Representatives from the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO), Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), and Splatsin met earlier this month to establish a Technical Team that will continue meetings with CP Rail officials to discuss acquisition options for the remaining sections of the 50-kilometre CP Rail lands.
“We are pleased with these next steps taken toward acquiring the abandoned CP Rail lands as a contiguous corridor,” says Splatsin Chief Wayne Christian.
Regional District of North Okanagan Chair Rick Fairbairn, explains that the groups met with CP Rail officials several times over the past year and through a recently approved Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CP Rail, the political jurisdictions are working collectively to establish the necessary structure for undertaking the acquisition of the abandoned rail line.
There is no deadline for the land deal and a formal purchase and sale agreement for the railway lands will need to be finalized, funding approvals secured from the respective jurisdictions and grant funding from senior levels of government will also likely need to be obtained for a viable business case.
Columbia Shuswap Regional District Chair Rhona Martin says, “The Technical Team will work with CP Rail on moving forward with the purchase and the development of a business model to oversee the corridor on a go forward basis”. Martin went on to say that: “there is strong support among the partners to acquire the rail line as a contiguous corridor as this will provide our communities with a wide range of recreational opportunities and provide an enduring legacy for the North Okanagan Shuswap.”
An agreement will need to be drafted which will formalize the relationship between the partners. The agreement will address the apportionment of costs and detail the sections of the corridor each partner would be responsible for overseeing.
While the Technical Team negotiates the agreement details, the political leadership will be embarking on a lobbying campaign with relevant senior government officials for grant funding to help defray the overall cost at the local level.