Erosion and engineering consultants with Urban Systems and Waters Edge work with the rail trail technical team and the Shuswap Trail Alliance to assess recent flood damage to the Shuswap-North Okanagan rail trail corridor between Sicamous and Armstrong. (Shuswap Trail Alliance photo)

Erosion and engineering consultants with Urban Systems and Waters Edge work with the rail trail technical team and the Shuswap Trail Alliance to assess recent flood damage to the Shuswap-North Okanagan rail trail corridor between Sicamous and Armstrong. (Shuswap Trail Alliance photo)

North Okanagan rail trail costs skyrocket

Project estimate ramped up to $10 million due to erosion and flood stability

Plans for a North Okanagan-Shuswap rail trail are gaining steam, but at a substantial cost.

After a year of research, a draft development plan for the greenway rail trail between Sicamous and Armstrong has identified some challenges that will require additional work and increase the total cost of the project.

A primary factor is erosion and flood stabilization work needed along the approximately 35 km of the rail bed adjacent to Sicamous Narrows, Mara Lake, Rosemond Lake, and the Shuswap River. Erosion during high water is undercutting and eating away the surface of the existing rail bed. Several sections are lower than the 25-year flood levels, and will need to be raised. This work adds $5.5 million to the cost.

A highway overpass required at Highway 97 just north of Armstrong adds an additional $2.5 million.

While preliminary concept estimated a projected $13 million cost for the rail trail development, the technical assessments increased the estimate to $17 million. Once required development contingencies are added, the total project estimate grows to $23 million.

The draft development plan was presented to the Shuswap-North Okanagan Rail Trail Governance Advisory Committee made up of leadership from Splatsin, the Regional District of North Okanagan, and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District who jointly own the corridor. A technical staff team oversees the rail trail project with project management support provided by the Shuswap Trail Alliance, and technical engineering provided by Urban Systems Limited.

The plan brings together a year of research, consultations, and technical studies provided by 12 sub-consultants addressing a range of topics including archeology, cultural heritage, environment, agriculture, structural erosion, flooding, steep slope, safety, surfacing, road crossings, bridge upgrades, trailheads, side destinations, amenities, and signage.

Final edits to the Rail Trail Development Plan will be released to the public later this month, along with the launch of a fundraising effort.

“These are challenging times for a capital campaign,” said Phil McIntyre-Paul, with the Shuswap Trail Alliance, “but we’ve been surprised by the number of people asking if they can contribute. The answer is absolutely yes!”

Despite the costs, Governance Advisory representatives continue to move the project forward, recognizing the significant benefits to all the communities along the corridor. It is hoped provincial and federal grants will support the project.

“There is so much that is positive,” CSRD Area E director Rhona Martin said, at a recent community leadership meeting for the rail trail. “It is all about connecting communities, sharing culture and values both Secwepemc and non-Secwepemc, and working together so we all prosper. Everyone’s contribution helps to unfold the story.”

Individuals and corporate donors are invited to become partners of the unfolding rail trail story. Follow the links on the Rail Trail website at www.ShuswapNorthOkanaganRailTrail.com. All contributions are tax-deductible.

The Rail Trail partners gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the province of British Columbia. A grant through the BC Rural Dividend Program was secured last year to prepare the technical development plan, leveraging contributions by the CSRD Electoral Area E and District of Sicamous Economic Initiatives Fund to complete the technical plan.

READ MORE: Film festival boosts Okanagan Rail Trail campaign

READ MORE: Weight of depression and suicide carried on Okanagan walk


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Trails

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Township of Spallumcheen collected an honourable mention in the 2020 UBCM Community Excellence Awards for its sustainable service delivery and water improvment district conversion plan. (Photo submitted)
Spallumcheen water district conversion plan gets recognition

Township collects UBCM Community Excellence Award honourable mention

Spallumcheen councillors (from left) Todd York, Gerry Popoff, Christine LeMaire, John Bakker, Joe Van Tienhoven and Andrew Casson join Mayor Christine Fraser (fourth from left) in helping to proclaim the township open for business with new signage off Highway 97A. (Township of Spallumcheen photo)
Being open for business paying dividends for Spallumcheen

Township wins provincial award, new business and building starts increase

John Pavelich’s 83rd birthday had an added surprise; members of Enderby City Council came by his residence to present him with a Lifetime Civic Merit award Saturday, May 8, 2021. (Contributed)
Enderby resident unwraps Lifetime Civic Merit award on 83rd birthday

John ‘JP’ Pavelich has been a pillar of volunteerism in Enderby since 1967

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Five properties have been added to the Lake Country fire protection zone, after council moved to expand the local service area Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Google Maps)
Lake Country expands fire protection zone, covering 5 exposed properties

The properties petitioned to join the local service area after being left out ‘for reasons unknown’

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

The Oliver Fire Department had to put out a fire on their own training ground, and it wasn’t one they set. (Facebook)
Vehicles torched at Oliver Fire Department training grounds

This suspected arson comes after the cars were vandalized earlier and suspicious fire the night before

Tavis Stevenson, son of Pam and Bruce Stevenson, founders of The Book Shop on Main St, is the creator of the whimsical animal farm carts seen above The Book Shop. He also painted the book mural in the back alley behind the shop. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
The Book Shop in downtown Penticton is one of those rare gems

The Book Shop, like so many businesses, is wanting to turn the page to the end of this pandemic

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Mathieu Bourgault (13) tries unsuccessfully to deflect past West Kelowna goalie Johnny Derrick during the Warriors’ come-from-behind 7-6 BC Hockey Leaguje pod shootout victory Saturday, May 8, at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place. (Tami Quan Photography)
West Kelowna Warriors rally to edge Salmon Arm in shootout

Warriors overcome three significant deficits to post 7-6 BCHL pod win in Vernon; Silverbacks finish pod 9-7-2-2

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Most Read