The Sicamous to Armstrong Rail Trail is a 51 kilometre railway corridor, previously owned by CP, and now owned through a strategic land acquisition through the inter-jurisdictional collaboration of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, Regional District of the North Okanagan, Splatsin First Nation and all member municipalities. The old rail bed is being converted into a safe and functional trail for four-season, non-motorized recreational use by pedestrians and cyclists.
Shuswap Trail Alliance retained Associated Environmental to complete the agricultural assessment and application for approval to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) for transportation, utility and recreation uses in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) for the project. The assessment included a review of potential effects from the trail development on the lands in the ALR through desktop review, landowner engagement, open houses and site visits to highlighted properties.
Working with the proponents, landowners and the ALC, issues were identified that could impact agricultural production, and mitigations were developed that addressed both general and site-specific concerns. The mitigations addressed concerns around trespass and vandalism, management of invasive weeds, fencing and generally ensuring that farms can operate normally and will not be inhibited by the trail. A key component is the facilitation of communication between the landowners, municipalities and the ALC, as part of the application and during trail operation into the future.