Construction on the first segment of the Summerland Lakeshore Pathway will begin next summer, now that the province and the municipality have contributed a total of $500,000 for the work.
The funding announcement was made on Thursday afternoon at Lakeshore Drive, near Highway 97.
Under the agreement, the province is contributing $420,000, while the municipality is contributing $80,000.
The trail segment is just over one kilometre in length. It will run parallel to Highway 97 along the lake between Lakeshore Drive and Illahie Beach.
“We’re very excited about the Summerland Lakeshore Pathway,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure for the province. “We’re very committed to investing in community trails.”
He said the trail is the first part of a much longer trail network, eventually extending to Penticton.
Mayor Janice Perrino said the proposed trail concept was first suggested six years ago.
She said members of council did not expect the province would provide this amount of funding.
“We never dreamed the provincial government would come forward,” she said. “We thought we’d have to fundraise for the whole thing ourselves. When we got the support handed to us, we couldn’t turn it down.”
The municipality’s portion of the money will come from a trails reserve fund.
In addition to the $80,000 contribution for the construction, the municipality had earlier contributed $20,000 for the design concept for the trail.
Dan Ashton, MLA for the riding of Penticton, said the trail will be part of a much longer system, benefitting the entire region.
“Very soon this trail will be a link to the whole Okanagan,” he said.
Construction will begin in the spring of 2015, with the work to be completed by the end of the summer, Stone said.
“This trail can be build with minimal disruption,” he said. “It should be a straightforward project.”
Connie Denesiuk, chair of the Trail of the Okanagans committee, said the trail segment is an important step in creating the proposed trail.
“This represents a significant step forward in the vision of a multi-purpose trail that goes from Osoyoos to Summerland and eventually beyond,” she said.
She added that the work done by the municipality and the province, especially Ashton’s support of the project, is appreciated.