Vernon residents Dianne and Keith Hustler enjoy a walk on a section of the Okanagan Rail Trail McCarthy Road in Lake Country last year.—Image: Carli Berry/Capital News

Lake Country council endorses nature park next to Okanagan Rail Trail

If funding is approved, a new nature park could be constructed in the district

Lake Country councillors happily endorsed a grant application that could help build a new nature park next to the Okanagan Rail Trail.

Council approved of an application for provincial and federal grant funding for a cultural centre and nature park at the Woodsdale packinghouse site located at 3724 Woodsdale Rd, Tuesday night during its regular council meeting.

The $4 million project would be 73 per cent covered by the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

The project includes design and construction of the following amenities: cultural centre, interpretive trails and boardwalks, viewing pavilions, public art, enhanced wetland and grassland habitats, outdoor classrooms and gathering spaces and permanent washroom facilities, according to a report which was presented to council during its regular council meeting.

READ MORE: Application for nature park in Lake Country to be discussed at council

Coun. Penny Gambell voiced concern over maintaining the land’s natural wetlands that will be a part of the park, however, Matt Vader, strategic and support services manager for the district, said the district will work to restore natural wetlands that were lost. The location does have a high water table and wetlands work to maintain water levels, he said.

Coun. Jerremy Kozub noted that as a child, he remembered the number of pallets that were burned at the old packinghouse’s location, and a significant amount of metal will probably be found if remediations occur.

Coun. Todd McKenzie said he would like to work with the Okanagan Indian Band and include them in the cultural aspect of the park.

The possibility of constructing a museum at the proposed location was also brought up during the meeting.

If funding is given, planning for the park would begin in 2020, before completion in 2022.

It’s projected the rail trail will see an annual usage rate of approximately 588,000 user trips by year five of operation, according to the report.

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