Feasibility study for Lower Canyon access can now get underway

A contract has been awarded to find a new access point for the Lower Canyon of the Kicking Horse River.

Nearly a month ago $45,000 dropped out of thin air into the municipality’s lap, and now they have hired a company to use that money to explore a new access route to the Lower Canyon of the Kicking Horse River.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone was in Golden in June to discuss the lack of access with the rafting industry, and brought with him the unexpected funds for a feasibility study.

After the tender process Stantec Consulting Ltd. was chosen from the 10 applications that were received.

“The adjudication process was very fast, in fact the committee had to get through it in a weekend,” said Jon Wilsgard, CAO for the Town of Golden. “In the end the committee was essentially unanimous in their choice.”

The Calgary company is very familiar with the area, and the Kicking Horse River, and even employ staff who previously worked on the Kicking Horse Canyon highway project.

The municipality is facilitating the feasibility study for all the stakeholders, in part because of how quickly this came forward.

“This money dropped out of thin air a couple weeks ago,” said Mayor Ron Oszust.

However council agreed that as the process moves forward they will need an exit strategy to pass the reins onto someone else.

“Given that this is in Area A, we would like to see the CSRD (Columbia Shuswap Regional District) take over eventually,” said Oszust.

The goal is to have a report from Stantec Consulting by October with a recommendation for how to build a new access road to the Lower Canyon of the Kicking Horse River that does not go through CP Rail land.

Once the report is complete, all parties involved will have to look into funding options.