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Okanagan Rail Trail fundraising campaign to launch in May

Fundraising will kick off in May for the $7.6 million Okanagan Rail Trail development.

During the Monday afternoon City of Kelowna council meeting a fundraising report was brought forward to explain the process of fundraising $7.6 million for the trail and how long of a process it will be.

There are three goals of the campaign:

  1. To use a grass roots approach to motivate communities to come together and embrace this project as their own
  2. Develop ownership in each community to provide a base for trail stewardship once the trail is constructed
  3. To raise $7.6 million to allow the IDT to build a hard-packed gravel trail from Coldstream to Kelowna

Previously there were four open houses for residents to bring their questions and concerns. During those open houses more than 940 people attended and 687 surveys were completed. More than 600 people said they would use the trail to walk and run, 500 said to cycle, 200 people said to walk their dogs and 50 people said they would love to ride their horses on the trail. As a result of these numbers 96 per cent of residents say they’re in support on this new trail.

Work has started to create a network of trail ambassadors to reach out to family, friends, community leaders, clubs, service groups, businesses and organizations. There is already a group of Kelowna property owners who live in Alberta working on finding people to donate money to this trail.

There are different type of supporters for this project:

  • Trail Leaders can make a gift contribution of $10,000 to $250,000
  • Trail Supports can make a gift contribution of $25 to $5,000
  • Campaign Partners can host events to raise awareness and funds for the development
  • Business Community can support through donations, encouraging employees, customers and members to donate and get involved

The trail will not be built until the funds are raised for the development.

“It is a challenge however that this community is willing to take on. Discussion with Trail Leaders, Trail Supporters, Business and Campaign Partners indicate the community is excited and ready to make this trail happen,” the council report stated.

“Partnering with the North Okanagan Community Foundation and the Central Okanagan Foundation and creating a network of Trail Ambassadors and Campaign Partners the campaign will reach and inspire trail supporters from Edmonton to Victoria to get involved and help make this trail happen.”

The Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative said there could be about $1,200,000 worth of grants available, which would mean $6,660,000 will need to be donated by the community.

In the middle of May the fundraising campaign will launch. A website will be launched as well as a way to donate online and in person.

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