Lake Country formally initiates Alternative Approval Process to try and buy CN Rail corridor

At a special meeting of Lake Country council, the AAP rules are set forth as Lake Country looks to borrow $2.6 million

District of Lake Country Council initiated an alternative approval process (AAP) today seeking elector approval to borrow up to $2.6 million to fund 50 per cent of the purchase of the discontinued CN rail line within District of Lake Country’s jurisdiction.

“Anyone that supports the borrowing for this purchase does not need to do anything,” said Reyna Seabrook, Corporate Services Manager.

Lake Country electors opposed to the borrowing must submit the established Elector Response Form with an original signature by Monday, February 23, 2015 at 12 p.m.  In order to keep track of how many forms have been distributed, forms will be available to be picked up at the Municipal Hall starting January 14th or can be mailed upon request.

If less than 10 per cent of Lake Country’s 9,315 eligible electors object to the borrowing, the AAP is successful and the District may borrow the funds through the Municipal Financial Authority to be paid back over a 20 year term.  This may result in the average residential dwelling valued at $475,000 seeing an equivalent value property tax increase of approximately $27 per year over 20 years.

The City of Kelowna will invest in the remaining 50 per cent of the CN rail line lands within Lake Country to minimize the tax impact on the Lake Country residents and help protect the opportunity to acquire the entire CN rail line.  Lake Country has identified some portions of surplus lands to protect for the benefit of the community but the sale of remaining surplus lands will go directly to reducing Kelowna’s 50 per cent investment in Lake Country lands and increase Lake Country’s ownership. Over time Lake Country will purchase Kelowna’s 50 per cent investment in the lands back.

Loan Authorization Bylaw (Okanagan Rail Corridor) 906, 2014 to borrow the funds received three readings from Council on December 16th and with the Statutory Approval received from the Inspector of Municipalities, Council can now start the AAP process where eligible Lake Country voters can indicate their opposition to borrowing the funds for this project.

The District is committed to ensuring the process is transparent and informative to all citizens. Information will be provided through a variety of channels including the news media, website, social media and public open houses to interact with staff. Open houses will be held on Wednesday, January 21 at the Municipal Hall from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Thursday, January 22 at the Oyama Community Hall from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

For more information about the AAP process visit www.okanaganway.ca/municipal (Okanagan Rail Corridor QuickLink).