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Rail trail drives tourism

George Galbraith holds his 16-month-old granddaughter Olive as he walks the Okanagan Rail Trail with his four-year-old grandson Oscar and supporters of the trail. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star file photo) -
George Galbraith holds his 16-month-old granddaughter Olive as he walks the Okanagan Rail Trail with his four-year-old grandson Oscar and supporters of the trail. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star file photo)
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Opportunity is knocking with the Okanagan Rail Trail, and some Coldstream residents are opening their doors.

The district is seeing more bed and breakfasts popping up as the trail starts to attract visitors.

"People are just seeing an opportunity to move forward with this," said Michael Reiley, Coldstream's director of development.

"I believe there were two or three bed and breakfasts prior to my arrival four years ago and since we've had four or five."

Coldstream is now starting to keep track of the number of bed and breakfasts, which are supported whereas airbnbs are discouraged by council.

Meanwhile, there is some concern about how to develop the trail.

Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick would like to meet again with inter-jurisdictional members (area mayors/director/chief), to streamline plans going forward.

"That $7 million (Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative fundraiser) was to bring the trail up to a certain standard, but beyond that what are we doing?" Garlick questions.

The City of Kelowna has applied for funds to enhance the trail, according to Garlick, so there are concerns that the trail won't be consistent if similar funding can't be obtained in the other areas.

"There may not be that same opportunity to get the grant for our section," said Coun. Richard Enns.

Work is underway on the trail and as a result, closures are in effect and will be throughout the fall.

Current closures are along Kalamalka Lake between kilometre 1.5 and 8 (north end of Kal Lake to Kekuli Bay Provincial Park) and along Wood Lake between kilometres 20 and 25.

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