Rail trail won't go ahead without fundraising campaign - InfoNews

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Rail trail won't go ahead without fundraising campaign

A pile of ripped up rails at the Hardy Road level crossing in Kelowna.
April 19, 2016 - 2:30 PM


OKANAGAN - The municipalities cooperating on the Okanagan Rail Trail bought the corridor but it’s up to local residents to pay for its development by raising approximately $6.6 million.

That was the message from the inter-jurisdictional development team to Kelowna councillors during a presentation outlining the next steps in making the vision of the 48-kilometre trail a reality.

The total cost of the project is estimated at roughly $7.9 million and the group behind the development is hoping for a $1.2-million grant, which will leave residents to come up with the other $6.6 million. 

Team leader Andrew Gibbs told council none of the communities involved in the purchase — Vernon, Kelowna, Lake Country and the North Okanagan Regional District — will be putting more money into its development.

A recent survey shows 96 per cent of local people support the project, Gibbs noted.

“We want to capitalize on the intense public interest,” Gibbs said.

Brad Clement said the Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative believes it can raise the money in about a year and a half.

It’s plan calls for developing a network of 'trail ambassadors' and supporters reaching as far as the Lower Mainland and into Alberta.

“We need to hit home with everybody that if we truly want this trail, that it will not be built until the community raises the money,” Clement said.

Gibbs told council the complicated multi-jurisdictional deal means the fundraising mechanisms need to be set up by fall 2016. 

Find past stories on Okanagan Rail Trail here.

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