Rail trail deserves support

Recreational corridor can attract tourists and benefit the community

Your front page of Nov. 17 could not have been more appropriate.

If you planned the side-by-side placement of the two articles, one concerning the replacement of the art gallery/museum and the other on the possible availability of the rail between between Coldstream and Kelowna, kudos to you.

In either case, the outlay could be $15 to $20 million, so where should the focus of local government be?

Since local government has only 30 days – March 5 to April 4 – to state its intentions in writing about the purchase of CN’s right-of-way, it seems obvious that full attention should be paid.

I’m going to assume that we cannot afford both and I would like to make a case for purchase of the rail bed.

Some years ago, my wife and I spent five months crossing Canada in our truck and trailer.

We brought our bicycles and made a point of seeking out areas where the cycling was on flat, safe and scenic routes.

In almost all cases, these routes were abandoned rail lines.

In P.E.I., many of the small bed and breakfasts and restaurants owe their existence to the cycle tours that ply their abandoned railway bed.

Cycle tours are huge in Europe and expanding here. These are people who are in their 50s, 60s and 70s with disposal income. They want to base themselves in a small town and head out on day trips where it’s interesting and not overly strenuous.

This small town could and should be Vernon.

By the way, many of the eco-tourists will make their way to our art gallery and museum which will get built someday.

I’m going to hazard a guess that since the rail bed runs from Coldstream to Kelowna, the City of Vernon may opt out. Another good reason for amalgamation.

 

Will Rogers