April 11 2014
Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities
AGM, Qualicum Beach
Re: Future of Rail on Vancouver Island
I regret that I am not able to join you this weekend in Qualicum Beach for your annual conference.
It is reported you will be debating the future of rail on Vancouver Island and a confidence motion regarding the Island Corridor Foundation. I understand the frustration of many in the room over a process that has taken far too long to complete. Like many of you, I have been engaged in this process for more than 10 years, from the time of the original roundtable discussions with Rail America and the eventual formation of the ICF.
Funding for the rail upgrades was an issue throughout the 2011 federal election. I said at that time that we would not be successful in attracting federal money without an expression of support and partnership from the provincial government. Both MP John Duncan and I, in speaking with Premier Christy Clark, advised her independently and spontaneously as she called to congratulate us on our respective victories that we would need funding for the rail. The premier came through.
By that time we were pulling out of the recession but federal money was tight; we fought to secure that funding from the federal government.
None of us anticipated the improbable lengthy process to secure a Train Service Agreement (TSA) from VIA. But, I can assure you that agreement is in the final days of completion. I urge you to put aside disappointments, and please do not take upon yourselves actions that would scuttle the future of rail on Vancouver Island. If you do, you will carry that responsibility into history. Rail on Vancouver Island has a proud history; it brought us into confederation. We have come too far and worked too long to falter at the finish line.
The new TSA will secure another chapter of rail on Vancouver Island. It will be up to all stakeholders, communities and individuals to use the enhanced schedule and build on the opportunity to extend that life well into the future. I hope that most of you will agree and stand together to see that future have a chance.
James Lunney, MP
www.jameslunneymp.ca 1-(866) 390-7550
For further information please contact:
Room 100, Justice Bldg
House of Commons,
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Fax : 613-992-9112
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
#6 – 6894 Island Hwy. North
Nanaimo, B.C. V9V 1P6
Toll Free: 1-866-390-7550
Dr. James Lunney – (613) 992-5243 or (250) 390-7550