Splatsin drives rail corridor discussions

There appears to be interest in determining if public ownership of another rail corridor can be acquired

There appears to be interest in determining if public ownership of another rail corridor can be acquired.

In the new year, the Splatsin First Nation wants to bring together local municipalities and regional districts to discuss options for acquiring the abandoned Canadian Pacific line from Spallumcheen to Sicamous, and possible long-term uses for the property.

“I’m open to looking at it,” said Herman Halvorson, Regional District of North Okanagan director for rural Enderby.

“It needs to be maintained as a transportation corridor but the big question is how to organize the funds needed and the purchase price.”

Between 2010 and 2012, RDNO went through a process looking at the corridor from Spallumcheen to Grindrod and the net salvage value at the time was $3.2 million. RDNO did not look at the cost for the line from Grindrod to Sicamous.

The Splatsin recently obtained 29 acres of the route after legal action against the federal government and CP. Beyond RDNO, other jurisdictions that will be invited to meet with the Splatsin are Armstrong, Enderby, Spallumcheen, Sicamous and the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District.

“We are prepared to work with them but we’re not sure what they are thinking about for land use yet, whether it’s a trail or not,” said Janice Brown, Spallumcheen mayor.

The Shuswap Trail Alliance will also be asked to participate in the discussions.

“We look forward to supporting Splatsin leadership and local municipal, regional and provincial leadership in those discussions which still include the potential for a continuous linear greenway corridor for walking and cycling,” said Phil McIntyre-Paul, Shuswap Trail Alliance executive director.

“We will also be following up with CP leadership to better understand their plans for dispersal of the remaining abandoned rail corridor.”

McIntyre-Paul says his alliance welcomes the Splatsin’s successful negotiations with CP and the band being able to obtain 29 acres of the rail line.

“It is an important acknowledgement of the title and rights of the Splatsin community and the wider Secwepemc Nation territory through which the abandoned rail corridor runs,” he said.