The Shuswap Trail Alliance has been retained by the Sicamous-to-Armstrong Rail Corridor Governance Advisory Committee to administer the day-to-day operations as the project moves into the design and planning stages.
The committee endorsed a recommendation to bring the Shuswap Trail Alliance on board, noting their expertise with trail projects in the area. The Columbia Shuswap Regional District Board, acting on behalf of the BC Rural Dividend Program funding partners, which include the Splatsin First Nation and the Regional District of North Okanagan, endorsed the recommendation at its regular meeting on June 20, 2019.
"The Shuswap Trail Alliance has proven time and time again they are well prepared and knowledgeable. They are tried, tested and true in the Shuswap Region," noted CSRD Board Chair Rhona Martin.
Fundraising for the trail project will also be a focus of the project, with the non-profit Shuswap Trail Alliance having the ability to accept donations, issue charitable tax receipts and collect donated funds in a special reserve account for the project.
The CSRD, the Splatsin and the RDNO have committed to work together towards developing the 50-kilometre recreational greenway, which would run along the west side of Mara Lake, through portions of the rail corridor previously purchased by Splatsin, and span the communities of Sicamous, Grindrod, Enderby, Spallumcheen and Armstrong.
All three partners note the economic and social benefits of the trail project to citizens and visitors, but also make a commitment towards being good stewards of the land.
To advance the planning stage of proposed 50-kilometre trail project, funds were obtained through a $500,000 grant from the BC Rural Dividend Fund, with a $168,000 commitment from the CSRD's Sicamous and Area E Economic Opportunity Fund and $168,000 from the District of Sicamous.
Grant applications of approximately $13 million have been made to federal government funding programs for the actual trail construction, however, the outcomes are still pending. Splatsin Kukpi7 Wayne Christian, RDNO Board Chair Kevin Acton and CSRD Board Chair Rhona Martin will be continuing efforts to secure federal and provincial funding support for the project.
The undeveloped Rail Trail Corridor remains closed to public use at this time.
Photo: A section of the undeveloped Sicamous-to-Armstrong Rail Trail near Enderby. (Shuswap Trail Alliance photo)