Rail trail coming together

Lake Country - 17 kilometres of Okanagan Rail Trail is set to be completed by the end of November

A portion of the Okanagan Rail Trail will finally be ready to ride.

Five kilometres of trail in Lake Country and 12 km in the Regional District of the North Okanagan are set to be completed by the end of November, according to a memo, which will be presented at Tuesday night’s District of Lake Country council meeting, outlines a schedule for the ongoing project.

There is a currently a section of trail in place along Kalamalka Lake, but “use at your own risk” warnings are posted at access points.

What will be opened will be suitable for bicycles, wheelchairs, strollers and widen the trail to make it safe, said Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative chairperson Brad Clements.

“It’s a spectacular section of trail. You get the amazing colour of the lake in summer and fall… there’s beautiful rock faces along the way,” he said.

Related: Rail trail fundraising challenge

The goal is to widen the trail to five km and move it slightly away from the lake, due to the summer flooding, said Clements. “There’s quite a bit of work that has to be done there.”

In summer of 2018, erosion work is set to be completed to prevent waves from eroding the trail.

According to project manager Andrew Gibbs, with the City of Kelowna, flooding over the summer has delayed the start of the project, but won’t affect the November deadline.

Some of the work will have to be completed in the second phase of the trail in areas along Wood and Kalamalka Lakes, he said.

The first phase of the trail will be completed by the end of March 2018 with Kelowna’s section, from Airport Way to Dilworth Drive.

The project is valued at $7,688,800. As of Sept. 1, $4.9 million has been raised.

Clements said finishing the trail depends on fundraising, but he hopes to see it completed by the end of summer, 2018.

Once completed, the 50 km rail trail will stretch from Coldstream to downtown Kelowna.

Open houses will be held Tuesday, Oct. 3 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Coldstream Municipal Hall, Wednesday, Oct. 4 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Community Complex of George Elliot Secondary in Lake Country and Thursday, Oct. 5 at Parkinson Recreation Centre in Kelowna.