The Okanagan Rail Trail is an incredible display of the Okanagan community, the Province of B.C. and multiple local governments coming together to create a lasting legacy for generations to come. Stretching from Coldstream to Kelowna, the initiative seeks to transform the former CN Rail line into a multi-use transportation corridor, connecting communities throughout the Central Okanagan in a unique way.
The CN Rail line was built to help transport Okanagan lumber and produce to markets across Canada. Kelowna Pacific Railway operated the line serving the communities of Campbell Creek, Vernon, Coldstream, Lake Country, Okanagan Indian Band, and Kelowna. As costs rose and other transportation methods cut into revenues, KPR entered receivership and discontinued rail service in July 2013.
Following Kelowna Pacific Railway’s departure from the industry, CN resumed operations on the network running from Campbell Creek to Lumby Junction. This left a stretch of the rail corridor, approximately 48.5 km running from Coldstream to Kelowna, in disuse and available for purchase. CN initially set an asking price of $50 million for the corridor, but negotiations resulted in a purchase price of $22 million. Of course, designing and constructing the Okanagan Rail Trail is going to take a significant amount of resources and that’s where area residents and businesses come in.
A group of enthusiastic volunteers and non-profit organisations is working to collect donations and provide tax receipts. At this time, $7.86 million is required to construct the Okanagan Rail Trail and the grassroots movement is working to meet smaller fundraising goals as they work towards the ultimate goal of completion. The current fundraising target is $500,000, which will allow for design and access control, the first phase of development for this legacy project.
At Doak Shirreff Lawyers, our team is comprised of passionate, community-minded individuals who are truly proud to call the Okanagan ‘home’. Most of our lawyers and many of our staff are avid cyclists, enjoying either mountain terrain or road biking on the weekends. For us, the Okanagan Rail Trail is a true testament to the power of our community to come together, and the opportunity to be involved in a legacy project that has a positive impact on our families.
As an office, Doak Shirreff Lawyers LLP has donated ‘5 metres’ towards the project and several of our team members have contributed individually as well. To learn more about the Okanagan Rail Trail project and to make a donation on behalf of your own family or business, visit okanaganrailtrail.ca.