The Okanagan Rail Trail will be closed throughout September at certain sections while erosion mitigation work is being done. (File photo)

Access to Okanagan Rail Trail to be limited by erosion work

The work will be done throughout September but won't begin before the Labour Day weekend

  • Aug. 23, 2019 12:00 a.m.

The Okanagan Rail Trail will be partially closed at times throughout the month of September while erosion repair work is being done.

The Regional District North Okanagan’s portion of the trail will have days with only one-way pedestrian and biking traffic, and no access to certain stretches for up to 10 hours at a time. However, the trail will remain open after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all hours on weekends.

The work won’t begin until after the Labour Day long weekend, but the site will be mobilized on Sept. 3.

Special events such as the Okanagan Rail Ride (slated for the same month) will not be affected, according to the District. The work is to be finished by Sept. 30, meaning it also won’t affect the Kokanee salmon runs.

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The District said they typically prefer to give more advance notice of closures like this, but they received the final permits for the work on Wednesday and were given the month of September to finish the job.

The District has been pursuing the permits for the last few years, with past flooding events on Kalamalka Lake causing “serious damage” to the Rail Trail.

“Every wave that touches the side of the path takes sand and materials with it, and over time, the pathway becomes narrower,” said District Communications Officer Ashley Gregerson in a Thursday release.

“With less room for two-way pedestrian and bike traffic, safety issues mount and the risk for potential injury rise.”

A more detailed construction schedule is expected to be released sometime around Aug. 30. Updates will be posted at www.rdno.ca/ORTwork.

More erosion mitigation will be done on narrow sections this winter, when fewer people will be on the trail. The work on those sections is outlined in the RDNO’s 2020 capital budget.

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Brendan Shykora

Reporter, Vernon Morning Star

Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com

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