We are a group of residents who enthusiastically support the vision that led to securement of the Okanagan rail corridor for development of a recreational pathway, and to preserve future options for transportation.
Recent letters have bemoaned the loss of a railway, and the associated benefits for industrial and future commuter use. Perhaps the authors did not witness the attempts over the past decades to make the rail route economically viable, and eventually the decision to abandon the route.
Had local governments and the province not stepped forward to purchase the continuous route during the abandonment process, it would have been divided and sold piecemeal to private interests. Any future option to use it for transportation would have been lost. Instead, securing the corridor means that in the distant future, when population levels and industrial activity increase sufficiently to make rail transportation viable again, the option may be available.
During the decades before railway viability returns, trail development will provide countless community benefits, and generate economic activity. Tourism, an important part of our diverse economy, is not the only source of economic benefits from trail development. We have already heard that the rail trail is being cited as a reason for people to relocate to this area, and businesses will follow.
Even though it is not yet developed, the rail trail is already generating new business investments.
Our communities have already raised more than 60 per cent of the funds required to build the trail, and engineers have begun work on site.
Local philanthropist George Galbraith has offered a second donation matching so together we can raise another $150,000 by June 30. From Vernon to Kelowna, you will see our numerous volunteer trail ambassadors, business partners and campaign partners sharing information and excitement.
See the rail trail website (www.okanaganrailtrail.ca) for the many fun events lined up over the summer, and how you can donate to finish the trail. Our vision will not be derailed.
Okanagan Rail Trail ambassadors