The Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail is receiving a $500,000 boost from the Provincial Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant Program to develop a section of the trail near the City of Armstrong.
The money will be applied to develop and construct a section of the rail trail from Lansdowne Road in the Township of Spallumcheen to Smith Drive in the City of Armstrong. This section of the trail will be constructed on the south side of the CP Rail right-of-way operated by CN Rail.
CN Rail has agreed to support this project with a long-term lease agreement for those lands, which will allow for the development of a four-metre-wide trail in this section.
The grant is a partnership effort involving the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), Splatsin, and the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO). The total grant application is for $820,000, with the province funding $500,000 and the CSRD and RDNO each contributing approximately $160,000 from reserve funds.
“From its beginnings, this project has been about working together to create a legacy project that will connect our communities with a pathway that promotes active living for people of all ages and abilities,” says CSRD Board Chair Kevin Flynn. “This grant funding partnership allows for the development of another key section of the rail trail, and we are very appreciative of that.”
The funds will apply directly to the development of multi-use recreational active trail development and will include road crossings, barriers, and signage to allow for safer access. The compact aggregate trail will be designed for universal accessibility.
“This important and timely grant funding is appreciated as it brings the total dollars raised very close to the amount needed to develop the entire Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail,” says Grahame Go, Chief Executive Officer of the Splatsin Development Corporation.
“Construction of the rail trail is starting this spring, and this additional support will ensure its success − leading to the preservation of Splatsin’s cultural assets and promotion of indigenous values, while simultaneously providing recreational and tourism economic opportunities for the region,” he adds.
Community research shows that residents and visitors who want to walk or cycle in this area are discouraged by the risks of using roads intended for motor vehicles. Currently, there are no separated pathways for this type of transportation. The rail trail project will create a safe space for walking and cycling from Sicamous to Armstrong.
“We’ve all seen how well the Okanagan Rail Trail gets people outside and active, even throughout the colder months, and the Shuswap North Rail Trail is sure to do the same,” said RDNO Board Chair, Kevin Acton. “Investing in active transportation corridors which allows the opportunity to leave the car behind and enjoy nature which helps keep people and the environment healthy.”
Planning for the construction of this section of trail is already underway and it is hoped construction will begin in 2023. The grant stipulates the funds be used before the end of 2025.
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