Opinion

We were lucky with railway condition

With all of the recent discussions going on about the viability of passenger and freight rail service on Vancouver Island, it seems that the deteriorated state of the tracks is the reason for all of the problems and concerns we now have which led to the cancellation of passenger rail service three years ago.

Why is the fact that these tracks were allowed to reach this state of disrepair in the first place not an issue now, and possible cause for future concern?

If rail service is re-established, who is or will be responsible and held accountable to uphold a strong safety level and upkeep of these rail lines?

Why isn’t someone being held accountable for the tracks present state of disrepair, someone potentially jeopardized our citizens’ safety by not maintaining these rail lines?

We are lucky we have not had any serious accidents due to poor track upkeep before passenger rail service was halted. Someone should be answering these questions and who will ensure that these tracks do not reach this state of disrepair again after the costly repairs are made?

I see the value in both sides of the discussions going on right now to keep rail or remove the line and put in a multi-use recreational trail. What we must remember is that once that line is out it most likely will not be returned and the Island’s population just keeps on growing.

I think it would be foolish to do away with a valuable transportation option that may be required or desired in the future. Nanaimo has successfully incorporated and established the E & N multi-use trail which runs parallel to the sometimes-still-in-use train tracks and it seems to work for them.

Perhaps this should be what the communities of Oceanside should be pursuing. We would get the best of both worlds — a recreational trail, and we have not lost the option of a future safe and functional rail corridor if and when it is deemed viable or desired.

James Gardner

Parksville

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