Technical experts from Waters Edge Limited assess rising waters and erosion on the rail trail along the Shuswap River this spring for the Sicamous-to-Armstrong rail trail development plan. (Waters Edge Ltd. Photo)

Rail trail project proceeding despite denied government grant

Planning is continuing and the search for construction funds is ongoing.

Work on the Sicamous to Armstrong Rail Trail is continuing but it will be doing so without one of the government grants it applied for.

According to Shuswap Trail Alliance executive director Phil McIntyre-Paul, the $13 Million infrastructure grant would have allowed the project to move forward into construction. According to a trail alliance press release the grant application was not approved because the grant program was over-subscribed.

McIntyre-Paul said alternative sources of funding for construction are being investigated and they have all the money they need to finish design and planning, which he said could be done this summer.

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Residents near the rail trail can expect to see the planning crew travelling the trail on foot or using vehicles now that melted snow has made it accessible to them again. The trail is however closed to the public until it is developed for walking and cycling.

According to a press release from the trail alliance, the planning process includes geotechnical, environmental, agricultural, storm water, erosion control, steep slope, and structural bridge assessments by local experts. The trail project is committed to telling the story of the Secwepemc Nation’s traditional territory and so assessments of the area’s archaeological and cultural values have been conducted by Splatsin leadership.

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The planning of the project was assisted by a BC Rural Dividend Program grant which was obtained by leveraging contributions from the CSRD Electoral Area E and District of Sicamous Economic Initiatives Fund.

“Political support for the rail trail remains strong among all partners, who recognize the significant social and economic opportunity the rail trail holds for the communities throughout the region,” the trail alliance press release reads.

“This is particularly important, given the upcoming period of economic recovery following the pandemic.”

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