ICF rail solution

It is so sad that our communities have become polarized over the passenger rail debate.

It is so sad that our communities have become polarized over the passenger rail debate. Rail advocates want a safe, convenient, affordable and environmentally-sustainable transportation option.

Trail advocates want to convert the rail right-of-way into a wonderful amenity for recreation and tourism. The frustrating thing is that a solution exists that could satisfy both camps, but none of our civic leaders is talking about it.

It’s widely believed that passenger rail is a low-pollution transport system, but the facts are otherwise. The diesel rail cars used on Vancouver Island burn much more fuel per passenger/km than a bus, while huge volumes of wood must be logged to replace rotting rail ties, and the right of way must be sprayed every year with toxic herbicide to suppress weeds. On top of all that, deadly collisions between trains and cars or pedestrians are a tragic certainty.

For less than half the estimated $21 million cost of restoring the rails to a minimal level of safety, we could buy a fleet of comfortable, low-emission buses that would provide several trips a day from Campbell River to Victoria and back — faster, safer and much cleaner than the train.

The balance of the funds could go a long way to converting the railway grade to a hiking and biking trail. It’s a win-win solution. Instead of squabbling over the ICF leadership, local governments should pull together and create a well-planned proposal to use the up-coming federal infrastructure funding for this purpose.

Doug HopwoodQualicum Beach

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach staff moving forward with report for cinema, brew pub

Councillor makes motion to include The Old School House proposal

Annual pickleball tournament fills up quickly

Two-day event to take place indoors at Oceanside Place May 24-25

Lighthouse Country bus tour to focus on area’s tourism destinations

Business assocation wants more tourists to come to the area

Flock of spinners holding fleece and fibre fair in Coombs

Annual event raises money for Bradley Centre, supports local producers and vendors

Bowser residents protest marine sewage outfall plan

Veenhof and staff endures harsh criticisms at public information meeting

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Woman’s death near Tofino prompts warning about ‘unpredictable’ ocean

Ann Wittenberg was visiting Tofino for her daughter Victoria Emon’s wedding

B.C. man facing deportation says terror accusation left him traumatized

Othman Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism-related charges by a B.C. Supreme Court judge in September

Will Taylor Swift’s high concert ticket prices stop scalpers?

Move by artist comes as B.C. looks to how to regulate scalpers and bots reselling concert tickets

36 fires sparked May long weekend, most due to lightning: BC Wildfire

As warmer weather nears, chief fire officer Kevin Skrepnek says too soon to forecast summer

Ariana Grande sends message of hope on anniversary of Manchester bombing

Prince William joins survivors and emergency workers for remembrance service

B.C. flood risk switches from snowmelt to rainfall: River Forecast Centre

Kootenays and Fraser River remain serious concerns

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Canadian government spending tens of millions on Facebook ads

From January 2016 to March 2018, feds spent more than $24.4 million on Facebook and Instagram ads

Most Read