Optimism for future of Island rail service

Re: ‘Something just may happen in next 30 years’ (Editorial, PQB News, Aug. 29)

I get it. You and many of your readers have been watching this movie now for several years and either want action yesterday on the rail line or they want it to go away.

I am personally optimistic though given progress made in just 12 months by the new CEO of Island Corridor Foundation.

The ICF have managed to get 13 mayors from the South Island Capital Regional District on one page to support rail with a joint letter to the provincial government.

During that time letters of support were also sent from Duncan, North Cowichan and Nanaimo to the provincial government. And, the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities passed a resolution in support of the ICF and rail on the Island.

All talk, granted.

They also managed to get the provincial government to hold a roundtable meeting with stakeholders on the future of the corridor that resulted in the government undertaking the assessment – and that is no small accomplishment.

More talk… granted.

However, there has also been noticeable work going on all over the Island on vegetation management and cleanup activities to improve the railroad. And I also know that there are a number of projects ongoing with a number of the regional districts on trail development and implementation… i.e. ‘Rails with Trails’.

And, now the provincial government South Island Transportation Study is due out this fall with some kind of decision and whether or not to finally make a start on rail revitalization will be part of that.

In conclusion your editorial talked about another 30 years perhaps and said holding one’s breath was not likely.

It may be necessary… as the current vision for transportation is longer term for the day when we will not only pass the one million population mark from Victoria to Courtenay, but perhaps 30 years from now many more.

Jim Bennett

Qualicum Beach

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