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Summerland trail plan put on hold

A walking trail has been proposed Okanagan Lake between Lowertown and Trout Creek. While a grant application for the trail has been turned down, proponents of the project are not abandoning their dream of a trail in the area. - Image submitted
A walking trail has been proposed Okanagan Lake between Lowertown and Trout Creek. While a grant application for the trail has been turned down, proponents of the project are not abandoning their dream of a trail in the area.
— image credit: Image submitted

A proposed trail connecting Trout Creek and Lowertown is on hold now that the provincial grant money was not approved.

Don Gemmell, a proponent of the Okanagan Lakeside Multi-Use Pathway Project,  said the grant funding could have covered much of the cost of the trail.

In November, municipal council supported a resolution for funding to cover up to 80 per cent of the project.

If that money had been received, Summerland’s share of the $860,000 project would have been $172,000. If the funding had been capped at $400,000, the community would have had to pay $460,000.

The Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society had also supported the proposed pathway. “We believe such a project would enhance the health and recreational benefits for all users and contribute to tourism incentives to visit Summerland,” Bill Johnston, chair of the society’s trails and wilderness committee said in a letter to the municipality and the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.

While the funding application was turned down, Gemmell said the plan will not be abandoned.

“It’s not the end of the initiative,” he said.

Mayor Janice Perrino said she has contacted MLA Bill Barisoff to ask why the funding was turned down.

She said the lakeside trail would be a benefit to tourism in the area.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity and we didn’t get a dime,” she said.

She added that in the past, when Summerland has received grant money, the money has been used responsibly.

“There was nothing we did wrong,” she said, “but we can’t do the project without the help of the province.”

Gemmell said he still wants to see the trail proceed.

“It’s something that could join two parts of the community,” he said. “It would be a boon to tourism.”

 

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