Lake Country pursues public consent for rail corridor purchase

Alternate approval process focused on borrowing $2.6 million for CN track

Lake Country residents will be asked if they want to fund the purchase of a rail corridor.

District council decided Tuesday to hold an alternate approval process to borrow $2.6 million to go towards acquiring the Canadian National track from Coldstream to Kelowna.

“I’m hearing it’s the right thing to do but others are saying, ‘Why would we take on debt to by a trail?’” said Mayor James Baker.

Under the alternate approval process, borrowing could not proceed if 900 people (10 per cent of eligible voters) signed a petition in opposition.

The district hopes to have the process completed by the end of February, and if borrowing proceeds, it works out to an additional $25 in taxes annually for 20 years for a home assessed at $475,000.

Beyond the $2.6 million, the district is also responsible for a further $2.5 million as the municipality’s total share of the $22 million price tag for the rail line is $5.1 million.

Lake Country has entered into an agreement in which the City of Kelowna would acquire a 50 per cent interest in the land within Lake Country on a temporary basis. Lake Country would ultimately pay Kelowna back.

As part of the purchase, the Greater vernon Advisory Committee will contribute $1.9 million and $7.6 million will come from Kelowna.

Funding is based on the property value of the corridor within each jurisdiction.