Larry Stevenson, CEO of the Island Corridor Foundation, and Jim Bennett, one of the driving forces behind Railway Days, take a closer look on a model train exhibit in Parksville on Aug. 17. – Michael Briones photo

Island Corridor Foundation CEO says election won’t derail service plans

Stevenson believes passenger service will be restored

With a federal election looming in October, the head of the Island Corridor Foundation, Larry Stevenson, is not worried the drive to restore passenger train service on the Island would be derailed again.

“I really think that when you look at what we’re trying to accomplish and the reasons behind it, this is a public policy discussion,” said Stevenson. “It’s not going to go away no matter which government is sitting there. They’re going to have to deal with the issue. We’re now at the point where something is going to happen and I think it’s going to happen relatively soon.”

RELATED: Governmental delays frustrate Island Corridor Foundation head

The province is currently undertaking an in-depth assessment of the track and bridge to determine the cost to bring the Island line back to standard.

Stevenson, who attended the recent Railway Days at the Parksville Museum, said the assessment is expected to be completed at the end of October.

“After that, I think, you’re going to see a move to get it rebuilt,” said Stevenson, who added that there is strong support on the Island to bring back the rail line.

“The people on the Island had made their intentions clear. They have been very clear about wanting it restored and they want it restored now. I don’t see it stopping.”

Stevenson stressed this issue is not a discussion about tomorrow, or next week. Traffic on the Island, he pointed out, is not going to get any better as the Island’s population continues to grow.

“That’s really where we need to centre our discussion,” said Stevenson. “Because if we think we have problems today, just imagine what we’re going to have 30 years from today. And this corridor, it should service the backbone, as an efficient transportation system. So this is a 30-year discussion. I keep pushing this toward public policy discussion because investment needs to be made today to make sure that we have it 30 years from today.”

RELATED: Province commits to six-month investigation of E&N corridor

Passenger train service was stopped in 2011 due to safety concerns, and freight service has also been discontinued on many parts of the Island.

If the railway line gets restarted, it will be done in stages, said Stevenson. And the first in line would be the south end of the corridor.

“We have to do this in pieces,” said Stevenson. “You’ll never going to go out and build the entire railroad in a week. I think obviously it’s going to start in the south, in Langford and Victoria because that’s where the biggest need is today. But then it’s going to march north. One of the things the ICF has long maintained is that you don’t get to do one without the other. It’s important to tie the whole Island together.”

The ICF, Stevenson said, is willing to work with the government and come up with a plan on what they would do for the entire Island.

“It’s no sufficient to say we’ll deal with Langford today and talk about the rest in 10 years,” said Stevenson. “That’s not going to work.”

RELATED: Studies for E&N corridor still on track after BC Transit investments

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Section of Island Highway north of Nanaimo isn’t safe

I hope politicians will do something about this issue, says letter writer

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Latest scam going around claims credit card misuse

Scam involves someone calling to report fictitious purchases on a credit card, says letter writer

Proposed 76-unit residential development would neighbour north Nanaimo mall

Council approves first and second reading of re-zoning application for 4961 Songbird Pl.

Map on Elections Canada site sends voters to Cedar landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

Nanaimo software designer creates hunting-themed card game

Duck Buck Moose involves skill, cunning and luck of the draw

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates compare, contrast platforms on debate stage

Energy policy, veterans’ affairs and more debated Thursday at Beban Park

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

Vancouver Island doctor rushed to help Hurricane Dorian victims days after his retirement

Potts was asked by Samaritan’s Purse to help at a field hospital in Freeport

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates share priorities and reasons for running

Eight of nine candidates in the riding respond to Black Press questionnaire

South Nanaimo cabin containing mining artifacts burns down

Cabin was unoccupied at time of incident, say firefighters

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Most Read