The Okanagan Rail Trail is facing a considerable stumbling block in its goal of having a continuous path from Kelowna to Coldstream.
Last week, the Agricultural Land Commission issued a multi-page report on why it is rejecting plans for one part of the trail. That section, north of Kelowna International Airport to Winfield, prevents the trail from being continuous.
“The ALC has asked us to look for an alternate route,” said Andrew Gibbs with the City of Kelowna. “So we’ll be looking for an alternate route. We’ll also go back to them — we’re looking for some clarification on what objectives are they trying to achieve? And maybe there are some other options other than an alternate route or specifically what they’re looking for in an alternate route that will help us get there.”
For the complete ALC decision, click here. It will take you to the ALC’s website, where you can download the report.
In its decision, the ALC cited a variety of concerns, ranging from trespassing on farm land to equipment theft to public safety to littering. In all, the ALC said the trail would impact 174 properties, with 26 of those being located in the ALC.
The ALC said it gave permission for properties 1-13 and 18-26, but not properties 14-17, which bisect the Eldorado Ranch – itself comprised of seven properties within the ALC.
Earlier this year, the ALC said a public forum regarding the Okanagan Rail Trail was held in Lake Country, and that 14 landowners contacted the ALC for them to visit their sites. The ALC said it conducted site visits in late March and that, after consideration, it refused to give the OK to construct the trail as proposed.
The City of Kelowna says it wants to keep the trail in a straight line because there are plans to make the rail trail a transportation corridor — it has the potential to be turned into a light-rail or rapid bus route.