Vernon’s George Galbraith donates $375,000 for the Okanagan Rail Trail to Leanne Hammond, with the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan. (Richard Rolke/Morning Star)

Rail trail donation wrapped up

George Galbraith’s vision has remained on track.

The Vernon philanthropist has officially wrapped up his support of the Okanagan Rail Trail by donating $375,000.

“There are certain causes that speak to you,” he said.

Galbraith, who brought cable TV to the valley, contributed $150,000 in honour of his parents and grandparents, and then he agreed to provide an additional $225,000 if it was matched by the public. That match was successful, for a total of $450,000.

The Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative is raising $7.8 million to develop the trail from Coldstream to Kelowna.

“That kind of valuable real estate won’t be available again,” said Galbraith, who says the corridor will create significant economic opportunities by attracting tourists to the Okanagan.

“To ride from Coldstream past Kalamalka, Wood and Duck lakes, there’s not that many places in the world so beautiful and easy to ride,” he said.

“It will be available for kids, grandparents and everyone who comes along.”

Through his own donation and the matching dollars from the community, Galbraith is responsible for an infusion of $600,000.

“He’s our donor who always comes through. He has a big heart and knows how to encourage the community to get on board,” said Leanne Hammond, with the Community Foundation of North Okanagan, which is processing donations along with the Central Okanagan Community Foundation.

About $2.8 million is still needed to reach the $7.8 million goal.