Trails, not rails are the answer

Re: ‘B.C. Gov’t to fund assessment of E&N rail line’ (PQB News, Jan. 6)

The Jan. 10 letter by resident Tim Benesh echoes my sentiment favouring trails over rails in the E&N line.

News stories about the rail repairs to the Churchill, Man., rail line should give Vancouver Island residents cause for concern.

In that case, it was initially claimed repairs to a small segment of the 280-kilometre rail line would cost $43 million but, in the recent sale announcement, was said to be $74 million.

Compare that amount to the $15 million previously claimed by the ICF for bringing the 220-kilometre Victoria-to-Courtenay line into service, and the math just doesn’t add up.

The announced E&N assessment, if conducted by a responsible engineering consultant, would most likely decline to offer any assurances of safety and reliability of roadbed, trestle and bridge assets, without major investment far exceeding those on flatland Manitoba. I personally doubt that another federal $74 million would be adequate to make the E&N rail line operable.

Alternately, trails that were portions of former railways elsewhere in Canada, are used for recreation and tourism and have spawned businesses along the route, including bike rentals, B&Bs, and coffee shops.

The trail goes through the centre of several towns, providing a range of local services to trail travellers.

An ICF trail through Qualicum Beach would provide exactly this range of services for hikers and bikers. It would also be so much safer that bicycle travel along the old Island Highway.

The foolishness about reviving rail service from Victoria to Courtenay should end. Put this corridor to some uses that would benefit local communities.

Steve Smith

Qualicum Beach

Just Posted

Oceanside RCMP members take the plunge for Special Olympics

Some members of the Oceanside RCMP detachments took the plunge freezing waters… Continue reading

KD Air flights ceased until early March for airline improvements

Focus largely on flight schedules and convenience

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Parksville to host firefighters bonspiel

The Parksville Fire Department will host, for the first time, the 61st… Continue reading

Jeep bursts into flames on highway near Nanoose Bay

Emergency crews responded to blaze at approximately 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read