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Phase 2 of Rails with Trails connects Kelowna with 30 kilometre loop trail

Politicians cut the ribbon on phase two of the City of Kelowna
Politicians cut the ribbon on phase two of the City of Kelowna's Rails with Trails program. From left UBCM president Rhona Martin, Canadian senator Nancy Greene-Raine, Kelowna mayor Walter Gray and Steve Thompson, Kelowna-Lake Country MP.
— image credit: Kevin Parnell

Phase 2 of the Rails with Trails pathway, linking Kelowna in a new 30 kilometre loop trail, was officially opened as part of National Health and Fitness Day Saturday at Parkinson Rec. Centre in Kelowna.

The project completes a vital link in the existing network of active transportation corridors in the city, helping residents get off the road for recreation or their daily commute.

With the addition, the new loop trail is 29.9 kilometres linking the entire city, connecting to the Dilworth area, the Mission Greenway down to Casorso, up Lakeshore and back into the downtown core.

The 4.5-metre wide pathway extends the existing pathway an extra 1.5 kilometres east, from Spall Road to Dilworth Drive, building on the success of the first phase of Rails with Trails, which runs from Gordon Drive to Spall Road.

Canadian skiing legend Nancy Greene-Raine, voted the Canadian athlete of the 20th century and now a Canadian senator, was on hand to open the new trail.

"This new section of Kelowna’s Rails with Trails multi-use path is a great addition to the region’s active transportation network, which residents and visitors will be able to enjoy for years to come," said Green-Raine, who before retiring at the age of 24, won two Olympic medals and 13 World Cup victories on the slopes. "This rail's with trails (program) is an extension of your community's spirit"

The trail links employment hubs such as downtown and the Landmark buildings to where people live. It also connects neighbourhoods and town centres to many of the city’s recreational amenities.Future phases of the project will include a pathway that connects Kelowna’s downtown and cultural district to the University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna International Airport and beyond.

The Government of Canada is providing $1.46 million through the federal Gas Tax Fund, and the Government of British Columbia is providing $1.52 million through BikeBC toward this nearly $3 million infrastructure project.

Quick Facts

•The Government of Canada provides $253,276,892 in annual funding for municipal infrastructure in British Columbia through the federal Gas Tax Fund.

•The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) administers the Gas Tax Fund in BC, in collaboration with Canada and British Columbia.

•Since 2006, the federal Gas Tax Fund has made over $33 million available to the City of Kelowna.

•Cycling is a key component of the BC government’s strategy for encouraging healthy living and addressing climate change, in conjunction with the Climate Action Plan and the Provincial Transit Plan.

•BikeBC is a cost-sharing program between the Government of B.C. and local governments.  Since 2001, the Government of British Columbia has committed over $150 million to cycling infrastructure, creating new cycling lanes and trails in over 90 communities.

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