EDITORIAL: Questionning ICF’s priorities

The latest news out of the Island Corridor Foundation has nothing to do with re-starting rail service

How many railway ties can you buy with the money you would pay a lawyer to pursue a defamation lawsuit?

We believed the Island Corridor Foundation’s raison d’etre was to re-start rail service on Vancouver Island from Victoria to Courtenay.

More and more, it seems the ICF is all about protecting its own, feeding and protecting its administrative beast.

The latest example — it’s not like we have actual rail service to cite — is the ICF’s decision to pursue a defamation lawsuit against Regional District of Nanaimo Director Julian Fell.

While we once believed the ICF’s responsibility was to re-start and oversee contracts relating to a rejuvenated passenger rail service on the Island, we learned last week the foundation has a different, or additional responsibility.

“ICF co-chair Judith Sayers said the board has a responsibility to protect the credibility of the foundation and the personal reputations of the directors and staff,” said a news release relating to the lawsuit filed against Fell.

We can’t responsibly comment on the allegations in the lawsuit, or the things that Fell said and wrote that presumably instigated the court action. That’s all before the courts now, and nothing has been proven.

However, we can comment on how we believe this to be another example of how the ICF has lost its way.

At the heart of this, the reason this should matter to people of Parksville Qualicum Beach, is where the ICF and its staff gets its funding, and what should be expected from the ICF for those funds.

Despite opposition from the communities of Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Nanoose Bay, Coombs/Errington and Bowser/Deep Bay, the Nanaimo-dominated RDN board passed a motion to supply the ICF with about $1 million of taxpayer money.

We’re not saying the ICF is using those funds to finance its lawsuit against Errington resident Fell. We are saying we don’t believe the ICF has secured enough funding to re-start rail service anywhere on Vancouver Island, certainly not to and from Parksville Qualicum Beach. The only news of note from the ICF in months has been the lawsuit against Fell.

We question the focus of the ICF board and its staff.

— Editorial by John Harding