Contractor Paul Dick prepares for work along the Okanagan Rail Trail to stabilize and protect vulnerable shoreline areas from high water. (Photo submitted)

Okanagan Rail Trail close to financial goal

Large donation plus federal funds leaves initiatives $150,000 short of $7.8 million goal

A very generous contribution from a local family, together with the recent funding pledge from the federal government, means that the Okanagan Rail Trail is only $150,000 away from being completely funded.

Some reports suggest the donation from the yet-to-be-named family is more than $1 million.

“Within the next month or two, a complete story will be told of the local family who was inspired by the community campaign, and potential for the rail trail to support multi-generational healthy families,” said Laurie Postill, North Okanagan Trail Ambassador. “In the meantime, there is a final chance for all of our communities to join in to finish the campaign.”

The fundraising target, established nearly two years ago, was $7.8 million.

“For people closely following campaign progress, the fundraising total may have appeared stalled at 70 per cent,” said Brad Clements, Trail Ambassador, who has led the initiative since 2013, when CN announced a process for the abandonment of the route.

“The federal pledge (to match $.50 on each $1 raised for new work) plus the recent generosity of this local family has changed everything. It has taken a bit of time for accounting and budgeting, but we are now confident that the original target is only $150,000 away.”

The fundraising group, Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative, hopes to raise the funds before July 1 and will disband shortly after.

“If we overshoot the target, any surplus funds would be available to trail owner jurisdictions to allocate to trail amenities and infrastructure,” said Duane Thomson, Lake Country Trail Ambassador. “Our communities have provided remarkable support in bringing this dream to life, and we are rewarded by the reaction from so many ecstatic trail enthusiasts”.

Heather Stewart, Kelowna Trail Ambassador, adds: “This is the last chance to be part of completing this legacy from Kelowna to Coldstream. Let’s make it happen.”

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