Recreational users of the former KVR rail bed along the west shore of Skaha Lake and residents of Kaleden got an unpleasant Christmas present towards the end of December. Citizens were dismayed to find trail accesss through Kaleden cut off by owners of a piece of property through which the corridor runs, along a section running parallel to Alder Avenue.
The piece of property had been up for sale since 2008, and was purchased by the present owners in late 2010. Prior to the purchase, both the regional district and the province were aware of the timely need for legislation to be placed on the property while it was still in CP’s hands, something that was discussed at a regional district board meeting in September of 2008 – but nothing was ever done, and now that the property is in private hands, the owners are well within their rights to do what they are doing.
Residents who are upset by the present trail situation in Kaleden might be interested in asking their regional and provincial representatives how this happened. The regional district and the province have been strong advocates for trail development in the area since the CPR abandoned the corridor in the early 1990’s, and were well aware of the potential for this piece of property to fall into private hands. It appears as though someone “dropped the ball” with respect to ensuring that the covenant was negotiated with CPR prior to the property’s sale.
There is, no doubt, blame enough to be shared amongst both local and provincial departments and officials in charge of the matter.
The issues surrounding the owners’ reasons for restricting access at this time have a long history and are quite complex. From our point of view it doesn’t look like they will be rectified soon – whether the public is inconvenienced or not.
The only outcome we are certain of at this point is that any solution that opens up the trail again is going to involve money – and further unwarranted expense on the part of the taxpayer.