No, Island Corridor is not crumbling

The 12-member board has overseen a plan making the foundation financially sound by increasing revenues substantially through land-use fees.

Your editorial ‘Crumbling ICF’ (The NEWS, June 2), hardly meets an editorial standard as factual and fair comment, but certainly meets the test of ‘Trump-ism’ comment.

The ICF is not crumbling. The 12-member board of directors has overseen a plan making the foundation financially sound by increasing revenues substantially through land-use fees. It has secured a long-term commitment with an excellent rail operator, Southern Rail of Vancouver Island (SVI).

SVI has developed a business case for cruise ship excursion rail with the Nanaimo Port Authority and expanded the trans loading rail service at the Wellcox rail yard in Nanaimo. SVI has also agreed to cover any operating shortfall for the VIA passenger service over a 10-year period.

The ICF is fulfilling its heritage mandate. The four heritage stations have been renovated or are being renovated and through the Alberni Pacific Railway one of the best operating steam train tours runs between the Alberni station and the McLean Mill.

Trails have been constructed on many parts of the Island that will one day link communities from Courtenay to Victoria and provide an excellent tourism opportunity for ‘Rails with Trails’.

With respect to your five points, the Regional District of Nanaimo was a reluctant member of the ICF from its inception. It was also the last region to agree to participate in the track infrastructure upgrade program.

While it does not wish to participate in providing track infrastructure funding it has not withdrawn from the ICF. In fact the RDN is about to start its first trail construction on the corridor from Parksville to Coombs.

The CEO contract is a matter for the ICF and it has been renewed with the full confidence of the board.

The federal sign-off for their $7.5 million contribution to the track infrastructure program was delayed due to the federal election.

Subsequently, the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation filed a claim against the corridor and Canada. The parties are respectfully dealing with this important issue.

As for hunkering down in a defensive fox hole, over 1,500 rail supporters joined us for the 130th anniversary celebration of Island rail at the historic Nanaimo station in April and enjoyed two days of activities including train rides on the heritage ‘Island Explorer train…’ it’s apparently a very large foxhole.

There’s lots more secret information on the ICF website: www.islandrail.ca.

Judith Sayers, ICF chairNanaimo