Earlier this month, Okanagan residents celebrated the purchase of an under-utilized CN rail line, which will be converted to a walk and bike trail from Vernon to Kelowna. When completed, the trail will compliment a series of Okanagan cycling and walking trails, creating a stunning network.
So? What about Vancouver Island and its very own vagrant rail line?
It does appear that many Islanders would like to see a rail revival. But under a financial microscope, it is easy to see, rail has been pushed aside by road systems.
So, why not turn our rail into trail?
If Islanders banded together and supported a Rail to Trail initiative, soon we could have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve a continuous, regionally-significant walk and ride corridor from Nanaimo to Qualicum with the potential to provide long-term public health, recreation, and economic benefits for residents.
The specifics of such a deal might be complicated, but, if it can be done in the Okanagan, why not here?
And I do not propose this as a frivolous vanity project. As we all know here, we have world-class mountain biking, skiing, kayaking, beaches and sailing right out your back door, right in our cities.
We must develop these recreational resources to buttress our local economy. Exploiting our natural beauty and recreation opportunities could open the region to world-wide recreation buzz. Build the trail and let private investment create the complimentary business spin offs.