Coastal communities association asks for financial and governance review of Island Corridor Foundation

ICF chair Judith Sayers: "I’m not sure exactly what more they are looking for."

The Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities (AVICC) wants a closer look at the operations and governance of the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF).

At its annual convention in Nanaimo this past weekend, the AVICC passed two motions related to the ICF. One, put forward by Langford, was to have the AVICC “work with impacted local governments and the ICF board to conduct a financial and governance review of the Island Corridor Foundation.”

The other motion called for the AVICC to “petition the Government of Canada to approve and release the $7.5 million for capital works on the Victoria to Courtenay rail line in order for work to begin as soon as possible and ensure the future of rail based freight and passenger transportation between Victoria, Courtenay and Port Alberni.”

Regional District of Nanaimo chair and Bowser/Deep Bay representative Bill Veenhof said Monday the motion to petition the federal government “did not pass unanimously and there was a great deal of discussion.”

The other motion asking for the audit did not include details about who would conduct or pay for the audit.

The ICF issued a statement Monday saying it was “very pleased with the strong support for rail on Vancouver Island expressed by local government” at the AVICC convention.

“The ICF and AVICC has always had a very positive relationship and we value their input”, ICF co-chair Dr. Judith Sayers said in the statement e-mailed to The NEWS.

On Monday, Sayers had this reaction to the AVICC’s audit motion:

“We’re pleased to meet with the AVICC any time,” she said. “Our audits are public, they are on our website. I’m not sure exactly what more they are looking for.”

There was no reference in the ICF statement about the motion calling for an audit.

The ICF also said it has established what it called a local government liaison committee whereby members of councils and electoral area directors and the ICF can exchange information.

“The committee stems from changes to legislation/court proceedings that have compromised the report back at the local government level, impacting clear and transparent communication i.e. elected officials are perceived to be in conflict when ICF or matters relating to the corridor are addressed at their respective council tables, read the ICF news release. In recent months, ICF board members have excused themselves from ICF presentations, stating a conflict and left the room.

“The ICF board is and remains committed to working in partnership with stakeholders to meet the increasing interest in the ICF operations,” said Sayers. “With 11 First Nations, five regional districts and 14 municipalities and many community groups there are obviously varying regional and local concerns.”

The RDN board recently voted to rescind its $950,000 commitment to the ICF.