The Okanagan Rail Trail is Now Open
A new gem of the Okanagan region is now officially open to the public and Urban Systems played an integral role to making this project become a reality. The Okanagan Rail Trail was officially opened in September 2018 at a ceremony held at Wood Lake, which borders the trail. The Rail Trail is a continuous 50 kilometre corridor that spans the distance between Coldstream and Kelowna. The trail is a discontinued Canadian National railway line that was purchased in 2015 by the City of Kelowna, the District of Lake Country, the Regional District of North Okanagan, the Okanagan Indian Band and the Province of British Columbia. Since the initial start of the project in June 2016 the railway has been converted into a multi-use trail for pedestrians and cyclists.
Urban Systems engineer Thomas Simkins played a key role in the project, a project that is already being recognized as an initiative that will benefit the people of the region for generations to come. “The project is a legacy, first of all because it combines four different communities, I think over 200,000 people combines them with a unique opportunity. As well, the project was fully funded either from donations from the public or grant funding, not a dollar of municipal money was spent to develop, design or construct the trail after the purchase.”
Matt Vader is the Manager Strategic Support Services from the District of Lake Country and was one of the project leads, “I invite people to come see what we’re so proud of here, as soon as you step on the trail, any part of it, I think you’ll agree that what is going on here will only get better. We’re at the first steps and this is community built, community owned and community driven and we welcome you to the Okanagan Rail Trail.”
We’ve produced this 4 minute video to give some further background to the project (featuring Thomas and Matt) along some drone footage that helps showcase the beauty of the trail.