Construction on Okanagan Rail Trail to begin in the fall

Initial construction phase of the project will be from Dilworth Drive to Airport Way in Kelowna

Construction of the the Okanagan Rail Trail project will start this fall.

Kelowna city council was told by staff Monday that all decommissioning work and remediation has now been completed by former owner, CN Rail, as part of the sale agreement to a group consisting of Kelowna, Lake Country, the North Okanagan Regional District and the Okanagan Indian Band.

Andrew Gibbs, team project manager for the Rail Trail, said preliminary design work is underway and will be complete by July when a cost estimate will be updated.

He added, as part of the preliminary design, public consultations will be held in all the communities the trail passes through.

Once the preliminary design is complete and approved, the project will go to tender and the first phase of the multi-phase, multi-year project will start sometime in the fall.

Gibbs also updated council on the fundraising effort underway to pay for the work. He said $4.5 million of the $7.6 million goal has been raised to date. That money will be augmented by grants for the project expected in the fall.

He said none of the municipalities are putting taxpayer money into the construction. The local governments bought the former CN Rail corridor that runs between Kelowna and Coldstream for $22 million two years ago.

Gibbs described the first phase of work as being fast-tracked, adding the initial phase will be from Dilworth Drive to Airport Way in Kelowna.

The trail will be a 4.6 metres wide compacted aggregate path.12