Jennifer Roe, left, and Eileen Oliver-Bauer of the Similkameen Trail Society stand on the trail as it runs through Keremeos. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)

Jennifer Roe, left, and Eileen Oliver-Bauer of the Similkameen Trail Society stand on the trail as it runs through Keremeos. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)

Similkameen trail expansion a casualty of provincial timber woes

The grant application by the RDOS and Similkameen Trail Society was put on hold by the province.

The Similkameen Trail Society’s planned expansion of the trail between Keremeos and Cawston has been put on hold while the province redirects the money to the timber industry.

The society, together with the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen, applied to the Rural Dividend Program for a grant to cover the costs of expanding the trail across the existing railbed between and Cawston. However, after the series of issues that arose with the forestry sector this year, including mill closures and stumpage costs, the province froze their application and others.

“They suspended all the grant applications, and took the money that was allocated for the province, and put it towards relief for the forestry sector, so nobody got grants this year,” said Eileen Oliver-Bauer, one of the trail society organizers. “We’re hoping that next year that we wouldn’t have to reapply, that they would unsuspend the applications, but we don’t know.”

The trail society is working to expand and improve the trail network in Keremeos and the surrounding RDOS areas in the Similkameen, with the eventual goal being to have a fully connected network that is well-used by the community.

“Over the last number of years, the trail society has done projects like putting in benches along the trail,” said Oliver-Bauer. “Putting in solar lights, with a grant from Fortis, to demarcate the trail in Keremeos. But there’s much left to be done.”

One of the society’s next planned projects was to begin opening up and resurfacing the former railway that goes through Keremeos and down to Cawston. The trail society, together with the RDOS has been working on the trail in the other direction towards Hedley, towards the iconic Red Bridge.

“It’s a good trail. On a mountain bike, it’s rideable. It’s walkable,” said Jennifer Roe, another organizer from the trail society. “It’s wide, it has benches. It’s a bit rocky, but it’s good.”

The trail heading to Cawston has made some progress, going from the Village of Keremeos out to Becks Road, and from there to up to the railbed alongside the Crowsnest Highway. The Director of Area B of the RDOS, George Bush put in $70,000 for the project, which is still sitting and waiting for the rest of the money from the province.

After the grant is approved, if it is, the trail still faces additional hurdles. The next section faces encroachment from property owners along the railbed.

The railbed will have to be cleared, then filled and resurfaced before it can be made useable, with some of the area having been used for materials over time by neighbouring residents.

“We want to appeal the spirits of the people who border the trail that’s getting encroached,” said Roe. “The corridor that the RDOS has is 99 feet, but for the purposes of the trail all that’s used is nine feet.”

The trail society encourages the use of the trails for exercise, the environment, and to provide a safe route for children and seasonal farmworkers to travel from Keremeos to Cawston.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Younger Princeton residents are now being urged to register for a vaccination notification. (Black Press Media photo)
Princeton lags behind in vaccination rates

Approximately 24 per cent of residents here have received their first dose

Sisters Audrey Cunningham and Donna Erdman, join the Vernon Kalamalka Chorus singing in their cars, tuned into the radio, under the direction of Debbie Parmenter. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Okanagan choir steers around COVID with ‘carbershop’ twist

Singers find a unique way to practice during pandemic restrictions

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

A Falkland man will present a 600+ signature petition to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board Thursday, May 20, opposing dog control in Electoral Area D, which includes Falkland, Silver Creek, Salmon Valley and Ranchero/Deep Creek. (File photo)
600-plus sign Falkland man’s petition against dog control

Similar bylaw rejected by 200 public hearing attendees when topic came up 9 years ago

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Notes of hope, encouragement and camaraderie were left on the message board inside the kitchen of TacoTime. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Adiós, Taco Tuesday: Kelowna residents flock to TacoTime on restaurant’s final day

‘We don’t need another Starbucks. We need tacos on Tuesday, with extra hot sauce’

RCMP. (Black Press File)
Major Crimes called in after two bodies discovered near Penticton

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

Most Read