Who we Are
The Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) is a federally registered charity established for the purposes of owning and managing the former E&N Corridor on Vancouver Island. The foundation recognizes the importance of this corridor as a link that connects communities economically, socially and spiritually, today, and for all time. In short, it connects the places we live, work, learn and play.
The foundation represents First Nations and Local Governments adjacent to the corridor. ICF has been working diligently to secure a stable and prosperous future for the Island Corridor for the benefit of all Vancouver Island Residents.
Creating the ICF
When Norske announced that they would move their freight business to truck in 2002 there was considerable concern about the future of rail service on Vancouver Island. Without some significant intervention, it is likely that rail service would be abandoned and the property sold off in parcels to private interests, forfeiting the benefits of a continuous corridor forever.
Cowichan Tribes had the foresight to see the potential of what preserving the corridor and rail service could mean to First Nations. At the same time, the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) saw the potential for Island communities. In an extraordinary collaboration between local government and First Nations, the two groups invited all interested parties to participate in two round tables on the future of rail on Vancouver Island to discuss the situation.
The second round table resulted in the formation of the Vancouver Island Rail Initiative. This core group of visionaries prepared a number of studies around the feasibility of retaining the CPR assets and improving rail service.
What evolved was the current collaboration between regional districts and First Nations in a community ownership model. A strong consensus was formed around the vision of a charitable foundation that would be responsive to the communities along the right-of-way.
The Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) was incorporated in early 2004, signaling a partnership of unprecedented magnitude between the Regional Districts and First Nations. In December 2004, the Foundation was granted registered charity status. As a charity, ICF will be able to issue tax receipts for gifts received from organizations and individuals.
At the beginning of 2006 ICF achieved a significant milestone, concluding Asset Donation Agreements with the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and Rail America (RA) to acquire full ownership of the former E&N Corridor.
A lot of people and organizations helped take ICF from a ‘nice idea’ to a Foundation on the verge of accomplishing a historic achievement. The Foundation would like to thank all of its supporters for their time and dedication, without which this project would not have been possible.
Up and down Vancouver Island, people like you, communities, local governments, First Nations and businesses are coming together to fulfill the full potential of our Island Rail Corridor. The case we’re presenting to you for acquiring Federal and Provincial investment in the Rail Corridor can have a positive effect on every part of our lives. Acquired and managed by the Island Corridor Foundation the Rail Corridor is an incredibly valuable asset owned by the people and communities of Vancouver Island.
That means the Rail Corridor is ours. That means it’s yours!
Our proposal supports an integrated transportation system that will connect buses to trains, park and ride facilities and the use of bicycle and walking paths along the Rail Corridor. We recognize that in order to support our plan, Islanders need to know and trust that the Foundation will manage the corridor on their behalf in an honest, open and business like manner. Our goal is to earn that trust every single day.
By working together to develop the Corridor to its full potential we have the power to: preserve our environment; develop our economy; create safe, green, efficient transportation for our families; and to build a gateway to the world for our businesses for the next 100 years.
The corridor runs within 30 minutes of more than 80% of all Island residents and represents an irreplaceable asset and invaluable resource to the economic vitality of Vancouver Island communities. Its role for transportation, recreation and tourism will only grow in importance as communities along the corridor continue to expand and develop.
- Continuing Freight Service: Rail is the safest, most cost-efficient and most environmentally friendly form of surface transportation available. The ICF presently has an Interim Operating Agreement with Southern Rail of Vancouver Island (SVI) who have been working diligently to identify new freight customers for this line. A sustainable freight service supports 22 full time jobs located at the Wellcox Yard in Nanaimo.
- Inter-City Passenger Service: Vital passenger service will be reintroduced to the island. The east coast of Vancouver Island is among the fastest growing areas in Canada. With continual growth of Vancouver Island communities, particularly when coupled with the changing demographics toward an aging population, there is significant potential for inter-city passenger services. This will provide us with improved access to economic opportunities and social needs. Perhaps most importantly it will provide alternative transportation options to those that most need it.
- Future Commuter Rail Opportunities: A great deal of focus will be on the Capital Regional District and the development of a commuter rail service between the Langford and Victoria. As demands grow over the next two decades, it is reasonable to expect that this service may extend northward. The preservation of this corridor over the short term ensures the viability of this service in the long term.
- Tourism Benefits: The ICF sees a great potential for greater and more efficient integration with transportation services. Bus shuttles connecting from the train station to ferry terminals and airports when coupled with increased types of excursion rail opportunities, including those linked to cruise ships, would greatly enhance Vancouver Island’s tourism opportunities
- Rails-with-trails: The ICF continues to work with all the Regional Districts and local governments on the line to eventually construct a trail running the length of the corridor. The ICF has signed an access agreement with the Capital Regional District for the E&N Rail-with-trail project running from the Blue Bridge in Victoria to Langford, which has been largely completed. In addition trails have been constructed throughout Vancouver Island utilizing rail corridor in the Cowichan Valley Regional District, Duncan, North Cowichan, Lake Cowichan, Nanaimo, Lantzville, Qualicum Beach, and Courtenay.