EDITORIAL: Don’t expect any rail service to Parksville and Qualicum Beach

There's been nothing but talk from the ICF and the provincial government for the last three years

The provincial government says it is waiting for confirmation from the feds.

The federal government says it is waiting for the province.

Just another confusing day in the life of the Island Corridor Foundation.

And we’re no closer to passenger rail service on the Island than we were three years ago.

B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone pulled the old non-announcement announcement trick on Thursday. If this whole situation didn’t involve tens of millions of taxpayers dollars, it would be hilarious.

Stone said “we are one step closer” to a fully operational rail service on Vancouver Island after his announcement on Thursday. What made him say this is anyone’s guess, because there was nothing new, no step closer, within the news release Stone’s ministry sent to the masses on

Thursday.

“The government of B.C. has affirmed its commitment to provide $7 million to the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) to support the future  of the E&N rail line on Vancouver Island,” said the lead sentence in the release, followed later by: “The provincial funds will be provided to the Island Corridor Foundation once it has confirmed that $7.5 million in federal funding is in place and, through a tendering process, that the upgrade work can be completed within the $20.4 million it has budgeted.”

We called the only MP from Vancouver Island who sits on the government side in the House of Commons, John Duncan. He told us the federal money has always been there, “contingent on the province doing their due diligence. If they’re good to go, we’re good to go.”

In December of 2014, a Ministry of Transportation official told us the B.C. Safety Authority had engaged a consultant to review the ICF’s upgrade plan. In that same story, Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell said “safety is my first priority.”

While Stilwell told us the government is now “comfortable” with what the B.C  Safety Authority is saying about the upgrade plan, nowhere in the news release Thursday does it say the ICF’s plan has been given the thumbs up by the authority. Nowhere in the release Thursday does it say the ICF can actually do the upgrade work for $20 million.

The release did say the plan is for service to Qualicum Beach on Wednesdays and weekends. We still don’t believe $20 million will get this service up and running, certainly not north of Nanaimo.

— Editorial by John Harding

Just Posted

History: The architectural legacy of Sam Little

Designs leave legacy in Qualicum Beach, other Island locales

Qualicum Beach doles out Community Awards

Jacobson is Citizen of the Year; new mayor Wiese named top newsmaker

Finalists announced for annual Business Achievement Awards

Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce honours individuals, businesses

Parksville artist aims to produce zero waste with creations, business

Margie Preninger even dabbled with dryer lint years ago

RDN dealing with high interest in backyard cannabis production

New policy proposed to address challenges with Health Canada licences

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

B.C. man in wheelchair following police shooting

“Shots were fired by police and the Kelowna man was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.”

Peter Tork, Monkees’ lovable bass-guitar player, dies at 77

Tork, Micky Dolenz, David Jones and Michael Nesmith formed the made-for-television rock band

From a drunk judge to Clifford Olson: George Garrett recounts a life in B.C. news radio

New book from ‘Intrepid Reporter’ George Garrett offers readers a glimpse behind the headlines

Wife remembers B.C. man killed in possible case of mistaken identity

Rex Gill was in Kamloops working to support his family after oilfield job dried up

Early morning shooting in Courtenay

Reporter at taped-off scene outside apartment complex

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Millennial men least likely to have a family doctor: Statistics Canada

Report found more women have primary care physicians, compared with men

70% of Canadians agree with mandatory vaccines for children: poll

The debate for pro and anti vaccinations has heated up after a measles outbreak in Vancouver

Most Read