ICF wants to know if B.C. government supports railway plan

MoTI does not commit but will continue to work with stakeholders

Does the B.C. NDP government support the restoration of Island railway services? That’s the question Southern Rail of Vancouver Island (SVI) and the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) want to know.

After meeting with Claire Trevena, B.C.Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure on Nov. 9, where they presented the Island Rail Service and Infrastructure Plan, the ICF said it still has no indication whether the new provincial government would support it.

In an email to The NEWS, the ministry’s communications director, Ryan Jabs, said Trevena was pleased to meet with the ICF in what was largely an introductory meeting. But he provided no indication whether the B.C. government will endorse the plan.

Jabs said the provincial government understands the importance of the E&N rail corridor to residents of Vancouver Island and will continue to meet with various parties about possibilities for the line.

“The B.C. government is committed to continue working with local communities to explore transportation options for the Island,” said Jabs.

The Train Service and Infrastructure Plan aims to establish a rail service between Nanaimo and Victoria and provide inter-city VIA Passenger Rail; a tourist excursion train between the Nanaimo cruise ship terminal and Chemainus; and expansion of the currently operating rail freight.

It would also provide infrastructure support for a trial rail diesel car (RDC) commuter service between Victoria and Langford that the Capital Regional District could operate.

The basic elements of the $42.7 million track upgrades call for 120,000 ties to be replaced; 70,000 tonnes of ballast; bridge upgrades; siding rehabilitation; safety sight and sound barriers through several First Nation communities; crossing safety improvements and a trail walkway across the Chemainus River bridge.

SVI project manager Don McGregor said this is a substantive rebuild that would provide for train service well into the future. He said that the four train services — inter-city, tourist excursion, freight and commuter — could easily be handled on the improved track. By strategically placing sidings, he added, there would be no need for twinning the tracks.

The new federal infrastructure program requires provincial approval and funding for federal participation.

Phil Kent, ICF co-chair and Mayor of Duncan, said SVI and the ICF have developed a good plan that could provide significant transportation services for the Island.

“We hope the new government will help make this happen,” he added.

The passenger train service and freight service between Duncan and Parksville ceased operations in 2011 due to track safety concerns. It has been idle since that time as the ICF has been waiting for funding from the federal and provincial governments, which have committed $7.5 million each to help fix the railway line.

Planning for connecting rail service north of Nanaimo is on hold until a resolution is found with the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation at Nanoose Bay.

— With files from ICF

Just Posted

Order in the chambers: Qualicum Beach votes for council code of conduct

Coun. Robert Filmer’s motion passes unanimously at town meeting

Rainbow crosswalk in Qualicum Beach covered in mysterious black substance

‘It was disappointing to see this act of disrespect take place inside our community’

Oceanside RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Nanoose Bay’s Northwest Bay Road again open to the public

Single-lane alternating traffic expected to stretch into September

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

Most Read