Divisions occur over rail trail

Greater Vernon officials look at amenity options for 2018

There’s differences of opinion over the development of the Okanagan Rail Trail.

Greater Vernon Advisory Committee members sat down Thursday to work on a vision for the trail, and particularly what services may be added in 2018.

“It’s no different than the Grey Canal Trail. There are no washrooms on the Grey Canal Trail,” said director Mike Macnabb.

“Are we trying to say this (rail trail) is a special trail? It’s a trail and people can use this as that. We could pump a lot of money into it and it’s still a trail.”

However, those comments brought a sharp response from Macnabb’s colleagues.

“This is a very special trail. This will be a world class amenity,” said Juliette Cunningham, chairperson.

That view was also shared by director Jim Garlick.

“It’s one of the biggest beaches in our area. It’s opening up 12 kilometres of lake,” he said.

“It will be high usage. It will be a lot different from our existing trails.”

In the end, the committee unanimously directed staff to bring a report back on budget options in 2018 to provide basic amenities for the protection of the trail.

Macnabb, though, challenged the wording of the motion and the fact that using fundraising dollars wasn’t mentioned.

“The motion says we will come back with budget options. That’s taxation,” he said.

However, David Sewell, chief administrative officer, cautioned that any spending would only be for 2018 and not for any long-term development of the trail.

“I’m not sure if we will get people to fund a port-a-potty,” he said.

Staff will also solicit public input on the future development of the trail.

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