Lake Country goes to referendum on rail corridor

Residents will be asked to borrow $2.6 million April 25

  • Mar. 4, 2015 6:00 p.m.

Lake Country residents will have their say on the potential purchase of 16 kilometres of the CN rail corridor passing through district borders.

Council passed a motion Tuesday to go to referendum asking residents if the district can borrow $2.6 million to purchase the corridor, along with Kelowna and the Regional District of North Okanagan for a total price of $22 million.

The referendum will be held April 25 in Lake Country from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m and will cost the municipality an estimated $10,000 to host.

It’s the same question 960 residents voted against in the failed alternative approval process, but now every resident eligible to vote in Lake Country will be asked whether or not they support the move.

Lake Country only needs to borrow half of its $5 million dollar share of the purchase with Kelowna buying the other half of the interest through Lake Country and the district paying back, and re-acquiring the land over no set timeline.

Details of that agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between Kelowna and Lake Country.

CN has not officially granted an extension to a March 31 deadline to close the $22 million deal but on Tuesday, Kelowna officials said CN had been positive about the extension and they would know more once Lake Country had officially moved to referendum.

The deal is for 47 kilometres of the CN Rail corridor from Kelowna to Coldstream that is no longer being used by CN as an active railway.