THE TIME IS NOW TO RESTORE RAIL SERVICE ON VANCOUVER ISLAND
Supporting the restoration of passenger rail service on Vancouver Island makes sense. Let’s work together by encouraging our Provincial Government to take action NOW.
Share your voice by writing to your local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) who was elected to represent the interests of constituents like you.
It is an effective way to bring issues to the legislature and to ensure your thoughts, concerns and requests are being heard by the government.
To confirm who your MLA is and to get their contact information visit: https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members
Some important points to keep in mind when you are writing a letter to your MLA include:
MLA’s will only give consideration to letters from constituents within their specified geographic territory. Be sure to introduce yourself and let them know where, within their constituency you are living.
State the purpose of your letter:
You could say you are writing to support the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) in their mission to restore rail service on Vancouver Island, or that you are asking your MLA to take steps to inform the Premier and/or the Minister of Transportation of Infrastructure of your support for rail as a viable transportation option on Vancouver Island.
Make it personal:
Tell your MLA why rail service is important to YOU and to the future of Vancouver Island. Include personal anecdotes to demonstrate to your MLA why this is important to you. Use examples where rail would be beneficial to you and others.
Keep it brief:
Your MLA receives an enormous amount of communication, so it is important that your letter get to the point quickly with well thought out points and arguments. Use bullet points where possible to help keep the letter concise and to the point. Do your best to keep it to one page.
Your letter should be positive, upbeat, and informative. Your MLA will respond better to a pleasant letter that provides information that is relevant and is helpful to them in considering your position.
Closing your letter:
Ask your MLA to take action on your behalf and thank them for their support and leadership. If you would like a response to understand your MLA’s position on the restoration of rail service, ask for it. And … be sure to include your full name and contact details.
Below are some points that highlight the benefits of the restoration of rail service that may help you with the content of your letter:
- Rail produces 1/3 the CO2 emissions vs that of private vehicles.
- Freight rail service means less trucks are on the highways which equates to reduced infrastructure maintenance costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
- The Provincial Government just stepped-up targets to meet their CleanBC Act by 2030 – rail provides a transportation option that will help us meet those targets.
- With population growths in many Island communities (5.2% – Langford, Nanaimo – 2.4%, Sooke & View Royal – 2.5%, Tofino – 7.1%) outpacing those of most regional districts in other parts of BC a modal shift is necessary to help ensure environmentally sound trains are our best option.
- Restoring rail will also play a vital role in active transportation by continuing to build trails. Working with the Regional Districts and First Nations, to date, there are over 100km of trails that have been constructed with rail on the corridor and growing. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, we can have both.
Social Equity Benefits
- Provision of a transportation option that helps ensure accessibility for our elderly, lower income individuals and young people.
- 50% of Island residents live north of the Malahat making the provision of safe and efficient transportation options between communities vital.
- The ICF along with local governments along the corridor support the continued development of rail-with-trails, particularly as it will increase options for active, non-motorized transportation routes within and between Island communities and overall will enhance the travel experience.
- Rail can help keep people and communities connected.
Efficiency and Reliability Benefits
- Rail provides an extension to other transportation options including transit and ride sharing services – it makes sense to utilize ALL options together.
- Passenger rail service is a reliable, safe and efficient alternative to the trans Canada Highway.
- According to the Provinces South Island Transportation Study, travel from Mill Bay to Victoria will take 87 – 144 minutes by 2038. Today it takes 43-70 minutes.
- The Island Corridor Foundation agrees with the baseline assumptions made in the recent Government Assessment released in March of 2020. The ICF does not agree with the 100% contingency added to this cost. The numbers are simply not a reasonable reflection of the true cost to restore our rail service. A link to this assessment can be found here Island Rail Corridor Assessment
- It just makes sense to remove cars and trucks from our Highways, it’s safer, it will improve our transit times and it will help us meet our environmental targets.
- Rail is making a resurgence in other parts of Canada and all over the world. Why not on Vancouver Island?
On behalf of the ICF, thank you for taking the time to share your voice.