EDITORIAL: Something just may happen in next 30 years for Island rail service

EDITORIAL: Something just may happen in next 30 years for Island rail service

‘We’ll say it again… wake us up when something actually happens’

We’ll say it again… wake us up when something actually happens.

The Island Corridor Foundation found its way back on to the news radar recently, with CEO Larry Stevenson attending Railway Days at the Parksville Museum.

Stevenson, who has repeatedly noted his desire to ‘get out there and get in front of people’ (a good thing), discussed the ongoing move to restore rail service on the Island with a federal election looming.

“It’s not going to go away no matter which government is sitting there. They’re going to have to deal with the issue. We’re now at the point where something is going to happen and I think it’s going to happen relatively soon.”

We believe it’s not going away, but forgive us for being skeptical things will happen relatively soon.

Passenger service on the old E&N passenger rail service was mothballed in 2011, due to deteriorating rail ties and a variety of other concerns.

READ MORE: Island Corridor Foundation CEO says election won’t derail service plans

We’ve said it before… eight years later and nothing. All kinds of proclamations and bureaucratic ramblings and PR splashes and nothing.

Plans to raise money and promises of conditional government funding and nothing. Town hall meetings and promises of better communication and here we are… waiting.

The province is currently undertaking an in-depth assessment of the track and bridge to determine the cost to bring the Island line back up to standard.

“After that, I think, you’re going to see a move to get it rebuilt,” said Stevenson, who added that there is strong support on the Island to bring back the rail line.

Again, forgive us if we’ve seen this type of stuff before.

“If we think we have problems today, just imagine what we’re going to have 30 years from today?” said Stevenson.

We’ve been waiting for eight years as the track deteriorates, and now it’s a 30-year discussion? Convenient?

We’re happy to agree with the notion that corridor could be an efficient transportation system. But one more time: What’s new here? How much will it cost taxpayers? Is there a new business plan? Or are we just dragging it out even further by apparently starting all over? Is it time to simply go all-in with tourism/recreation and have some unique biking trails?

The ICF, Stevenson said, is willing to work with the government and come up with a plan on what they would do for the entire Island.

Didn’t we hear this in 2012. And 2013? And 2014? And… you get the idea.

Once more, the time for a final decision on this matter was years ago.

If something actually happens, great news. We’re just not holding our breath.

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