Island Corridor Foundation not surprised by lack of funding for rail line in provincial budget. (File photo)

ICF not surprised with no funding for rail line in budget

CEO Larry Stevenson said none was expected

Larry Stevenson said he isn’t surprised there’s no funding earmarked in the province’s budget for 2019 for restoring the Island’s railways.

Stevenson, CEO of the Island Corridor Foundation which owns the 220-kilometre E&N rail corridor, said nothing was expected for that purpose in the budget, which was announced on Feb. 19.

RELATED STORY: NEW CEO BRINGS DRIVE TO ISLAND CORRIDOR FOUNDATION

“The province has told us that the assessment of track and bridge conditions on the rail corridor would take until the end of October to complete, so we’re not really surprised by this,” he said.

“The funding for the study itself was already budgeted years ago, and that money still exists to be used for that purpose. We don’t know how to get through to the government about how important this (rail restoration) project is, but they are the ones writing the cheques.”

Stevenson raised concerns about the slow pace the province was taking into the timelines around the study of bridge conditions on the rail corridor last month.

RELATED STORY: GOVERNMENTAL DELAYS FRUSTRATE ICF HEAD

He said that, with a federal election scheduled for October, if there are no plans and financial requests ready to be handed in to Ottawa by mid-June of this year, plans for the railway would likely have to be put on hold until sometime after the election.

In response, a statement from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said that in order to explore the feasibility of investing in rail along the rail corridor, an up-to-date and in-depth track and bridge assessment is necessary, and it won’t be rushed.

After almost 15 years of planning and discussions about restoring rail traffic to the Island, hopes were high that it could soon happen after Premier John Horgan and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Clair Trevana held a meeting in December on the issue with almost every mayor, regional district chairman and First Nations from all along the E&N rail line, as well as representatives from the ICF.

Stevenson said the ICF will continue moving forward with plans to advocate for the restoration of the rail line as soon as possible.

He said those plans will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We’re still in the early phases of developing those plans,” he said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Woman injured during rollover on Hwy. 28

Incident took place Saturday evening near Strathcona Lodge

Demonstrators voice displeasure over mask-use in Campbell River

Sunday afternoon event has held by Hugs Over Masks Nation

Tidemark Theatre and Chamber of Commerce join forces to launch two new TV shows

Show will explore the arts, community, culture and local industry through conversation

Campbell River Storm set to face Comox Valley in season opener

Fan attendance remains a question mark, but broadcast gets boost

VIDEO: Save Wild Salmon demonstrators march in Campbell River

March to put pressure on federal government to fulfill Cohen report recommendations

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Most Read