EDITORIAL: Unsure about ICF

Mixed messages make it difficult to rely on ICF for solid information on the re-start of rail service on Vancouver Island

We believe many, if not all, members of the Island Corridor Foundation’s board of directors have genuine, positive intentions when it comes to re-starting rail service on Vancouver Island.

Which is why the contrived, back-patting, no-news conference they staged Wednesday in Nanaimo is troubling.

Who, exactly, did they think they were going to fool? Why, exactly, would they stage such an event with no real progress to report?

One answer to those questions may seem a tad cynical, but it’s a valid observation: with support from at least one regional district and two communities along the rail line crumbling, the ICF needed a feel-good moment.

Tonight in Nanaimo, Parksville Coun. Marc Lefebvre will introduce a motion to the Regional District of Nanaimo’s board of directors expressing non-confidence in the ICF and calling for a task force to re-examine how, or if, rail could be re-started on Vancouver Island.

This is not a good development for the ICF and its CEO Graham Bruce. Regional district funding (about $900,000) is contingent upon a return of passenger rail service to where it was before it was shut down due to safety reasons.

Wednesday’s no-news conference shed absolutely zero light on that contingency. So, if it was the ICF’s or Bruce’s plan to save that funding through the announcement of a supposed “tentative agreement” neither party (Southern Railway and VIA) would confirm, they failed.

In fact, VIA was kind of baffled by the whole news conference plan. The ICF sent an e-mail to VIA asking for permission to use VIA logos and have some kind of VIA participation in the news conference Wednesday, but VIA wanted no part of it.

That all said, MP James Lunney told The NEWS he believes an agreement is imminent.

We believe a functioning railway to move freight and passengers would be a boost to Vancouver Island’s tourism potential and economy. Some may see it as a romantic, foolish notion, but we see it as an important cog in the Island’s future economy.

It would be more reassuring, however, if we felt the ICF had a handle on these matters and wasn’t trying to play political games.

— Editorial by John Harding

Just Posted

Parksville seniors getting stronger with age

Weightlifting couple qualify to compete at Worlds Masters in Montreal in August

Camera captures cougar lurking in Parksville’s Foster Park neighbourhood

Resident shared photo to alert others to big cat’s presence

RDN tipping fees set to go up in July

The Regional District of Nanaimo is set to increase tipping fees at… Continue reading

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Reeling Port Alice about to lose its only bank

Scotiabank branch closure follows latest mill setback, bad for business and the elderly

Most Read