West Kelowna, Peachland and Lake Country residents could soon have an established trail that connects their three communities.
At the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) meeting last week in Vancouver, West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom met with Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin and other ministry staff to begin discussions on how to advance the 50-kilometre project.
Despite the discussions, Milsom said there’s still obstacles to overcome for the project to become a reality.
“We discussed significant challenges with the portion of the trail between Seclusion Bay Road and Robson Place in Peachland, just past where the trail leaves West Kelowna”, he said.
The area between the two roads is forested and is directly adjacent to Highway 97 on Okanagan Lake. There is no established path connecting the two roads.
Milsom notes that provincial authorities also need to step in to help with the portion of the proposed project.
“This section (Seclusion Bay Road and Robson Place) requires a right-of-way from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure,” he said.
“We talked to the Ministry about working together to obtain the right-of-way as soon as possible to connect these sections of the trail, bringing us closer to the goal of Trail 2000.”
The Gellatly Bay Trail and Parks Society has highlighted the different obstacles facing the proposed trail on its website.
“As various (of the trail) sections pass through private property, discussions must be held with landowners to ensure their rights and wishes are respected.”
Despite the challenges, the City of West Kelowna has said in its recreational trails master plan that portions of the planned trail are already heavily used by local residents — including the Gellatly Bay Recreation Corridor along Okanagan Lake.
Connecting the trail first from Peachland to William R. Bennett bridge would be the main focus for the city, Milsom has said.