Letter: Report illustrates ‘absurd cost’ of rail plan

A 108-page comprehensive report prepared for the province illustrates the absurd cost of reopening commuter rail and freight service for the Island has been released.

And what, pray tell, did this report cost the taxpayer? We cannot get funding to upgrade our courts technology let alone a badly needed new route around the Malahat.

Passenger rail service on the Island Rail Corridor, which is owned by the non-profit Island Corridor Foundation, ended in 2011 over safety and infrastructure concerns.

WSP Canada Group Limited for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, found that most of the rail on the line was in either poor or fair condition, and proposed a phased approach to repairs that would incrementally restore passenger and freight rail on the Island at heavy costs to all B.C. residential taxpayers. Much of this study was based on information from 2009 reports. Mother Nature has impacted on these studies since then.

Summarized results indicate that the railway corridor is in poor to fair condition, with the Victoria subdivision in a poor to fair condition and Port Alberni in a poor condition.

READ MORE: Island Rail Corridor needs $700 million in upgrades to get back on track

READ MORE: POLL: Would you like to see service on the Island Rail Corridor back up and running?

A careful review today of the Alberni line would clearly demonstrate that it is not only dangerous but impossible to rebuild this, let alone protect the travelling public who would use it.

There is no way to control the rockfall, one of which I photographed as big as a truck after taking out huge trees, twisting and ripping the rails and ties right out of and off the line.

We all remember the Parksville to Coombs trail costs and how it tripled.

And where is the study that shows how many people this will serve, how much freight will be carried?

Taxpayers have unwittingly paid for signal-lights maintenance since 2011 even though there has been no service provided. Enough already. This is insane.

Give the corridor back to the provincial or federal government and tell them to manage it, if they can.

Final question, do the residents of this province want to spend millions upon millions of dollars for a commuter service on the Island for a small minority of residents?

I would suggest that to undertake this inane idea would be political suicide for any party.

Joe Dennie

Qualicum Beach

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