Efforts to revitalize the E&N Railway continue. (Citizen file)

ICF officials to meet transportation minister on railway project

Group wants clarity from new government on railway plans

Officials from the Island Corridor Foundation are scheduled to meet with the province’s new Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Clair Trevena on Nov. 9 to discuss the long-anticipated railway project.

There are growing concerns in the ICF, the non-profit organization that aims to restore rail service to the Island, that the new minister is planning to commission another study on the initiative and further delay the province’s financial commitment to invest in repairing the track on the railway corridor.

Phil Kent, the mayor of Duncan and vice-chairman of the ICF, said the intention of the meeting is to clarify the new government’s position on the planned upgrades and repairs to the rail line.

“We want to see what the government’s feelings are on the project,” he said.

“We’ll have more to say after the meeting.”

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.

The federal and provincial governments have committed $7.5 million each, on top of the funding from local governments, to fix the railway line.

But the ICF, which owns the increasingly dilapidated 220-kilometre rail line that stretches from Victoria to Courtenay, and Southern Railway, which runs the rail operations, have been facing delays from the senior levels of government as to when they plan to release the funding they’ve promised.

The ICF has been wading for years through the bureaucracy of numerous layers of governments and First Nations in its ongoing efforts to gather support and raise the money needed to restore train service on the Island but, despite commitments, hardly any senior government money has been forthcoming to date.

One reason for the delay is due to a civil lawsuit filed against the ICF and the Attorney General of Canada by the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation over the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway, which runs through its traditional territory.

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

There is also a fear among some government officials that the cost estimates of repairing the tracks and the line are wildly out of sync with reality, and government would be stuck with skyrocketing costs if they commit to the project.


robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

City councillor wants policy on recording meetings

City of Nanaimo Coun. Bill Yoachim addressed criticism on the subject

Further work postponed on middle Colliery Dam

New study suggests extreme flood flows might be less likely than previously estimated

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

City of Nanaimo’s garbage collection rates could change again

City staff advises council about a complication with Phase 2 implementation

Thief takes truckload of lumber

A suspect stole $2,000 worth of lumber last week on Dufferin Crescent

Car crash blocks off Meredith Road

Emergency crews responded after a car and a sport-utility vehicle collided just before 1 p.m. Monday

Did you get Hitched in Courtenay on Sunday?

The first annual wedding show saw big crowds and included two fashion shows

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Sentencing hearing begins for ex-BC Liberals employee in ‘quick wins’ scandal

Former communications director Brian Bonney pleaded guilty last October

Island passengers say Sunwing left them stranded in Abbotsford

Company says late arrival led to difficulties securing accommodation, transportation

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag for Canada at 2018 Olympics

The pair earned a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games

North Island wedding fair coming to Courtenay on Sunday

Head to the Florence Filberg Centre for the first annual Hitched Wedding and Events Affair brought to you by Black Press

Diplomacy on agenda at North Korea summit in Vancouver

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting Tuesday to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Most Read