EDITORIAL: ICF crumbling

It's time for a senior government to step in and protect this valuable resource

The Island Corridor Foundation is in the late stages of death by a thousand cuts.

The first casualty of war, or bureaucratic boondoggles, is the truth. That ship sailed long ago with the ICF.

First and foremost, there is currently no passenger rail service on Vancouver Island. The reasons for that failure are many, and not all of them are related to the action, or inaction, of the ICF.

Just most of them.

Consider the following list, far from complete, of stumbles and hurdles that have plagued this crumbling coalition of regional districts and First Nations:

• The ICF sues one of their board members, Regional District of Nanaimo director Julian Fell. This wasn’t red flag number one, but it was a bright, shiny marker for sure.

• The RDN passes a motion to rescind its $1 million commitment to the ICF.

• The RDN passes what’s essentially a non-confidence motion related to the management of the ICF.

• The ICF responds by extending the contract of their manager for 30 months.

• The federal government, even after a change in the party of power, still refuses to release more than $7 million in funding, which also puts close to $14 million in funding from junior governments (the province, regional districts) in a holding pattern.

• Most importantly, and directly related to the reluctance of the feds, the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation initiates a civil lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court against the ICF and the Attorney General of Canada over the rail line, asking for the return of Snaw-Naw-As land that was taken in the last century to build the railway, which runs through the reserve in Nanoose Bay.

The ICF has spoken about transparency and accountability. It’s been all talk. Its news releases come with no attribution, flowery phrases with no identifiable speakers. It renews the contract of its CEO without any request for proposals or advertising for the job, an irresponsible, non-transparent, unaccountable act by a foundation that seeks taxpayer funding. Truth, transparency and accountability are a casualty in a situation where the board seems hunkered down in a foxhole, consistently on the defensive.

It’s time for someone, some government, to step in. The asset — the rail corridor — is too valuable to the people of Vancouver Island for this charade to continue. Don McRae (Comox) and cabinet minister Michelle Stilwell (Parksville-Qualicum), the only two government MLAs on the Island, need to get involved.

— Editorial by John Harding

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Parksville man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near city mall

Oceanside RCMP report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Qualicum Beach councillor files court petition against the town

Official says response to Walker’s petition will be filed

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Most Read