Letter: Summer residents urge no vote for rail trail

Is the greater good served by hikers cutting through the backyards of private residents throughout the area?

To the editor:

The purchase agreement between Kelowna and CN for the disused rail line assumes public ownership is achieved. But 33 per cent of the purchase price relies upon the Province of B.C. donation of $ 7.2 million of our tax dollars and that is fully contingent on the results of the District of Lake Country referendum for borrowing their share of the bill.

Therefore, the District of Lake Country residents will determine the future of this project.

We have been told that after the politicians get approval for the borrowing for the purchase price, they will then determine what they call “future costs and other considerations.” We can assume that there will be more debt and tax liabilities to come.

When the CN rail lines went through the private properties all along the lakes, the land was expropriated for what was considered the greater good. Expropriation only occurs when public agencies take property for a purpose deemed to be in the public interest, even though the owner of the property is not willing to sell it.

Now we have a walking and bike trail vying for these ex-private lands which, although following the procedures for a railway discontinuance, go against the original intent of acquiring the land. Is the greater good served by hikers cutting through the backyards of private residents throughout the area? No, it is not. The views can be enjoyed for free on the Pelmewash Parkway.

The greater good, in this case, is to reduce the present and future tax liabilities for the Lake District residents.  The Lake Country District can stop legacy projects with legacy liabilities.

Vote no to more debt.

Summer residents in Lake Country since 1981.

Daken and Korianne Ariel, Richmond

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