Convert ICF to world class trail

With the RDN withdrawal of funding from the moribund E&N rail line, now is the time to talk about converting it to a recreational corridor.

Re: ‘ICF pledges to soldier on,’ (The NEWS, March 29).

With the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) withdrawal of funding from the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) plan to revamp the moribund E&N rail line, now is the time to table serious talk about converting Vancouver Island’s entire rail line into a recreational corridor.

When musing over the pulled funding, ICF co-chair Judith Sayers said: “The Nanaimo region stands to benefit significantly from revitalized rail service.”

But a hard look at the economic realities of rail reveals a bleaker scenario.

We should remember that Island residents are anathema to industrial development. There will be a gusher of cash injected by industrial users to pay down E&N’s husky repair bills.

And with the very limited schedule of passenger service proposed, one cannot see Island citizens abandoning their cars to buy tickets and ride the rails again.

And as one watches how large infrastructure projects on Vancouver Island are being handled these days (sewage anyone?), taxpayers here should be very leery when handing over precious tax dollars to a loosely-accountable organization like the ICF.

Finally, one does wonder: can someone honestly tell us how much it would really cost to fix the E&N?

What to do? Well, all across North America, abandoned rail lines have been re-purposed as recreation corridors, turning derelict properties into outdoor gems to be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.

For example, our Okanagan neighbours will soon be celebrating the conversion of an underutilized CN rail line into a recreation path, connecting Vernon to Kelowna.

If Islanders banded together and supported a rail-to-trail initiative, we would have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve a continuous, regionally-significant walk and ride corridor from Nanaimo to Comox Valley.

We could possibly even build a world-class, knock-your-socks-off stunner of a trail all the way from Greater Victoria to Comox.

Brian BrennanQualicum Beach

Just Posted

Qualicum man sentenced for tying up, robbing another man

Gabriel Stephen Nelson robbed and assaulted travelling businessman in 2017

Parksville man ‘parks’ horse during liquor store pit stop

As long as animal wasn’t jaywalking, no problem, says city official

Parksville roundtable highlights need for affordable housing, recreation

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

RDN to form new group to replace Northern committees

Recreation commissioners disappointed with the decision

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

Vehicles should expect intermittent single-lane alternating traffic

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

Woman punched on the sidelines of B.C. soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

Most Read