Board Meeting Notes July 2017

Vancouver Island Friends of Rails to Trails
The VI FORT gave a presentation to the board in support of converting the railway tracks to a hiking and biking trail only. The group has presented to several councils and boards. The ICF Board is in the process of redrafting the ‘Strategic Priorities Plan’ and has reaffirmed the ICF commitment of ‘Rails with Trails’.
McLean Mill Steam Train Tourist Attraction
A comprehensive plan for the expanded McLean Mill & Steam Train attraction was presented to the board including a detailed track & bridge upgrade for the six miles of track that the steam train operates on. The ICF will seek the ACRD approval to redirect the $75,000 committed for the Victoria sub to the six miles of track on the Alberni subdivision.

Federal/ Provincial Track Infrastructure Funding
A new Federal/Provincial infrastructure application will be drafted and submitted to the respective governments for approval. The plan will focus on track improvements between Nanaimo and Victoria as the first phase of the incremental plan to restore rail service to the Victoria sub and the Alberni subdivision.
Very strong support was indicated by MLA Sonia Furstenau on behalf of the Green Party after meeting with ICF and Southern Rail of Vancouver Island (SVI) representatives. Meetings are being arranged with Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena (North Island) and Minister of Indigenous Relations Scott Fraser (Alberni) as formal first steps to updating the new government. Recent comments by government members and the Premier have signaled a keen interest in restoring Island train service.
First Nation Liaison
Meetings have been held with Cowichan Tribes, Halalt First Nation, Stz’uminus First Nation and Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group to update on recent ICF activities and the Snaw-Naw-As litigation. Concerns of safety and community impact when trains recommence operation were discussed.
Local Government Liaison Meeting
Municipal councillors attended the summer liaison meeting in early July. SVI representatives presented the new incremental track infrastructure plan that will support the VIA Inter-city passenger service; tourist excursion train; freight; and base improvements for commuter rail between Victoria and Langford. It also provides for Safety Sight & Sound barriers through member First Nation Communities and a walking trail across the Chemainus River Bridge.
Admirals Road Improvements
A section of Admirals Road between the Songhees Wellness Centre and the Admirals Walk shopping centre is being widened and repaved this year to improve access for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Improvements to the one-kilometre stretch from Hallowell Road to Maplebank Road will include upgrades to intersections and the stormwater drainage system along with new curbs, gutters and sidewalks.
The road improvements coincide with work on the E&N Rail Trail, which will run alongside Admirals at that location.


6 thoughts on “Board Meeting Notes July 2017

  1. Converting any part of the E&N to trail only is a ridiculous notion, if the rail is removed it will never be replaced it is bad enough that there has been no foresight in the Victoria and Esquimalt area. I sincerely hope the ICF is smarter than to allow this to happen. It is a massively short sighted move do not allow this to happen!

  2. The E&N is in the Constitution into perpetuity. The C.P.R. is. not. I would be all for the sharing if the trains were kept to a slower speed and shorter. It has to do with stopping distance and safety of all. In my railway experience most people have no idea the power it takes to stop a train. Cars have fluid brake stoppage while trains use air. I attribute the oblivious sense of people not to know the difference of braking power between the systems. I think a provincial- federal deal based on the history of the Island being a separate colony than the mainland, they both developed differently and in some ways are still independent of each other for future development. For the 1 million living in Greater Vancouver the Island is a weekend get away, a retirement place, etc. So it makes the economy of the Island and it is sustained growth. They will need both trails and rails to travel. The E&N Act also has legislation for ferry services on the inside passage which the C.P.R. ran under lease as The British Columbia Coastal Service. Combining these modes of travel together, the people would not be just looking at rail as the only option. All three are needed as past history has emphasized many times.
    Commuter rail on the island has been an issue in Greater Vancouver since 2000 or before and proposals and choice of route have been done. That proves the demand of the mainland for Island access with even a walk on ferry from the Sky train hub at New Westminster Quay to Chemainus as a alternate mid-island route. The VIA passenger train is land locked at Churhill and Seaspan a Washington Company could barge it to Montreal and dead head it to the Island for a trial. Its a problem for VIA and maybe you could get it free if you paid costs for shipping. Its a bargain.

  3. I fully support Colin’s comment above. I lived in Aberdeen, Scotland for a number of years and there was a bike path/pedestrian path that led from Aberdeen to Balmoral. This however previously used to be a stretch of railway line that upon disuse had the tracks taken up and the pathway installed. Many years later there was some regret about this as once the tracks and supporting infrastructure were removed it was now far too expensive to return to service. I mention this as I am sure that any future rail service would then be permanently gone if the tracks were taken up for installation of a bicycle path. Furthermore, premature removal of rail tracks in favour of bicycle paths which although in principle would be available to all would probably only be used by a minority of hard core bicycle enthusiasts.

  4. I agree that restoring rail inter community services is vital The bridge crosssing from Vic West was sacrificed to accommodate cyclists whose lobbying exceeds their numbers. It’s time to say enough is enough. Bicycles are great but don’t meet the needs of most seniors like me and many others.

    I recently visited your beautiful island and felt obliged to comment on some of the discussions regarding the proposals for the Island Rail Corridor. You can see from the above items regarding the reintroduced Borders railway here in Scotland, that a passenger rail service can be revived with proper planning, funding and management. It is fortunate that you already have most of the infrastructure in place, and with increased pressure on your roads network already evident, now is the time for everyone to get on board and steam ahead with this project which will be a real asset for the island and which the generations to come will thank you for.
    I’ve also included this link on the South West Community Rail Partnership for your info:

  6. I would hope that the icf doesn’t sell us out over wanting to turn the existing Infracture into yet another trail system which we don’t need. We already have many trails on this island. Denise savoie mentions that there isn’t enough people living here to support having a commuter service. I call this bullshit. There’s over a million tax payers on this island more than enough to support this. There is no reason why bc transit couldn’t work with translink in Vancouver to come up with a business plan on a scaled down version to operate a similar transit system here. We need to invest in our future for our children and there children. Commuter rail makes economic and feasible sense let alone morally. Trails and rails can co exist each other. We already have a beautiful tourist steam train operation in alberni awaiting to expand. On the grounds that the line from alberni to parksville be invested in. For future generations. Our highways are horrible. To costly to main and keep expanding them. Look at all the car accidents on the malahat. Over the years. This will never go away there will always be huge delays when major accidents happen. We need other means of alternate transit not just one way in and out of town. One big highway that is a constant tie up of bottle necked wrecks. Long live the E N Railroad !!!

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