There’s a lot of optimism about the Okanagan Rail Trail and the impact on the valley, and particularly the economy.
However, there needs to be a firm strategy in place for businesses and communities to capitalize on the thousands of people expected to walk and cycle the recreational corridor from Coldstream to Kelowna.
That’s why the creation of a tourism committee in Coldstream is a positive first step.
Through this committee, key issues related to tourism amenities taking root in the municipality can be investigated, and as a result, any potential conflict between existing residents, entrepreneurs and visitors can be avoided.
“I’ve already received a couple calls regarding the Airbnbs and the disruption it has to the community,” said Coun. Glen Taylor.
But while such activities can create parking and in a residential neighbourhood, the reality is that accommodations are required for those using the rail trail or any other attractions. And bed and breakfasts make sense given that there are no hotels currently in Coldstream.
Another item on the tourism committee’s agenda is mobile vendors, while the group could also look at ways of promoting the community.
With fundraising for the Okanagan Rail Trail gaining steam and the likelihood of the corridor becoming a reality, it is incumbent that local communities prepare themselves for the anticipated growth.
Credit must go to Coldstream council and administration for taking a positive first step.