Okanagan Rail Corridor
The Okanagan Rail Corridor inside the Kelowna municipal boundary is currently a closed and undeveloped trail that is not routinely maintained. Active construction and remediation is occurring in some areas and should be avoided.
No hiking. No cycling. No parking or motorized vehicles. No camping or campfires.
No dogs, equestrians or trespassing is allowed. Littering is prohibited. Wildlife, including black bears, grizzly bears, deer and cougars may be present and aggressive.
Once the trail is ready to open each community’s council will consider permitted use and trail designation.
Local governments and the Province of B.C. have invested $22 million in the purchase of the discontinued CN railway running from Coldstream to Kelowna. In doing so they have made a long-term commitment to securing the rail corridor as a multi-modal regional transportation corridor, including use of the corridor as a recreational trail.
Due to the significant investment to purchase the corridor, and in light of other pre-existing community priorities, local governments are not in a position to make any significant financial commitment to development of a trail in the short-term. However, opportunities will be explored to work with the community, external fund raisers and granting agencies in order to secure the funds necessary to develop the corridor for recreational use.
The timing and funding of any construction work will ultimately be at the discretion of the elected councils of the City of Kelowna, the District of Lake Country, the Okanagan Indian Band and of the board of the Regional District of North Okanagan and planned for in the annual budgeting cycle.
A community-based fundraising campaign is underway to support the work required to design and build a continuous basic trail from Coldstream to Kelowna. Find out more at http://okanaganrailtrail.ca.
Public Input for Okanagan Rail Trail
View ideas from the public for the Okanagan Rail Trail at getinvolved.kelowna.ca.
Input was gathered for the initial phase of trail development at public information sessions and through an online survey. Additional feedback collected from the engagement process will be retained for future reference, for use in any future planning and development of the trail corridor.
Residents were invited to review the concept and give their feedback at four information sessions along the corridor, in March 2016. Staff was on hand to answer questions regarding the design and provide an opportunity for input.
Residents unable to attend the information sessions were also invited to provide feedback through an online survey at getinvolved.kelowna.ca. Online input was open between Monday, March 14 and Sunday, March 27.
The Inter-jurisdictional Development Team is preparing a planning and design process to create a continuous corridor.
The intention is to develop the corridor in phases, with the initial phase being construction of a gravel trail with road crossings, signage, and barriers to provide a basic level of safe and accessible use by pedestrians and cyclists.
The trail development plan is anticipated to be submitted to respective councils and board for consideration later this spring.
Review the open house boards and trail maps here:
Background and Concept Cross Sections
Corridor Overview Map
Corridor Maps, sections
Inter-jurisdictional Development Team
The municipalities of Lake Country, Kelowna and Okanagan Indian Band as well as Regional District of North Okanagan jointly identified the value the rail line could have as a continuous multi-modal transportation corridor connecting all the communities.
The Inter-jurisdictional Team is acting as a common voice for local governments to work collaboratively in achieving common goals for the mutual benefit of the valley's residents.
Local interests are in:
- Retaining integrity of the corridor
- Opportunity for a regionally significant corridor with potential for multi-modal
benefits and a trail component
- Address property maintenance, beautification and road crossing arrangements
- Working with granting agencies and the regional fundraising community to fund
Purchase and acquisition
Local governments made every effort to minimize the tax impact in the interest of securing a land asset that would be valued for generations.
| City of Kelowna
| Regional District of the North Okanagan
| District of Lake Country
| City of Kelowna Investment
| Province of B.C.
While the original asking price of the corridor was $50 million, the negotiated cost of the corridor is a combination of $22 million in monetary consideration and land donation.
Purchase of the discontinued rail line was finalized on June 1, 2015 by the City of Kelowna, the District of Lake Country, the Regional District of North Okanagan and the Province of BC.
The City of Kelowna funded its estimated share of $7.6 million from reserves with no additional tax increase to residents. Because the value of the land is more than the monetary consideration, the City of Kelowna will also issue a charitable donation receipt to CN for the difference.
The Regional District of the North Okanagan funded its estimated share of $1.9 million from reserves with no increase to taxes.
The District of Lake Country borrowed up to $2.6 million to fund the 50 per cent purchase of the corridor within its jurisdiction. Given the regional benefits of public ownership, the City of Kelowna agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding with the District of Lake Country that sees Kelowna acquire a 50 per cent interest in the land within Lake Country boundaries.
The Province of B.C. committed $7.2 million towards the purchase amount.
Okanagan Indian Band
Since the injunction application to reclaim reserve lands was denied by the B.C. Supreme Court Justice Meyers on June 1, 2015 the Okanagan Indian Band has joined the Inter-jurisdictional Development team as an owner jurisdiction.
Approximately 2.5 km of the rail corridor running from Coldstream to Kelowna lies within the boundary of the Duck Lake Indian Reserve No. 7.
The CN Rail line was constructed to bring the produce and lumber of the Okanagan Valley to markets across the country. Operated by Kelowna Pacific Railway the line served the communities of Campbell Creek, Kamloops, Vernon, Coldstream, Lake Country, Okanagan Indian Band and Kelowna. Challenged with high costs and low revenues, Kelowna Pacific Railway entered receivership and ceased rail service in July 2013.
After reaching trustee, customer and labour agreements CN resumed operations on approximately 156 kilometres, or about 75 per cent, of the former Kelowna Pacific Railway network running from Campbell Creek B.C. to Lumby Junction.
In September 2013 CN Rail began the formal process of discontinuing the rail line running from Lumby Junction in Coldstream to Kelowna.