Nanaimo-Alberni MP sends a warning to AVICC delegates

James Lunney urged delegates not to take any actions that might affect future rail service on Vancouver Island

The future of rail service on Vancouver Island was not an official agenda item this past weekend, but MP James Lunney sent a letter to AVICC delegates urging them not to take any action regarding the ICF.

Regional District of Nanaimo chair Joe Stanhope said he received a letter from Lunney addressed to the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities delegates on the eve of their annual conference this past weekend in Parksville and Qualicum Beach. The NEWS has obtained a copy of the letter.

“I can assure you that agreement (between VIA Rail and Southern Rail to re-start passenger service) is in the final days of completion,” wrote Lunney. “I urge you to put aside disappointments and please do not take upon yourselves actions that would scuttle the future of rail on Vancouver Island. If you do, you carry that responsibility into history.”

Stanhope said rail service and issues surrounding the Island Corridor Foundation were not part of the formal program for the AVICC conference.

“There was discussion in the corridors but it didn’t come up before the conference at all,” Stanhope said Monday. “It was not on the agenda and it didn’t come up.”

The RDN has a no-confidence-in-the-ICF motion on the agenda for its regular board meeting April 22. The ICF’s annual general meeting is set for this Thursday, and Stanhope said he has asked for a legal opinion on whether that AGM should be open to media and the public. While he will be attending as a member of the ICF, Stanhope said he has been told the ICF’s AGM is a closed-door affair.

“It should be open to the public,” said Stanhope. “And a lot of (RDN) directors are quite interested in attending.”

ICF CEO Graham Bruce confirmed Monday the AGM is closed to the public.

“Those meetings are not public meetings,” said Bruce. “It’s the way the constitution of the ICF is set up.”

The ICF (owners of the track and accompanying lands) announced April 8 that VIA and Southern had reached a tentative agreement on re-starting passenger rail service on Vancouver Island. VIA officials told The NEWS there is no agreement. While others have said it will take upwards of $150 million, Bruce said April 8 suggested the $20 million of funding previously promised by three levels of government was enough to get the railway in safe condition for passenger service.

The railway stopped operating passenger service in 2011 due to track safety concerns.

Just Posted

Canadian Music Hall of Famer Steven Page to play Parksville

Barenaked Ladies co-founder performs at Knox United Church on June 1

Parksville Beach Festival Society launches campaign for outdoor stage

Public invited to event May 25 to help with kickoff

Crime Report: Oceanside RCMP receive 328 complaints in one-week span

Vandalism and theft of a wheelchair among listed incidents

Controversial cell tower proposal in Coombs clears another hurdle

Committee indicates Rogers satisfactorily completed requirements

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

RCMP arrest violent offender on Vancouver Island

Campbell River police struggle with suspect and take him down with a taser

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

RDN looking into providing bus service 365 days a year

RDN transit committee to consider adding bus service on Christmas, New Year’s and Good Friday

One year after heartbreaking B.C. search, wife reflects on late husband

First anniversary of Ben Kilmer’s disappearance, and a search that galvanized Vancouver Island

Most Read