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Section of Slocan Valley rail trail slated for repair

The Slocan Valley Heritage Rail Trail Society is hoping to fix a problem section of the trail this year, thanks in part to funding for the Columbia Basin Trust.

President Helene Dostaler says the section in question is in Winlaw.

“It’s a very wet, muddy area,” she says. “For a few years now, it’s been sloughing. We need to repair the bank that goes down to the river.”

An engineering study and environmental management plan has been completed along with an archeological study required to get the necessary permits. Dostaler says they have had support from Rec Sites and Trails BC in coming up with the plan.

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“We are going to hire a contractor and have the engineers oversee the project,” she says. “It involves taking out old rotten pilings that have been there since the railway was there and replacing them with riprap and the proper kind of rock to hold up the bank and make the trail safe again.”

The society has previously completed temporary repairs so that the trail has always remained passable, although “narrowed considerably.”

“Having a permanent repair means we will be able to leave it finally and it will stay solid for years to come,” Dostaler says.

The exact time of year that the work will take place will hinge on the dates provided in the permits. But she says they will avoid high water and avoid disturbing bird habitat.

The Trust is providing $71,500 for the project, which is half the expected cost, through a fund dedicated for trail improvements. Dostaler says they are still waiting for word from other donors.

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