To the editor:
I would like to say that I think the opportunity for Kelowna, Lake Country and Vernon to purchase the CN Rail line to possibly be developed into a Rails to Trails system, is a once in a life time opportunity.
Obtaining and building this stretch of land into trails will open the door to many more tourists to the Okanagan area, specifically Kelowna through to Vernon. My understanding is that if we, the community, does not purchase this stretch of land, it will be sold off as private sales. We will never have this opportunity again.
If we keep community-minded, this stretch of land could be developed to ensure that everyone can enjoy it. It is easy access to walking and biking along the lakes which would provide safe trails vs walking or cycling along the highway.
Because the grade is so gradual, those who are wheelchair dependent or using other walking aids would be able to access and use the trail. Others that would use this trail include young and old alike, families, athletes, outdoor enthusiasts, bird watchers, dog walkers and the list can go on.
The views along the CN Rail are varied and changing from beginning to end. These views cannot be seen or enjoyed in their entireties when driving by.
There are many other communities in the Okanagan that have trails or pathways for walking and biking along lake shores. There are pathways in Osoyoos, Penticton, the trail between OK Falls and Penticton and in Peachland to name a few. I have used, enjoyed and continue to use and go back to these trails and pathways. As well, I have met and talked to many people from out of town, that return year after year to the Okanagan. These people are aware of and use the Okanagan trails. It would be such a benefit for them and our community if we could add another trail.
In the end, it would be a shame if we turned down this opportunity to build an easy access trail system that would enhance our communities, draw in tourists and ultimately leave a wonderful legacy for our children and grandchildren.
This is a grand opportunity for our region and I would hope that individuals can look at all the benefits vs the cost. Yes I realize there is a cost to it, but the cost per household per year is minimal and the benefits will long outlive the cost.
In the end, I do not want to be the one to tell my grandchildren that the Rails to Trails did not come to fruition because the almighty dollar was more important than our health and wellness.
Brenda Johnson, Lake Country