Officials from the Island Corridor Foundation are presenting an updated plan for railway revitalization on the Island. (File photo)

UPDATED with VIDEO: Revamped Island Corridor project calls for $42.7 million in improvements

Delegation meets with transportation minister

Officials from the Island Corridor Foundation hope the fledgling NDP government will support its newest proposal for rail service on the Island.

Phil Kent, the mayor of Duncan and vice-chairman of the ICF, said a meeting with the province’s new Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Clair Trevena on Nov. 9 left the delegation optimistic the government will at least give the proposal serious consideration.

The ICF, which owns the increasingly dilapidated 220-kilometre rail line that stretches from Victoria to Courtenay, is hoping senior levels of government will agree to split the costs of the new $42.7-million proposal which would pay for major track upgrades between Nanaimo and Victoria, which is considered to be phase one of the overall project.

FOR RELATED STORY, CLICK HERE

Passenger train service on the E&N Railway line was stopped in 2011 due to track safety concerns, and freight service has also been discontinued between Duncan and Parksville.

Both the province and Ottawa tentatively agreed several years ago to fund $7.5 million each towards the initiative, with local governments agreeing to come up with approximately $5 million, but Kent said the scope of the project has significantly changed since then.

He said the new proposed project focuses on service only between Nanaimo and Victoria and would provide inter-city Via passenger rail service, a tourist excursion train between the Nanaimo cruise ship terminal and Chemainus and an expansion of the currently operating freight service.

It would also provide the infrastructure support for a trial RDC commuter service between Victoria and Langford which the Capital Regional District would operate.

The plan calls for 120,000 railway ties to be replaced, 70,000 tonnes of ballast, bridge repairs and upgrades, safety sight and sound barriers through several First Nation communities, crossing safety improvements and a trail walkway across the Chemainus River Bridge.

“The minister was very supportive and said the government would assess the new proposal, and we’re pleased with that,” Kent said.

“It’s important that both levels of government make a commitment to this project and we need someone to take the lead. It’s easier to access federal funding programs if the province has committed to funding.”

Kent said planning for connecting rail service north of Nanaimo, which is phase 2 of the overall project, is on hold until a resolution is found with the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation in Nanoose.

The First Nation claims the railway land in its traditional territory was wrongfully taken from it years ago to build the railway and is seeking to have it returned.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Campbell Riverites get the chance to learn more about Clean Energy Vehicles

Representatives from CEVsforBC were at Saturday’s Giant Indoor Garage Sale at the… Continue reading

Campbell River’s Teal Harle finishes fifth in Olympic Men’s Slopestyle skiing

‘I’ve definitely surpassed every expectation I had for the Games’ – Harle

Pick-up truck runs into ATV pulling two logs on a trailer in Merville

A pickup truck ran into a trailer with two logs on it… Continue reading

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Trudeau announces two-way $1 billion investment deal with India

Some of India’s biggest companies say they will invest more than $1 billion in Canada in the coming years

’60s Scoop group educates survivors, pushes rejection of federal settlement

Federal government’s compensation proposal includes $50 million for an Indigenous Healing Foundation

As ‘Black Panther’ shows, inclusion pays at the box office

At the box office, inclusion is paying — and often, it’s paying off big time

Vancouver Island job market ever-evolving

Various sectors driving employment in region will be represented at Black Press career fair in Comox Feb. 8

Washington senator wants B.C. to follow suit and phase out net-pen fish farms

An American ban will be less effective in the shared ecosystem of the Salish Sea, senator says

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

Most Read