Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative moving full steam ahead with fundraising

Fundraising for the trail is gaining steam as plans continue to fall into place.

Deb Cochrane

Over the course of just a few short hours, an Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative fundraiser brought in $1,200 from community members keen on seeing a multi-use corridor between Kelowna and Vernon.

“There has been a steady flow of people since we arrived,” said Deb Cochrane, Friday afternoon.

Cochrane and her two fellow volunteers Teri Tuppen and Karen Gretzinger had collected donations at the tent set up outside of Nature’s Fare. Inside there was also an ongoing collection. Donations collected over Friday and Saturday, up to a maximum of $10,000, will be matched by the store, which initiated the fundraising drive.

While fundraising was the focus of the event, it also provided many Kelowna residents a  chance to ask questions.

“A lot of people are looking forward to the trail being finished and asking how we are progressing,” said  Cochrane. “It’s been very positive.”

Gretzinger said that the aim is to start work on the trail by February of this year, which is why the Rail Trail Initiative is ramping up their fundraising work.

Earlier this month, representatives of the organization said they raised 14 per cent of the total goal to build the trail, over $500,000, which is what’s needed to fund stage one of the building plan, dealing with construction design and access control. Stage two is rock scaling work, and that’s expected to cost $2 million.

As the project moves ahead they’re looking for more partners, the likes of Natures Fare, so they can have more fundraising drives. They’re also interested in hearing from community members who have innovative ideas on how to take in more funding.

Currently, however, the next big event they’ve lined up will take place  Sept. 25, involving Tree Brewing.

“We’re going to have a public walk with the rails and Trails already developed in Kelowna, to make people aware of what’s already started,” she said.

As an aside, Tree Brewing made a beer named rails and trails, and it was so popular they had to hold some back so it would be available at the time of the event.

For more information on fundraising, or the trail in general, go to  okanaganrailtrail.ca.