Regional District of Nanaimo directors once again asking ICF for info

This time, directors vote to ask the ICF for a look at the rail group's pending agreement with Southern Rail

CARLI BERRY

news@pqbnews.com

Concerned about their possible liability in the event of a change in the structure and mission of the embattled Island Corridior Foundation, Regional District of Nanaimo directors say they want access to the text of the pending agreement between the ICF and Southern Railway of Vancouver Island.

“Would the member owners of the Island Corridor Foundation be able to change the structure, status or mission of the ICF and if they can, is it possible at all that the RDN could have liabilities?” Nanoose Bay director Bob Rogers said at the RDN board’s regular meeting Tuesday night in Nanaimo.

CAO Paul Thorkelsson suggested the RDN would be involved in any changes to the ICF, which would limit any potential liability.

“The members have the underlying ownership of the corridor so the foundation itself would cease to exist,” Thorkelsson said.

Director Julian Fell pressed the issue regarding the pending agreement.

“Why shouldn’t we know what’s in the Island Corridor Foundation-Southern rail agreement?” asked Fell.

“If they tell us to get lost then we’ll know what they think of us.”

The RDN’s representative on the ISCF board, Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay, said “I would be more would be happy to facilitate a meeting between any members or group of members — you can ask any questions you want.”

This request from the RDN board comes on the heels of another just last month when directors passed a motion asking for the ICF to release a consultant’s report on the condition of the rail line.

Nanaimo Coun. Bill Bestwick said there may be “perceived conflict of interest situations,” regarding McKay’s position on both the RDN and ICF boards.

“The law is grey,” Thorkelsson said. “We have to be cautious of the approach.”

Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre asked if the ICF’s plan is still to run passenger service between Victoria and Courtney.

A report obtained by Victoria radio station CFAX through a Freedom of Information request last week suggested the ICF tracks can’t safely handle trains at certain speeds.

McKay said a new report from the provincial Ministry of Transportation will look at possible speed restrictions.

“It should be out in a number of days,” McKay said.