There are plans to turn the old rail bed from Sicamous to Armstrong into a recreational corridor. (forums.clubtread.com/PMJ Wright photo)

There are plans to turn the old rail bed from Sicamous to Armstrong into a recreational corridor. (forums.clubtread.com/PMJ Wright photo)

EDITORIAL: Rail purchase a good move

Public ownership of the rail line from Spallumcheen to Sicamous will be beneficial

Obviously it’s easy to get cynical about all of the government press conferences, particularly just a few weeks before a provincial election gets underway.

However, the North Okanagan-Shuswap received some significant news Friday with word that Victoria will put $2.17 million towards the public acquisition of the abandoned rail corridor between Spallumcheen and Sicamous.

If the purchase becomes reality, there could be 43 kilometres of spectacular hiking and cycling through farmland and along the shore of Mara Lake. Visitors would also have the opportunity to stop and explore businesses in Armstrong, Enderby, Grindrod and Sicamous, and to learn more about the rich and diverse culture of the Splatsin.

And all of that would translate into a significant boost for the economy and help solidify the North Okanagan-Shuswap’s role as a destination, particularly when the rail trail from Coldstream to Kelowna will also be close at hand.

Of course none of this happens without some hard work behind the scenes and particular thanks goes to Chief Wayne Christian and the Splatsin council, who have brought neighbouring communities together with a common vision.

Credit should also go to the North Okanagan and Columbia-Shuswap regional districts for financially committing themselves to a new asset, and to Greg Kyllo, Shuswap MLA, for lobbying on the region’s behalf.

Obviously negotiations between the regional districts and Canadian Pacific are ongoing and anything could happen. But

Friday’s funding announcement is a strong indication that the region is on the right track towards having a new amenity.