For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2016
ICF Board Statement Regarding RDN Funding Withdraw
The Island Corridor Foundation is disappointed with the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) decision to withdraw their funding support of approximately $950,000 for the island rail infrastructure project. Restoring rail to Vancouver Island has long been a vision of Islanders, a vision the ICF is working hard to achieve.
The ICF Board recognizes the RDN’s frustration with delays in moving passenger trains again, however the Board remains optimistic they are close to receiving the federal funding sign‐off of the $20.9 million Island Rail Infrastructure Project. Freight trains continue to operate in the Nanaimo area.
The lengthy funding process has been complicated by conditional agreements involving five regional governments, the provincial government and VIA Rail before the federal government would sign‐off. The Government of Canada sign‐off was delayed by the Federal election in October and then earlier this year by the Snaw‐Naw‐As First Nation (Nanoose) filing a Civil Claim against the ICF and Canada. The ICF filed a response at the end of February and the Government of Canada will file by the end of March.
“The Nanaimo Region stands to benefit significantly with rail passenger service between Nanaimo and Victoria,” says Judith Sayers, co‐chair of the Island Corridor Foundation. This project is a major economic and tourism opportunity for communities along the Corridor, and with the rails and trails connection, also provides a substantial benefit to residents as well.”
The ICF Board will investigate other funding and operational alternatives through consultations with ICF stakeholders and the railway operator, Southern Rail. The ICF remains open to working with the RDN and other partners to secure the funds to make rail on Vancouver Island a reality.
The governance of the ICF is sound and is managed according to the goals and objectives the stakeholders originally agreed to.
About the Island Corridor Foundation
The Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) is a self‐funded, not‐for‐profit corporation established specifically to preserve the 319 kilometre rail/trail corridor between Victoria and Courtenay, Duncan to Lake Cowichan and Parksville to Port Alberni. The corridor includes both rail and trail initiatives. Formed in 2003, the ICF is a registered charity, run by a Board of 12 Directors, representing 11 First Nations, five Regional Districts and two Directors‐at‐Large comprised of stakeholder communities along the Corridor.
Jenn Houtby-Ferguson, CMP CMM