A major donation has brought the Okanagan Rail Trail fundraising campaign very close to completion.
The $1.45 million donation comes from the estate of an Okanagan pioneer, Harry Weatherill.
Weatherill directed the executors of his will, his three nephews, to provide funds for a recreational facility for members of the public and for senior citizens in the Okanagan to use.
Those nephews, Bob, Gary and Gordon Weatherill, decided that the Okanagan Rail Trail was the perfect benefactor for their uncle’s request.
“The task of executing Uncle Harry’s last request seemed daunting”, explained Bob Weatherill, “Although the concept of a rail trail was interesting, it also seemed very unlikely that the corridor would be purchased, and that funds could be raised to build the trail.”
“We were pleasantly surprised by the project progress, and we were especially impressed by the community support, from the major champions like George Galbraith to the trail ambassadors like Laurie Postill.”
This contribution concludes fundraising for the first phase of the Okanagan Rail Trail and will also provide additional funding for other projects that will enhance the trail experience.
Harry Weatherill was born in 1911 in Kelowna, when the city had a population of just 1,700 and Bernard Avenue was a gravel road.
As a child, he watched the CN Railway being built and now his name is once again connected to the rail line in a very different sense.
Harry passed away 20 years ago in 1998.