The E&N dayliner crosses Admirals Road in Esquimalt. (Black Press file photo)

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Plans to reinstate rail service on the E&N Railway are chugging along.

The Island Corridor Foundation is hosting a series of seven town halls to give Island residents an update on the railway and to hear what they have to say about it.

The foundation’s chief executive, Larry Stevenson, said the foundation has also been meeting with the province and Premier John Horgan to get plans in motion for the reinstatement of rail service.

“We’re trying to get trains back and running on the Island,” Stevenson said. “What the town halls are for is we felt it was time to get in front of people and talk a bit about who we are, what we do … and the approach that we’re taking in trying to get rail restored.”

READ MORE: Railway groups disappointed with premier’s comments

Three town halls have already taken place in Duncan, Langford and Courtenay, and Stevenson said the turnout has been positive with many people asking what they can do to help.

Stevenson said right now, he is in the middle of talks with the province to see what they need in order to start planning, but generating discussion and engagement amongst communities will help.

“[The premier] is looking to us to come up with a reasonable package for him,” Stevenson said. “He’s been frustrated by a lack of movement but I think the time is right with all of the traffic issues we’re having. He’s ready to move forward and it’s really incumbent upon us to give him all the reasons to say yes.”

Restoring rail to the Island comes with a hefty price tag of about $150 million dollars, but Stevenson said it doesn’t all have to be spent at once.

READ MORE: Island Corridor Foundation to hold public meetings around Island

He said the foundation is looking to get started on an incremental basis. If they get the green light, Stevenson said it is “almost guaranteed” that rail service between Langford and Victoria will be implemented first.

“It’s a consistent sore point for people on the Island, it seems to have the most need,” Stevenson said.

But before anything can be set in motion, Stevenson said the province, municipalities, First Nations groups and foundation need to have a shared vision of what will happen.

Stevenson said the town halls will hopefully educate the public and help gain their support.

“We’re going to get this done,” Stevenson said. “I think this is probably the best opportunity we’ve had in the last five years.”

More town hall meetings are scheduled for Esquimalt, Nanaimo, Parksville and Port Alberni this month. Details can be found here.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Nanaimo sees Island’s first nurse practitioner primary care clinic

Nexus Primary Care Clinic opened in late June in south end

Nanaimo RCMP ask for help finding missing 19-year-old

Haley Murphy has not been seen since Tuesday, June 30, say police

Learning outside the classroom suits VIU’s carpentry program just fine

Vancouver Island University has partnered with KSG Consulting Ltd. to provide hands-on learning

Nanaimo chef the Sensitive Vegan takes tongue-in-cheek approach to serious cooking

Jesse Rubboli creates cassava-based recipes and shares them via YouTube and on social media

Resident helps man in distress in Departure Bay in the middle of the night

Seven-foot-tall resident able to wade out far enough to help ‘frantic’ man in the water

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read