Rail service remains a great idea

Re: ‘Don’t waste millions on rail service’ (Letters, PQB News, Jan. 22)

Those who think rail is not appropriate on the Island now or ever, should remove their tunnel vision and look at the big picture to the future — to the next generations on the East Island who will live in a much-expanded population. Although the costs to restore tracks and bridges will be in the millions now, delaying the work will dramatically increase costs.

If rail fails now, the corridor should never be forfeited for other uses and covered over, but remain intact for perpetuity. As for walking/cycling trails proposed, put them alongside the corridor in more populated areas where people/families are more likely to use them and facilities are available. As for the remaining corridor’s desolation, 99% of the population won’t ride or walk alongside it.

If rail wins now — departure and arrival times will need discussion. Getting to/from rail stations at either end of the line won’t be an issue; a terminal in Victoria on Esquimalt Rd by the Bridge will allow a 15-minute walk into town, or convenient public transit to the core and elsewhere.

Those familiar with sleepy Sooke and the Western communities short years ago, now observing population growth and traffic there, can envision how we will follow suit, inevitably. Population on the East Island continues to explode with new subdivisions everywhere and increased traffic.

The rail corridor between Victoria and elsewhere needs rapid transit. Yes, many of us here are clamouring for rail service as an alternative to highways. Sooner or later, it will happen.

May future residents and our descendants not have cause to blame us for being shortsighted, knowing that we could/should have restored rail ‘years ago’ when the cost was ‘only’ millions of dollars.

We truly are asleep and dreaming if we think rail service is a bad idea and not a great one.

Pam Bates

Qualicum Beach

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