Time to convert rails to trails

Re: ‘B.C. government to fund assessment of E&N rail line on Vancouver Island’ (www.pqbnews.com, Jan. 6)

Rather than spending taxpayers’ money on this losing proposition, why not go ahead and start converting the unused rail right of ways to biking and hiking trails?

Other B.C. communities are currently enjoying the economic and personal health benefits of hiking and biking trails that were built on decommissioned rail lines.

Examples are the Kettle Valley Rail Trail and the Columbia & Western Rail Trail which between them make up the longest rail trail network in British Columbia extending from Hope to Castlegar.

Another rail to trail is the North Star Rails to Trails that runs between Cranbrook and Kimberley. Of course there’s also Victoria’s Galloping Goose Trail.

If in the distant future there’s a requirement for rail service on Vancouver Island then the trails could be converted back to rail lines.

In the meantime Vancouver Island residents could not only reap the economic benefit but also the health benefits of what could be one of the most spectacular rail to trail systems in the world.

Tim Benesh

Qualicum Beach

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