I wanted to get in touch regarding this latest report in the forever ongoing, and never to be resolved, E&N saga. The idea that the Provincial Government can waste so much time on such a small amount of money for something so valuable to the collective population of the island is really starting make me think about my future voting.
I don’t quite understand how it can take, what must be half a decade now, to decide whether or not the E&N is worth saving. I would like to remind you that it actually took less time to BUILD the entire E&N from Victoria to Nanaimo in the 1880s with limited technology and resources… and in this day and age of information and efficiency we can’t even make a simple decision to keep what essentially built this island. I would not be surprised if the province has spent more than their projected cut of $7.5 million dollars on the decision of whether or not to spend $7.5 million dollars at this point.
The bottom line is the report submitted by RTC is fundamentally flawed and should be thrown out. The money spent on that report would have been much better spent on rail ties. Sure, 15 Million will not bring the line up to a Class 1 railway standard BUT it will improve the infrastructure. We have a fancy cruise ship terminal in Nanaimo and no ships will visit because there are no tourist attractions – the rail line runs right to the terminal and could provide access to a number of great locations. Several businesses all over the island are suffering because they were once able to ship via rail direct from their properties but now cannot – they need to truck too and from the rail yard in downtown Nanaimo, transload, and pass their added handling costs on to the customer, increase traffic, and pollution. This also reduces their competitive advantage and threatens island jobs.
Passenger ridership was steadily increasing all the way up to the service was shut down. The passenger system was never even given a CHANCE to run in the right direction. We need to take a risk, spend what needs to be spent, and most importantly, get on with it! Enough wasting time spinning in circles. Enough conditions on conditions on conditions to release the funds. Give the E&N a fighting chance to become what it will be – a viable, green, alternative to the highway system on this island for a number of industries; A tourist revenue generator, a commuter system, and a future transportation option for those that are not able to, or feel comfortable traveling up and down their own Island.
Be leaders, make a decision. No conditions, lets just get on with it.
Nanaimo, BC Canada