Weekend-only plan for renewed rail service to Parksville Qualicum Beach a surprise

Coun. Dave Willie reported the information during a Qualicum Beach town council meeting Monday night

If passenger rail service is renewed to the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, it may only be on the weekend.

Coun. Dave Willie reported the information during a Qualicum Beach town council meeting Monday night.

Comments about providing weekend rail service “spilled out” at another recent meeting, Willie said, between Parksville and Qualicum Beach municipal leaders and the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF), which owns the railway track from Victoria to Courtenay.

“I think that was a big surprise to all of us,” Willie said, adding attendees at the meeting also heard the passenger train wouldn’t leave Nanaimo at 5:30 a.m. but at 7 a.m. and head south, Monday through Friday. “That’s a very big difference from what we were told and what we agreed to.”

The weekend passenger service, which is apparently on the current service agreement being negotiated between ICF and Via Rail, would also include Courtenay, Willie said, although he was not granted his request to look at a schedule.

When asked about recovering some of the capital costs to fix the aging rails at the meeting, the CEO of Southern Rail told municipal leaders “frankly” Willie said, that there was no business plan that would see any return of investment back to the rail for the next 10 years. Instead they would complete tasks project-by-project.

Willie reminded those in attendance at the meeting Monday night that as a regional district this area made a significant contribution (half a million dollars) toward renewing rail service.

The Island Corridor Foundation’s website states that the provincial government committed $7.5 million in June 2011, in May 2012 the federal government committed $7.5 million and in February of 2013 five Island regional governments committed $3.4 million. Southern Rail of Vancouver Island and ICF will fund the balance, the website states. Calls to the Island Corridor Foundation were not returned before press time.

Willie said no one wants to see the corridor go away, whether its used for rail service, walking or biking.

“But I don’t think any of us want to see us getting into a situation, which is what we seem to be seeing, where the first $20 million becomes $40 million and $60 million becomes $100 million.”

The worst section of the rail is between Parksville and Courtney/Comox, Willie said.

Just Posted

Parksville roundtable highlights need for affordable housing, recreation

Mayor Ed Mayne held facilitated event in January to hear visions for city, council

Second delivery of building units for 222 Corfield in Parksville arrives March 21

Vehicles should expect intermittent single-lane alternating traffic

Public input sought on proposed cannabis retail store in Coombs

Application to be reviewed by Regional District of Nanaimo

Two nature-inspired artists display oil paintings at Qualicum gallery

Judy Maxwell and Lloyd Major depict scenes of wildlife, landscapes and the west coast

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Cougar on Island might have been shot with bow-and-arrow

Conservation officer service looking for animal near Port Alice

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Most Read