A proposed trail which would connect Lowertown and Trout Creek is now on hold after grant funding was not approved.
The grant would have provided a significant amount of money, but it would have been money well spent.
The Okanagan Lakeside Multi-Use Pathway Project, valued at $860,000, has benefits which must not be ignored.
It provides an important link between Trout Creek and Lowertown, allowing people to walk or cycle safely in that area.
It also provides an additional tourism amenity for the community.
Okanagan Lake is a draw for visitors to the valley and any initiative which takes advantage of the lake as a tourist attraction should be considered.
Tourism-related projects will pay for themselves as they can generate increased business for the entire community.
Proponents of the project have said they will not abandon their dream of bringing the trail to the community.
However, it is important to remember the cost of this trail will increase in the future.
If the full amount of funding for the grant would have been received, Summerland would have had to contribute $172,000 of the $860,000 cost. Summerland’s share is significant for a small community, but it is manageable.
Without any of the funding, the project becomes much more difficult to afford.
Summerland will have opportunities to apply for the grant funding again in the future, but the trail would bring immediate benefits.
And, as is the nature of grant funding, there is no guarantee this project would be chosen in the future.
It may be worth considering whether a community-based fundraising initiative could be set up in order to pay for the proposed walking trail.