Okanagan College

The ceremony recognizes that students are getting an education while holding onto Indigenous background and teachings

Most Read