Province steps forward with $7.2 million towards CN corridor purchase

Opponents of provincial funding announcement say no surprise government stepping forward as more folks come out against purchase

Provincial cash is being pumped into preserving a rail corridor.

Victoria committed Tuesday to providing $7.2 million towards the purchase of the abandoned Canadian National line from Coldstream to Kelowna.

“By putting an unused rail line to better use, connecting communities as a cycling and walking  trail, there will be even more reasons to get outside.,” said Premier Christy Clark.

Clark’s announcement came as no surprise to the local jurisdictions who will make up the remainder of the $22 million price tag.

“We’ve been basing our figures on a provincial grant happening,” said James Baker, Lake Country mayor.

Besides Lake Country, the other partners are Kelowna and the Regional District of North Okanagan.

“I’m pleased they (province) have recognized it’s a positive thing for the region,” said Juliette Cunningham, chairperson of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee, which is part of RDNO.

However, provincial funding depends on a positive April 25 referendum in Lake Country to borrow $2.6 million for the rail purchase.

“By making our intention clear to financially  assist with the acquisition, I hope it will better inform residents of  Lake Country as they consider how they will vote on the upcoming referendum,” said Norm Letnick, Lake Country MLA.

Resident Ron Volk, a vocal opponent of the corridor purchase, says it’s no surprise the government made the announcement, as more and more people are coming forward raising concerns about the purchase of the corridor.

Volk said the announcement was made to try to convince people to vote yes in the referendum.

Meanwhile Baker is confident government funding will alleviate some public concerns over buying the land.

“We see this as an investment for the future and an opportunity for (tourism) revenue so we don’t have to tax,” he said.

That view is also supported by Cunningham.

“We don’t often get an opportunity for such a contiguous public access. It opens up opportunities for tourism,” she said.

The Okanagan Indian Band recently filed documents in B.C. Supreme Court over its claim to the Commonage lands, which includes the CN line along Kalamalka Lake.

Chief Byron Louis doesn’t believe the provincial government is interfering in the case by helping local communities purchase the corridor.

“I don’t think it will have much effect on the court case either way,” he said.

“Courts don’t decide based on whether a sitting government is in favour or not. They look at the facts.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central Okanagan school buses to remain parked through the summer

The board of education made the decision to nix bus services on Wednesday

Motor trike crashes into hole in Ellison area

A man was taken to hospital after crashing his trike on Anderson Road

Playgrounds to reopen across the Okanagan on June 1

After nearly two months closure, playgrounds are set to reopen

Kelowna’s Rock the Lake officially postponed until 2021

The new dates have been scheduled for August 6-8, 2021

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Flood watch for Salmon River upgraded as high temperatures, rain forecast

Shuswap Emergency Program warns residents to prepare now for possible extreme flooding

Partial return to class for Central Okanagan students: COVID-19

School District 23 and the Board of Education have released a letter regarding returning to class

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

RCMP request public’s help in locating missing Salmon Arm man

Ken Derkach is a familiar face to many, one of the city’s residents who is without a home

Booze on Kelowna beaches? Mayor says ‘not at the moment’

Mayor Colin Basran says alcohol in public spaces is not on council’s radar right now — but that could change

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Most Read