Rail lines should be returned

Resident questions communities paying for railway corridors

It just boggles my mind how the people of the Okanagan are being ripped off by the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railroads for their unused rights-of-way.

I am not positive on the terms that CN used for the acquisition for its right-of-way, Vernon to Kelowna.

As for CP, they were, under an  initial contract with the Canadian government, to build the railway. The CPR was granted 25 million acres to build the trans-continental railroad.

Some of this land was sold off by the CPR to the settlers of the day for $2.50 an acre and up but required cultivation. For those of you who cannot fathom how much land 25 million acres is, it is a strip of land one mile wide about 1.5 times around the Earth at the equator.

The right-of-way from Sicamous to Armstrong, about 35 miles long and 200 feet wide, is about 900 acres, less than 1.5 square miles.

These railroad companies were given this land to provide a service to the people of the land.

I think if the service is no longer provided, the land should be returned to the people free of charge.

 

John Zucco

Vernon