Efforts are being stepped up to preserve abandoned rail line for a recreational corridor.
With a Monday deadline approaching to negotiate an agreement with CN Rail to buy the discontinued line between Kelowna and Coldstream, area municipalities and regional districts are moving forward with acquisition through the Canadian Transportation Agency discontinuance process.
“Significant progress has been made in negotiations over the past several months. However there are still a few outstanding issues,” said Doug Gilchrist, Kelowna’s divisional director of community planning and real estate.
“We have applied to the CTA for a non-binding net salvage value determination to assist in informing the agreements and to extend our negotiation timeline.”
Under a non-binding net salvage value, the CTA will determine a market value estimate of the corridor (land and assets) to assist parties in the negotiation. Under this process, the net salvage value determination is not binding on the purchaser. Once an application for NSV determination is made, the process can take several months.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve a continuous, regionally-significant corridor with the potential to provide long-term public benefits for the enhancement of the social, environmental and economic benefit of our residents,” said Gilchrist.
Funding options are still being explored, including partnerships, grants, municipal reserves or borrowing.
Gilchrist says local governments are making every effort to minimize any impact on taxes.
The participating communities include Kelowna, Lake Country, Coldstream and Vernon, and the regional districts of Central Okanagan and North Okanagan.