I really wish we could have a vote on Vancouver Island regarding the desire to have a rail line or a multi-use path after ripping out the rail tracks.
There are a lot of vocal letter writers wanting the pathways, but do we honestly have the population to warrant this? And do the majority of our residents really think this is a great idea?
With Qualicum Beach having the oldest average age of any community in Canada, followed closely by Parksville, how many of us will use a path with electric bikes and electric chairs?
Or will the paths be taken over by the rude bullies who travel so many bike paths and run over anyone in their way? Do we need to make a path that maybe some international travellers will be attracted to?
As the population ages, many either lose their licences or prefer not to drive, particularly to Victoria where the majority of the cancer treatments and specialty surgeons are located.
There is a van that runs from Campbell River to Victoria every day, and many people have to make that trip every day for treatment — that’s over the Malahat summer and winter.
How often is that highway blocked and how many appointments are missed? That is why so many patients unhappily stay in Victoria each week for whatever they need.
We are trying to become a greener society and that means better transit for our population. Much of our transit does not pay for itself right away, if ever, but if you build it, the riders will come.
A rail line could be a wonderful day trip for cruise passengers to Qualicum Beach. A regular schedule can get medical patients to Victoria or perhaps shoppers who would love a day and night in Chemainus or Victoria.
A rail line does not restrict its users to being physically fit and can be a fast, convenient method to get around.
The rail line fell out of use with poor maintenance, uneven scheduling and lack of responsibility. If you figure the cost, and in some places the downright impossibility, of creating a better road to Victoria as well as the impact of greenhouse gases… we need the rail line.
I think the reasons to rebuild it add up to benefiting more of our population than would a trail in its place.