June 2 was the last day for a potential operator to secure the railway between Kelowna and Coldstream/Vernon for continuing a rail service. Yesterday the offer for sale to the government began. The only future now for this magnificent corridor is either public land for the benefit of all, or private use. In less than 90 days this decision will be made. The time is now to let our voices be heard.
The abandonment process allows a 30 day window for each level of government to purchase the right of way for public use. The process begins with a 30 day window for the Federal Government, followed by 30 day windows for Provincial and Municipal Governments. After that, the corridor will be broken up and sold off for private use lot by lot.
The reasons to ensure this corridor is kept for public use are many and are outlined in an impact assessment report just released and can be found at www.okanaganrailtrail.ca/resources.php. They include health and wellness, environmental, transportation and safety, and economic benefits. The report clearly shows that purchasing the corridor for public use is an investment that will provide beneficial returns for generations.
With less than 90 days to determine the outcome of this corridor, the time is now to ensure we have our say. Nearly 7,500 emails have been sent expressing their desired future. If each of us can get 2 more to send in their desired future of this corridor, we will have an inspirational number of emails that will ensure our voice is heard.
What can we do now?
1. Please encourage people you know to visit www.okanaganrailtrail.ca to express their views on the future of this corridor.
2. If you are part of an organization that supports the preservation of this corridor, then visit www.okanaganrailtrail.ca/business-support.php and click the link at the bottom of the page to upload your logo and statement of support.
3. Lastly, if you are feeling very inspired, send in a short video clip describing the future you desire and why to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This information will be shared with those who can make the decision to protect this corridor.
The future is on our hands now.
We can transform this wonderful linear property into a lasting legacy that will provide benefits for generations, or we can allow this transportation corridor and last natural lakefront access to be sold off for private use.
The decision is ours! okanaganrailtrail.ca