Greater Vernon chamber joins fight for rail trail
Pressure is growing to preserve a former rail corridor for recreational activities.
The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce board has unanimously passed a motion asking the federal, provincial and local governments to take the necessary steps required to ensure the CN route from Coldstream to Kelowna is preserved as public trail.
“The closure of the railway harmed many businesses along the corridor. The best alternative for our economy is the creation of a regional trail,” said Adrian Johnson, GVCC president.
“The clock is ticking. There is less than four months for government to act before CN simply divides up the property and sells it off bit by bit. That would ultimately see a great opportunity pass us by.”
The Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative believes a public corridor could attract 600,000 users and generate $6.7 million in spending by tourists by the fifth year.
“Our chamber would like to see a collaborative effort to establish a trail that would create business opportunities throughout the region,” said Dan Rogers, GVCC general manager.
The Greater Vernon chamber will reach out to other chambers in the region to secure their support for this initiative and to urge interested parties to come together to establish a long term plan for converting the rail line into a multi-use trail.
“GVCC’s support demonstrates how important the potential trail is for the business community,” says Brad Clements, of the Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative.