Confusion in corridor — ICF still dosn’t have money from province or feds

It's unlcear when work will start on repairs to railway on Vancouver Island

The City of Parksville doesn’t seem to share the optimism of provincial government officials and Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) board members when it comes to the re-start of passenger rail service.

Under direction from former Mayor Chris Burger, the city stopped making its $858 monthly payments to Southern Rail for crossing rights in October of 2014. The invoices continue to come.

This decision came after city council passed a motion in November of 2012, instructing its representative on the Regional District of Nanaimo’s board of directors — Coun. Marc Lefebvre, now the mayor — to vote ‘no’ to funding the ICF. That 2012 motion also asked that a third-party “formal performance audit be conducted on all ICF programs and initiatives.”

Parksville was out-voted at the RDN board table when it came to the ICF funding question and the performance-audit motion was also defeated by the board.

On Thursday, the provincial government issued a news release saying it has affirmed its commitment to provide $7 million to the ICF to support the future of the E&N rail line on the Island. The release said the provincial funds would be released once the province has confirmed that $7.5 million in federal funding is in place and, through a tendering process, that the upgrade work can be completed  within the $20.4 million it has budgeted

However, Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan, the only Conservative Party MP from the Island, told The NEWS the federal money is “contingent on the province doing their due diligence. If they are good to go, we’re good to go.”

Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell was asked to clarify.

“We are now comfortable with the assurances we have gotten from the B.C. Safety Authority in regards to the upgrades,” she said, going further in her comments than anything said by Transportation Minister Stone in the news release.

The province said planned passenger service for this corridor includes twice daily runs from Nanaimo to Victoria, service to Qualicum Beach on Wednesdays and weekends, and service to Courtenay on weekends and statutory holidays.

Despite the opposition to taxpayer funding from communities like Parksville and Qualicum Beach, ICF co-chair Dr. Judith Sayers said:

“We know the people are supportive of the rail project and we all look forward to getting the VIA passenger service operational between Victoria  and Courtenay.”

Passenger rail service on Vancouver Island was suspended due to unsafe track conditions in 2011. The ICF says it can re-start the service with about $20 million of upgrades.

“The government understands the importance of the historic E&N rail  corridor to communities across Vancouver Island,” Minister Stone said in the new release last week. “We want to see the return of a fully operational passenger rail service on Vancouver Island and today we are one step closer.”

Just Posted

Man extracted from car accident six hours later

A man, who was in a singular vehicle accident at around 3… Continue reading

Parksville man arrested in relation to Mercedes, motorcycle fight

RCMP recommend assault charge for man driving Mercedes

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

BC lawn bowlers clinch national pairs title

Despite rain, QB club calls Canadian event a success

Guitarist explores beyond borders of genre, countries, music, coming to Qualicum Beach

Globetrotting Jesse Cook touring Island, performing in Qualicum Beach Sept. 27

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. woman with autism has scooter stolen from SkyTrain station

Kayla Polege purchased scooter after ‘shutdowns’ on transit

Off Nova Scotia, a bid to ‘unravel the mystery’ of great white sharks

The question: Is Nova Scotia the second mating site for Atlantic white sharks, something scientists say could be key to protecting the endangered species.

Man arrested after carjacking, collision, pepper spray attacks in Vancouver

Vancouver police say one man is in custody after a chaotic scene of events in the downtown core

Canadian investigator says World Anti-Doping Agency got a bad deal from Russia

A Canadian lawyer says the World Anti-Doping Agency rushed into accepting a bad deal by reinstating the country’s drug-testing program.

Fashion Fridays: Rock some animal print

Kim XO, lets you in on the latest fall fashion trends on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

New evacuations ordered because of Florence flooding

Emergency managers on Friday ordered about 500 people to flee homes along the Lynches River

B.C. doctor weighs in on the kid ‘screen time’ debate

A Maple Ridge mother opens up about her children’s use of tablets, smartphones and television

Most Read