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The section of the KVR between the Okanagan River Channel in Penticton and the Trout Creek trestle is currently owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway (through its Marathon Realty subsidiary).  As you may know, the Penticton Indian Band has sued the CPR to get this land returned to Indian Reserve #1 and this transfer of ownership is in process (see the long thread on this topic).  The situation is the same for the section of the KVR south of Penticton between Wright's Campground and Kaleden.  Much of the delay in the "addition to reserve" process is a fairly significant disagreement between the CPR and PIB regarding condition of the returned land.  As you can imagine, the soils of the railbed may be highly contaminated and remediation is very expensive.

As much as the RDOS would like to undertake some upgrades and maintenance of these trails, the bottom line is that these sections of the railway are not public trails: they are private property.  The RDOS made a formal request to the CPR for permission to undertake maintenance at our expense but the firm denied the request citing the ongoing legal dispute.  The leadership of the PIB has been supportive, but again, the PIB is wary of doing anything that might complicate their claim to the land.

The hazards referred to in the letter from Robin Sims are real and serious.  The problem is that until the ownership of the land is finally settled, the RDOS is unable to do much about it.  The basic safety repairs are not expensive.  Ideally, the RDOS would like to go much further and undertake a comprehensive upgrade and resurfacing as part of its Trails Master Plan.  Perhaps a bit of public outcry will help to move the process forward... 

 

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