Rail trail almost fully funded

It's almost mission complete for the Okanagan Rail Trail.

A $7.8-million fundraising target set nearly two years ago seemed almost insurmountable, but donations from individuals, clubs and businesses have brought it within reach.

And, thanks to a generous contribution from a local family, plus a recent funding pledge from the federal government, the trail between Vernon and Kelowna is only $150,000 away from being completely funded.

"Within the next month or two, a complete story will be told of the local family who was inspired by the community campaign and potential for the rail trail to support multi-generational healthy families,” said trail ambassador Laurie Postill. “In the meantime, there is a final chance for all of our communities to join in to finish the campaign.”

Funding previously stalled at 70 per cent, said Brad Clements, who has led the initiative since 2013, when CN announced abandonment of the tracks.

“The federal pledge (to match 50 cents on each $1 raised) plus the recent generosity of this local family has changed everything,” he said.

The Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative group hopes to raise the funds by July 1, and will disband shortly after.

“If we overshoot the target, any surplus funds would be available to trail owner jurisdictions to allocate to trail amenities and infrastructure,” said member Duane Thomson. “Our communities have provided remarkable support in bringing this dream to life, and we are rewarded by the reaction from so many ecstatic trail enthusiasts.”

Donations can be made by credit card, PayPal or debit at https://okanaganrailtrail.ca/donate. All donations greater than $25 will receive a tax receipt.

Cheques can be sent to the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan, 304 3402, 27th Ave. Vernon, BC V1T 1S1, or Central Okanagan Foundation, Landmark 1, 306 1726 Dolphin Ave. Kelowna, BC V1Y 9R9.

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