News

Is this the beginning of the end for the Island Corridor Foundation?

The Island Corridor Foundation's days may be numbered.

The Regional District of Nanaimo's board of directors will receive a notice of motion tonight suggesting the "RDN board has lost confidence in the existing administrative function of the ICF" and a "task force of experienced individuals" should be formed to "assist in reinvigorating the ICF."

Parksville's representative to the RDN, Coun. Marc Lefebvre, confirmed Monday he will put the notice of motion forward tonight at the board's regular meeting.

"We (Parksville city council) have never agreed with the fact it's going to take $20 million to get that (rail) line up and running — it's going to be much more than that," Lefebvre told The NEWS on Monday. "I guess what we are saying is let's look at this thing realistically. If it's $120 million that's needed, is that money available from senior levels of government?"

The ICF is owned by five regional districts and five First Nations on the Island. Representatives of the regional districts — plus most of the Island's towns, cities and villages — will be together for the annual convention of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention in Qualicum Beach and Parksville April 11-13.

Levebvre's notice of motion served last night could be passed by the RDN's committee of the whole on April 8. The five regional districts, with matching funds from the provincial and federal governments, have set aside about $20 million to get the rail line up and running again from Victoria to Courtenay.

The last passenger service on the rail line was in 2011 after Via Rail and Southern Rail discontinued service due to the disrepair of the line. The ICF has been negotiating with VIA Rail to re-start the service, without success.

“This has to be looked at in the cold light of day,” said Lefebvre. “This has been going on for three years now.”

ICF executive director Graham Bruce did not return a call for comment by press time Monday.

Lefebvre supplied The NEWS with the notice of motion he said he was going to put forward at the RDN meeting tonight:

“Whereas, due to the serious, ongoing deterioration of the rail line, lack of realistic capital funding dollars, the inability to negotiate an agreement with VIA Rail and lack of information on how current taxpayers dollars and ICF revenues are being spent on necessary repairs to the rail infrastructure, the RDN Board has lost confidence in the existing administrative function of the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF). Therefore by it resolved that:

• in order to resolve this situation the RDN proposes a meeting of all First Nations and Regional Districts be convened to discuss the future of the ICF;

• and that such meeting should coincide with the 2014 AVICC Conference to seek input and advice as to how to proceed towards a successful rehabilitation of the aforementioned rail corridor infrastructure.

• And that that a task force of experienced individuals be convened to assist in reinvigorating the ICF.”

See Thursday’s edition of The NEWS for more on this story and other issues discussed at the RDN board meeting tonight.

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