The Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail is celebrating Earth Day with an announcement of a $50,000 donation from Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union Financial Group toward the construction of the rail trail. Dave King, Chair of SASCU Board of Directors, presented a cheque to rail trail owners Splatsin Kukpi7 Doug Thomas, Columbia Shuswap Regional District Board Chair Kevin Flynn, and Regional District of the North Okanagan Board Representative Councillor Brian Schreiner
“This project will help build connections among neighbours and foster healthy living,” said King. “We are so pleased to support this environmentally and community-driven initiative that has brought together partners from across the region.” Since 2008, SASCU has contributed more than $2.3 million to support the Shuswap, with five percent of net operating income going toward community non-profit organizations and initiatives.
On behalf of Splatsin, Kukpi7 Doug Thomas thanked SASCU for the $50,000 donation to the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail. In Splatsin history, the railway represented a division of land and a loss of resources. Projects such as this one provide an opportunity for all involved to partake in reconciliation and to work together towards a common goal. For decades, there was little acknowledgement of the unceded territory that is British Columbia. To hear this may be startling to many British Columbians, however, partnering with First Nations and learning of the ways they lived off the land for thousands of years, will benefit and hopefully revive the practice of “take what you need, use all that you take”. This was vital to ensure that there were resources available for those yet unborn.
The economic and land management benefits are the tip of the iceberg; the rail trail will promote a healthy lifestyle and exercise, family outings, the appreciation of nature and knowledge of the land as well as an improved understanding of the Secwepemc values and culture.
The announcement was made at Splatsin Community Centre where the first pilot section will be constructed between Splatsin and Enderby. The second section approved for construction will begin in Sicamous (km 0) to Mara (km 19.8) to address rock scaling, road crossings, bridge decking, safety signage, preliminary grading, and erosion.
The Capital Fundraising Campaign encourages corporate and community donors to support the rail trail project by making donations, as many grant applications require a matching financial commitment to qualify. All contributions are tax-deductible. Every dollar donated is leveraged for grants to construct additional kilometres on the rail trail.
For more information or to donate, visit the webpage.