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

Just Posted

Governor General’s Award-winning author launches her new book

Wendy Phillips’s ‘Baggage’ is told in experimental ‘free verse’ style

Pirates climb to first place in premier league

Mid Island baseball team wins four more to extend win streak to eight games

Nanaimo city councillors to hold e-town hall meeting on strategic priorities

Meeting will take place May 23 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Editorial: Homelessness task force has to be more than misdirection

Task force won’t be able to address all the challenging issues that come before Nanaimo council

Nanaimo Heritage Festival helps highlight the long weekend

Parade and family activities took place downtown today, May 19

Nanaimo youth theatre group presenting ‘Hairspray Jr.’

Headliners director and actors agree musical’s message continues to resonate

Nanaimo ferry stops to let bear swim past

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

Nanaimo author details hotel history along the E&N railway

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River

RDN looking into providing bus service 365 days a year

RDN transit committee to consider adding bus service on Christmas, New Year’s and Good Friday

Wheelchair basketball in Nanaimo accessible to all abilities

Harbour City Slam play day introduced newcomers to the sport

Speed limit lowered at Departure Bay Beach

Speed limit reduced to 40 km/h until the fall

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read