Rail idea crumbling

How many more years of this inaction must we endure before we can move on to a multi-use trail?

This is in answer to Island Corridor Foundation chair Judith Sayers’ political spin, i.e. her letter to the editor ‘No, Island Corridor not crumbling’ (The NEWS, June 16), which was her response to editor John Harding’s editorial in the June 2 edition.

The ICF may not be crumbling, but the dream of an operating railway is. How many more years of this inaction must we endure before we can move on to a multi-use trail that can serve all the citizens of Vancouver Island and provide a draw to international travellers? The insanity of constructing a $2 million dollar, 10-km trail alongside the unused rail tracks that lead to Port Alberni shows how far off the tracks we have gone when these valuable dollars could have gone to finishing a full length trail from Parksville to Port Alberni if the tracks were removed and the original trail bed used.

Although there are always many rail supports who will come out and enjoy a day of free rides, I believe few would be willing to pay the price of a ticket to ride the rail if the operating expenses were divided by the ridership.

Heritage railway stations would have a greater frequency of use by trail travellers as information centres and coffee shops than they are at present and the steam engine in Port Alberni can still function along its short stretch of track to the McLean Mill.

With the growing popularity in electric bikes, a multi-use trail on Vancouver Island is becoming more and more essential as it will provide the infrastructure which will take people safely between their destinations while reducing conflicts with motor vehicle traffic.

Les AndersenParksville

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