A letter to the Premier: Rail Service Vancouver Island – Marilynn Newsted Qualicum Beach, BC

Dear Mr. Horgan,
Re:  Rail Service Vancouver Island
I believe you and your counterparts have done a huge disservice to the residents of Vancouver Island by not encouraging the re-establishment of train service on Vancouver Island.  To allow this corridor to sit idle and deteriorate more and more each year is disgusting and short sighted.  You and your fellow government officials should have been and need to be working now with the Island Corridor Foundation to ensure we have rail service reestablished now and for future generations. 
We are an aging population.  Hiking trails and bike paths may be the in thing right now and suit those adults who are fit or do not have a disability and if the weather co-operates.  They are grand health/fitness concepts but it is narrow minded thinking if the rail bed is removed to accommodate them.  Rails and trails can work together.  Not all adults, seniors, those with disabilities and small children are going to hike/bike to Victoria or up Island.  We want and need another option for safe travel up and down the Island.  Trails and rails can be united and in fact  in places have been incorporated into a rail/trail corridor.   So it is not something which cannot be done.
We have lived in Qualicum Beach for almost 40 years.  We, our family and friends have often used the train and miss it immensely.   On our trips there were many different types of passengers –  seniors, adults, people going to work, students going to and from school, people just out for a day trip, some going shopping, tourists, others going to events in Nanaimo or Victoria etc. 
In the Parksville Qualicum Beach News of Jun 7, 2018, the Kiwanis Club of Parksville Qualicum is promoting a fund raiser Deluxe Dinner Express.   Participants are bused (ugh) to Port Alberni to ride the train to McLean Saw Mill for a dinner/dance fund raiser.  What creative thinking!!!  Too bad the train ride did not start in Parksville/Qualicum!
On top of the lessening of congestion on the highway, can you imagine the tourism dollars which could be generated in each and every one of the towns/cities/hamlets a train from Victoria to Courteny stopped at.  Especially now with the huge number of visitors coming into Victoria on  cruise ships.  Train excursions up the Island to visit and see our beautiful Island would be a hot ticket.   As well as, travelling up Island to say, Nanaimo, Qualicum/Parksville or Courtenay for holiday stays, to connect with travel to the west coast or Mt. Washington, etc.
With the option of regular daily train service (in both directions) many would leave their cars at home.  The tragedies of the last few weeks on our over crowded highways and the complete shut down of the access to Victoria should twig your thinking caps.  The rail corridor up the Island was established to move people and goods and should and needs to be revitalized so it can serve that purpose again.
Yes, it will cost many dollars but so does any highway/bridge/ferry.  The cost will be more so, as you and your predecessors have allowed this gem to sit idle for so long.  Don’t punish those who desire the return of rail service for your short shortsightedness.   Please give this issue serious and thoughtful consideration and return our rail service.  The last NDP government gave us the Inland Highway.   The return of Island rail service would be visionary and could be the legacy of the Horgan government for many generations.
Thank you,
Marilynn Newsted
Qualicum Beach, BC

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