One of two Lake Country property owners who has the first right to purchase a portion of the CN Rail corridor running through their property, has exercised that right and will purchase the corridor from CN.
Moira Day confirmed on Wednesday that her family will buy the corridor running through their Oyama property after her and husband Colin Day negotiated the right of first refusal for the corridor that comes within inches of their Oyama home.
Day said the deal has not been finalized however some money has changed hands and the details are just being worked out adding purchasing the corridor is a way to protect their interests.
“This is a huge issue for us because the corridor bisects our property,” said Day. “Even if the trail is moved up and away from the house, it still devalues our property. We are open to talk and just see what happens. At this point we are just taking it one day at a time and we will see how the referendum vote goes.”
Day said if the referendum is passed and the acquisition team wants to purchase their stretch of the corridor, the trail would have to be moved farther away from the Day house. The actual rail-line is within just a few metres of their home while the corridor comes within a few feet of their house.
The Day’s are one of two property owners that have the first right to purchase the corridor from CN. Moira says the rail line was initially built on the Day property and not on CN land and the CN actually approached the Day’s to clear up the issue, offering them first right of refusal in a deal that took years to complete and was signed in 2010.
There are about 140 individually-owned parcels of land along the corridor from Kelowna to Coldstream, some of them large agriculture operators and others homes, such as the stretch in Oyama along the East side of Wood Lake.
Day says she feels for her neighbors in the area that don’t have the right of first refusal but have the corridor coming just as close to their homes.
“We’ve been here a long time and we have some great neighbors that are truly affected by this,” she said. “We really feel for them so we are trying to do the right thing for everybody. I’ve got so many concerns, one is where the trail is on our property but also for our immediate family. I do think this has been handled badly.”
News of the Day’s decision comes just a day after the first advance polls were held in Lake Country as residents are being asked to approve the borrowing of $2.6 million to join the inter-jurisdiction purchase of the corridor for a total of $22 million.
Doug Gilchrist at the City of Kelowna is the head of that team and he says he understands the concerns of individual property owners in Lake Country but adds the group will be working with citizens along the corridor should the team be able to purchase the CN land.
“We’re not going to ignore any of (residents concerns),” he said. “We’re not going to roll through any of those people that have concerns. We have said all along that we are intending to work with everyone. To understand their needs and interests. There are ways to work with them if they have individual issues on their property.”
Gilchrist says agriculture operations that currently have access over the corridor on their land will be able to negotiate similar deals along the corridor that they have now with CN that allows residents to cross the corridor and access different parts of their property.
The referendum is April 25 in Lake Country.