Minister Promises Island Rail Answer

AVICC Press Release
Tuesday May 3, 2011
  The decision of whether rail will continue to exist on Vancouver Island is a step closer with the BC Minister of Transportation Blair Lekstrom telling Island mayors he will get an answer to the Island Corridor Foundation $15 million rail infrastructure request submitted to the federal and provincial governments last October.
 “The minister told us this would require a treasury board submission for the $7.5 million provincial contribution”, said Association of Vancouver Island & Coastal Communities president, Joe Stanhope, “and he would get us a quick reply”.
 Island mayors and representatives of the ICF met with Minister Lekstrom and Parksville MLA Ron Cantelon to discuss the VIA Rail passenger service shutdown and the need for the infrastructure funding to secure the future of rail on Vancouver Island.
 Mayors from Courtenay – Greg Phelps, Port Alberni- Ken McRae, Duncan – Phil Kent, Langford – Stewart Young and View Royal- Graham Hill, joined Stanhope, who is also the chair of the Regional District of Nanaimo and ICF co chairs Judith Sayers and Mary Ashley in pressing the need for immediate action to get the rail service operational again. MLA’s Ida Chong, Murray Coell and Don McRae were also represented.
 Stanhope said the minister had several questions with respect to future rail infrastructure requests and the possibility of a contribution by the Island Coastal Economic Trust.
 “We said there would be a formal letter going to ICTE requesting an assisting contribution,” added Stanhope.
 The minister was also asked to coordinate a response from Canada when the new federal minister of transportation was appointed.
 Stanhope stated he was very pleased with the hour long passionate discussion and the keen interest expressed by the minister.
 Southern Rail of Vancouver Island continues to operate rail freight trains on the rail road.
Media contact:
Graham Bruce
250 246 4320
 250 210 0411

7 thoughts on “Minister Promises Island Rail Answer

  1. In July 2010 a report by the Provincial government concludes:
    “The study evaluated the cost to improve major sections of the line to support specific markets, as well as considering a full-corridor upgrade. It concluded current volumes of freight and passengers do not support significant infrastructure investment at this time.”
    What has changed since July 2010??

  2. Why is this moving so slow? Getting the rail service running again is critical. There has not been a new posting on this website for 11 days. You give us a cost of $15 million for 104,000 rail ties. That is $144 per tie. Ask for pledges and donations. How can I pay for one? Let’s rebuild this rail line tie by tie, kilometre by kilometre. Get it running between Victoria and Duncan, then Victoria and Nanaimo, then on up. This needs to be in the local papers every issue. I have watched the attempted closure of this rail line for over 30 years. It is almost like you want it to fail.

  3. I totally agree with Jim, above, that “current” volumes of rail use do not look promising. It takes choice to make this change. A large part of the volume issues are because the current subsidies are designed to undermine the rail service. We know that government reports will usually tell us what they think will produce votes to keep them in power. We certainly know that for the past 50 years the auto and trucking industry have lobbied fiercely for roads over rail. This has led to massive government subsidy that promotes a transportation infrastructure (road, ferries and air) that is producing a future cost in terms of environmental degradation. We know that rail can be the environmentally cleanest form of transportation. We just need political leaders that will shift subsidies to promote a cleaner environment. A lot of this must be based on a new cultural ethic of how we travel, which includes less use of the personal automobile and more use of rail. I suggest the time for this is now.

  4. What I cant understand is why the railways doesnt run more freight up to parksville/courtenay. there is tonnes of space around the courtenay rail yard, on the south side of cumberland road im sure there is enough space to unload a boxcar, hopper or perhaps even a container. The trucks on the highway cuase nothing but problems. More freight trains, less trucks!

  5. If public funding is used on this line it will be about as sensible as buying back the fast ferries at their original cost.
    The three ferries cost 150 million each and were sold for six
    and a half million each. With more than 200 crossings the
    line will never be rapid transit.

  6. Well it is mid June…What’s the news? We are anxiously awaiting the rail service to restart. My Mother in Law missed my 4 year olds birthday because there was no train service. Yes there are actually people who depend on it, especially since the bus service makes it impossible to come to Nanaimo and get back to Victoria in the same day…
    There is so much more to be gained by keeping rail service alive on the island than letting it rust into the ground.

  7. We need to present a vision for the future. Not a view of yesterday. How about the massive government subsidies to widen the Sea to Sky Highway? That money should have gone into upgrading the existing rail corridor to serve Squamish to Whistler to Pemberton communities. Let’s do it right on Vancouver Island which is also a fairly narrow corridor of settlements that would be easy to serve by rail. Especially as we are expecting considerable population growth along Eastern Vancouver Island.
    In terms of the 200 crossings being an obstacles, first of all cars have to stop at intersections too. But technology allows synching lights at rail crossings so the train can go through and traffic has to wait. Crossings along the line are not a hinderness to a fast and efficient rail service once the rail infrastructure has been renewed.
    Oh yes, and what happened with fighting climate change and working toward ‘sustainability’?. Rail service would be a massive step in that direction. Let’s think ahead, not backwards…

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