To the editor:
With reference to Guy Bissonette’s letter to Capital News of Dec. 10 [What Will Rail/Trail Cost Us?], I have empathy with his concern that Lake Country residents could, as currently proposed, be disproportionately disadvantaged with the monetary burden of the purchase of the CN rail line. That said, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase a Vernon to Kelowna corridor for pedestrian/cycling/rapid transit use. It will never come our way again.
Just like the Myra Canyon trestles have become both a local resident and tourist draw to the Okanagan Valley, so will this corridor. We cannot really imagine how this corridor will evolve over the decades to come, but suffice to say, our future generations will thank us for the forward vision we took back in 2014. All the great undertakings our country has taken over the decades took foresight, faith, financial commitment and some upfront risk.
It is not inconceivable the Kelowna to Vernon corridor could triple or quadruple in size over the next 50 years, nor is it inconceivable that Lake Country could see a disproportionate share of this growth over that same period, potentially rivalling Kelowna itself in residential, commercial and industrial presence. Imagine how much congestion and density could come with that growth and how a well developed, uninterrupted single or multi-purpose greenway/corridor could contribute to our collective wellbeing.
Perhaps there is a way for the municipalities to share some of Lake Country’s initial upfront burden, such as a longer-term low-interest loan to Lake Country, solicitation of contributions from adjacent municipalities such as West Kelowna that will also benefit from this corridor, or a disproportionate share of revenues that might be generated in the future from use of the corridor itself.
There is plenty of time to work out the details. But at the very least, let’s not squander the opportunity to bring this once in a lifetime opportunity to fruition.
W. Kubasek, West Kelowna