AVICC Press Release
Monday April 11, 2011
Island Mayors want a meeting with Premier Christie Clark and Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom to discuss the loss of the VIA passenger service and the potential shutdown of railroad transportation on Vancouver Island.
An emergency resolution was unanimously passed Sunday at the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities annual convention at Sydney in the wake of last week’s shutdown of the passenger service.
AVICC president, Joe Stanhope said the $15 million rail infrastructure application submitted last October to the federal and provincial governments is absolutely critical to maintaining railroad service on Vancouver Island.
“All the communities attending the conference are solid in their support of this funding request. This rail corridor was returned to the people of Vancouver Island in 2006 due to the past leadership of several Mayors and First Nation Chiefs through a creative tax grant land transfer with CPR for a dollar”.
“Now as part of the plan the municipalities along the corridor provide approximately $460,000 annually in permissive property tax exemptions to the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) which is important to the long term operating agreement the ICF and Southern Rail of Vancouver Island have tentatively agreed to”, he said.
Approximately $30 million in trail development and rail improvements have occurred in the past four years.
The ICF is the Society that holds and manages the corridor trails and railroad for the five regional districts, 14 municipalities and 13 First Nations.
Stanhope stated the ICF has had numerous promising discussions with both governments regarding the infrastructure funding but due to a provincial leadership contest and now a federal election a decision has not been made.
“Because of the passenger service shutdown last week the AVICC and the ICF are asking for a meeting with Premier Clark and Minister Lekstrom to discuss the situation and for their assistance in coordinating a positive response from both governments”, added Stanhope.
“The ICF executive director presented a very comprehensive report on Saturday about operational developments and we want to ensure the premier and minister are aware of the self sustaining business plan the ICF has been building”, Stanhope said.
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ICF Executive Director
250 246 4320
250 210 0411 (cell)
Chair Regional District of Nanaimo
250 248 6401
250 668 2814 (cell)
AVICC Press Release