Parts of the Okanagan Rail Trail will be closed throughout September on certain sections while erosion mitigation work is done. (Photo: Don Weixl)

UPDATE: Details on Okanagan Rail Trail closures released

Sections will be partially or fully closed starting Sept. 3

Update: Friday, August 30

Details on the sections of the Okanagan Rail Trail that will be closed throughout September have been released.

The Regional District of North Okanagan have published the plans for construction on the trail designed to protect against erosion, which begins after the Labour Day weekend. An interactive map is available at www.rdno.ca/ORTwork, which provides need-to-know information on the exact locations of the construction work for anyone planning a trip on the trail this September.

Between Coldstream and the trail’s fourth kilometre, there will be two partial closures (one-way traffic) from Sept. 3 to 15, and one full closure from Sept. 16 to 27.

Between kilometre four and Kekuli Bay there will be three partial closures from Sept. 3 to 15.

The stretch from Kekuli Bay to Lake Country will see two partial closures from Sept. 3 to 15, and two full closures from Sept. 16-27.

All stretches of the trail will be fully accessible after 5 p.m. and all weekends. Trail users are asked to continue accessing the trail from the Coldstream parking lot located at 16506 Kalamalka Road, or the RDNO parking lot on Bailey Road at 201-BC-97.

The RDNO also announced that the paving of the parking area on West Kal Road has begun. After the paving and erosion protection is completed, work will begin on the north extension in October.

An open house will be held on Sept. 17 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Coldstream Women’s Institute Hall, where the public can have its say on proposed concept designs for the north extension and the washroom on Westkal Road.

………………………………………………………………………………

The Okanagan Rail Trail will be partially closed at times throughout the month of September while erosion repair work is being done.

The Regional District North Okanagan’s portion of the trail will have days with only one-way pedestrian and biking traffic, and no access to certain stretches for up to 10 hours at a time.

However, the trail will remain open after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all hours on weekends.

The work won’t begin until after the Labour Day long weekend, but the site will be mobilized on Sept. 3.

Special events such as the Okanagan Rail Ride (slated for the same month) will not be affected, according to the regional district.

The work is to be finished by Sept. 30, to avoid any impact on the Kokanee salmon runs.

Read More: Okanagan Rail Ride gathering steam ahead of inaugural race

The regional district typically prefers to give more advance notice of temporary trail or park closures, but the work permits were only approved last Wednesday and there is a tight timeline in September to complete the tasks.

The regional district has been pursuing the permits for the last few years, as past flooding events on Kalamalka Lake have caused “serious damage” to the Rail Trail.

“Every wave that touches the side of the path takes sand and materials with it, and over time, the pathway becomes narrower,” said RDNO communications officer Ashley Gregerson.

“With less room for two-way pedestrian and bike traffic, safety issues mount and the risk for potential injury rise.”

A more detailed construction schedule is expected to be released sometime around Aug. 30. Updates will be posted at www.rdno.ca/ORTwork.

More erosion mitigation will be done on narrow sections this winter, when fewer people will be on the trail. The work on those sections is outlined in the RDNO’s 2020 capital budget.

Read More: UBC Okanagan, Lake Country joint community pool not a reality


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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