Lake Country council is moving ahead with an Alternative Approval Process to help purchase CN Rail corridor. The 30 day process will begin in mid January.

Lake Country council lays groundwork for Alternative Approval Process to raise taxes, borrow money for CN corridor

Set to begin in mid January, residents will have the chance to vote against the move to borrow money and buy CN Rail corridor

The District of Lake Country is proceeding with the Alternative Approval Process to seek permission from residents to boost taxes 1.68 per cent and borrow $2.6 million to buy 16 kilometres of the CN Rail corridor that passes through Lake Country boundaries.

In a unanimous vote at Lake Country council Tuesday, the district approved three readings of a loan borrowing bylaw that sets the stages for the Alternative Approval Process (AAP) as the district looks to borrow half of its $5.1 million share to purchase the rail corridor as part of a multi-jurisdictional group that has agreed to buy the corridor from CN Rail for $22 million.

Coun. Bill Scarrow asked why the district couldn’t hold a referendum question to poll its residents whether or not they want to purchase the rail line.

“A referendum timeline does not work with the current negotiations going on,” said Lake Country corporate services manager Reyna Seabrook. “We would not have been able to meet the deadline of March 31 with a referendum. In regard to the AAP, we have a huge communications process that we are undertaking. There will be open houses and newspaper ads as much as possible.”

Seabrook told councillors that a referendum question would cost about the same as a general election. This November’s civic election cost Lake Country over $16,000 while the AAP has very few actual costs to the district as residents must sign a petition voicing opposition.

If 10 per cent of residents oppose the tax hike to raise funds, the district must find another way to purchase the line.

“That would mean all of the partners would go back to their boards and there would be a discussion about how to proceed,” said Seabrook.

District councillors praised the chance to purchase the rail line moving through Lake Country and maintain control of the corridor, some 16 kilometres running through Lake Country.

“This is an incredible opportunity,” said Coun. Rob Geier. “I’ve heard some residents say ‘why don’t you let Kelowna have it.’ But I don’t see that as a solution. I think it’s important that we have ownership of the land and we have full control over it.”

While the district moves forward with the AAP to raise about half the funds, the other half—$2.5 million—will come in the form of a loan from Kelowna which will be interest free for three years without any timeline to pay back the loan.

Lake Country administrator Alberto De Feo called the loan a “really good deal” for Lake Country.

“This means we have an opportunity to look at the portion of the land that is in excess of what we need for the corridor and have an opportunity to sell that land at whatever market value there is and pay back the City of Kelowna,” said De Feo. “In the end the Memorandum of Understanding with Kelowna is pretty favourable in that there is no specific deadline that we have to payback the city.”

The 30 day AAP process won’t actually begin until mid-January. Lake Country councillors will be asked to formally approve the process at its meeting Jan. 6 before the district can properly advertise the process. During the 30 day AAP process, forms to sign in opposition to the borrowing bylaw will be available at Lake Country municipal hall as well as on its web site at

Just Posted

UBCO Heat teams unable to secure any wins against Mount Royal Cougars

The mens and womens volleyball and basketball teams went 0-4, but all have rematches Saturday night

Rockets held scoreless in loss against Red Deer

Rockets will look for some points in final game of road trip against Edmonton

New maintenance crew to look after Okanagan Connector

Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. will replace Argo Road Maintenance Inc. in 2019

New Lake Country arts council to request funds from district

The arts council will ask the district for $8,000 from 2019 to 2021

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read