A new connection has been made possible for the iconic Grey Canal Trail, as well as some extra park land, thanks to a recent land sale agreement with Westco Properties Inc.
The agreement includes the dedication of four acres of park land along Davison Road and 3.6 acres of trail right of way, connecting the Turtle Mountain section with the Bella Vista/Okanagan Hills section of the Grey Canal Trail. The park land will be used for city park and open space, while the trail land will be part of the RDNO sub-regional trails network.
“The development of the Grey Canal Trail has been a passion project for many community members, local government representatives, and avid local trail users for nearly 20 years,” said Mayor Victor Cumming. “This agreement makes way for a significant trail connection to be made from Bella Vista neighbourhoods to Turtle Mountain, and beyond.”
This acquisition is notable for the Grey Canal Trail, as the land for the extension was one of the last remaining privately-owned portions along its route between Okanagan Hills Blvd and Coldstream Valley Estates. If all connections are able to be made, the trail would be a continuous 35 km route to explore by foot, bike or snowshoe throughout the year.
“We see this as an important part of the overall development plan, which will also include the Tassie Creek walking path and wetlands, ensuring the protection of this environment for future generations,” said Greg Herfst, Westco Properties Inc. owner.
Once both the park and trail are improved, it’s anticipated they’ll be well used by residents of the development, neighbouring communities, trail users and visitors.
History of the Grey Canal Trail
The Grey Canal was built by Lord and Lady Aberdeen. In 1905, they began an extensive project to move water from lakes on highlands southeast of Vernon, across the Coldstream Valley, and along the benchlands that circles Vernon, Swan Lake to Okanagan Lake. It was completed in 1914, at a cost of $423,000. The Grey Canal played an important role in the sub-division of ranchlands and orchards.
At one time, it supplied water to the largest irrigation district in BC. It delivered more water than the system that supplied water to the City of Vancouver in 1938. By 1963, rising costs led to replacing ditches with buried pipes and by 1970, it was no longer in use.