Ambassadors join rail trail

Supporters are starting to get on board the Rail Trail Initiative's effort to raise funds for construction of the 50 kilometre path from Coldstream to Kelowna.

“More business and campaign partners are joining,” said fundraiser Brad Clements.

He listed a number of business groups who are taking part and some who have expressed interest, including a coffee company that may name one of its brews after the trail.

Campaign ambassadors from communities up and down the Valley are also hopping on board.

“We've got about 28 so far,” said Clements. “We had ambassador meetings, for people who are interested, in Kelowna and Vernon. We're holding one in Lake Country next week.”

That meeting will be held at the Lake Country municipal office on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. People can also apply online.

Other interested groups are rotary clubs and Clements has been speaking to many of them.

“Cycling and hiking groups are also very involved. They are very excited,” he said. “They can all develop mini campaigns and raise money that way.”

The Rail Trail Initiative website shows about 1.5 per cent of the $7.8 million needed has been raised to put in a gravel path along the trail.

“That's just under $200,000,” said Clements, adding that the aim is to have about half the total raised by the end of the year.

Construction is expected to start next spring.

Engineers involved in the planning of the trail have been working on stages of construction and costing out those stages.

“Hopefully, in a couple of weeks we'll have some interim targets,” said Clements, explaining that if enough money is raised for one section, it will trigger a construction date for that portion.

Clements is also assuring cyclists that the crushed gravel aggregate to be put down does not rule out paving the trail in the future.

“That is a misconception,” said Clements. “You can run paving materials and equipment right over the aggregate.”

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