The Okanagan Rail Trail where it passes through an Oyama land owner who is suing Lake Country.

Lake Country responds to BC Supreme Court lawsuit over Okanagan Rail Trail

District says the value of lands adjacent to the rail trail will not be affected by development of the trail

The District of Lake Country says the construction of the Okanagan Rail Trail will provide a positive amenity and will not lower the value of adjacent residential properties such as the Day property in Oyama.

The statement was filed by Lake Country in B.C. Supreme Court in response to a civil lawsuit filed by Colin and Moira Day, whose Oyama property is dissected by the Okanagan Rail Trail.

The Days filed a lawsuit earlier this year after Lake Country expropriated a 1.7 acre stretch of the corridor that runs through their property, asking for market value for the land taken.

But in its filing in supreme court, Lake Country says an advance payment of $286,500 “fully compensates” the Days for the value of the expropriated land and any loss in value to the remainder of the property.

The Day family home sits on 10.33 acres of land with the rail corridor splitting the property in two. Above the corridor sits a nine acre orchard while below the trail sits a house facing Wood Lake on 1.32 acres.

In court documents filed by the Day’s the former Kelowna city councillor says the trail will destroy the privacy, ambience and integrity of the lands and has caused substantial loss in value on the remainder of the land.

In response, Lake Country says in addition to the $286,500 payment, another advance payment of $7,000 was made for mitigative measures to install a security fence and cedar privacy hedge, avoiding any loss in value on the remainder of the lands.

The stretch of the Okanagan Rail Trail that passes through the Day property became the subject of the lawsuit after the Days were able to negotiate a first right of refusal with CN Rail and purchased the corridor on their land in 2014.

However once the rail corridor was purchased by Lake Country, as part of an inter-jurisdictional team that included Kelowna and the North Okanagan Regional District, the Days went into negotiations with the communities to try and come to a settlement.

After negotiations broke down, Lake Country moved to expropriate the land in May of this year.

Both sides have now filed their responses to the court action with BC Supreme Court. A court date to hear the lawsuit has not been set.

Fundraising to develop the 48.5 kilometre long Okanagan Rail Trail is continuing. It’s expected to take $7.6 million to develop the trail with about 24 per cent of the total goal raised so far.

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