George Galbraith, a Vernon businessperson, is urging Okanagan residents to back development of the rail trail. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

George Galbraith, a Vernon businessperson, is urging Okanagan residents to back development of the rail trail. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

EDITORIAL: Rail trail needs support

Recreational corridor will provide significant opportunities to the region

Central and north Okanagan residents have been provided with a challenge.

On Monday, Vernon philanthropist George Galbraith announced he will match donations up to $150,000 made to the Okanagan Rail Trail project by June 30.

And while Galbraith’s willingness to share his own resources (he also pledged an additional $150,000 on behalf of his family), the true value to his contribution is bringing the entire region together.

“It (matching) appeals to the public. They can say, ‘If I’m putting in $20, I know someone else will give $20. It gets directly to their sense of fairness,” he said.

Perhaps Galbraith’s generosity will be the nudge that a resident, business or service club needs to get off the fence and support the rail trail.

Obviously there are a lot of good causes and money only stretches so far, but consider that the Okanagan Rail Trail has the potential of truly evolving our economy as visitors from around the world make their way here to hike and cycle along Kalamalka and Wood lakes. Businesses and workers in Vernon, Coldstream, Lake Country and Kelowna will reap the benefits.

The Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative is currently $4 million towards its $7.8 million goal to develop the 49.5-kilometre rail trail and it will only become reality if everyone joins together.

Do it for your community, do it for your family, do it for future generations. Accept Galbraith’s challenge with enthusiasm.