The Island Corridor Foundation hopes a dispute with the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation over ownership of railway land can be resolved before it goes to court. (File photo)

Officials hope to resolve E&N rail dispute as court date looms

Snaw-Naw-As First Nation wants rail land back, court hearing set for May 13

A resolution to a dispute blocking rail service on Vancouver Island could be reached soon.

The Island Corridor Foundation is hoping the Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation’s lawsuit over the E&N rail line can be resolved before it goes before the courts on May 13.

ICF co-chairman Phil Kent said it’s in the best interests of both parties to settle the issue over ownership of the rail line that goes through the First Nation’s reserve north of Nanaimo before the case is heard in court.

“We’re in discussions with the First Nation right now and our legal teams are working on it, so there’s not much more I can say about that at this time,” said Kent, who is also the former mayor of Duncan.

“We’re anxious to resolve this issue because it’s preventing us from moving our plans for the rail line fully forward.”

RELATED STORY: NEW CEO BRINGS DRIVE TO ICF

The civil lawsuit by the First Nation against the ICF and the Attorney General of Canada asks for the return of Snaw-Naw-As land that the First Nation claims was wrongfully taken from it years ago to build the railway.

“One of the conditions that goes with any expropriation like that for railways is that once it’s no longer needed or used for railway purposes, it goes back to the original owner,” said Robert Janes, legal counsel for the First Nation, in 2016 when the lawsuit was first filed.

“We are just bringing a claim to ask the court to determine that fundamentally, given where things are with the E&N Railway, that the time has come to return the land to Snaw-Naw-As.”

Kent said the land dispute with the First Nation is just one of many obstacles the ICF has had to deal with in its efforts to revive the railway.

“The grass roots in many communities and organizations have worked hard to get us to the point where we are today,” he said.

“We’re hoping for a positive outcome with our discussions with the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation.”

RELATED STORY: GOVERNMENTAL DELAYS FRUSTRATE ICF HEAD

The ICF owns the deteriorating 220-kilometre E&N rail line that stretches from Victoria to Courtenay and is committed to resurrecting rail service on the Island.

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

The ICF presented a $42.7-million proposal to revive the railway to the new NDP government in 2017, with the hopes that senior levels of government would split the costs of major track upgrades between Nanaimo and Victoria, which is considered to be phase one of the overall project.

RELATED STORY: REVAMPED ISLAND CORRIDOR PROJECT CALLS FOR $42.7 MILLION IN IMPROVEMENTS

Neither the province nor Ottawa have yet committed to the plan, but the province has committed to an assessment of track and bridge conditions on the rail corridor that is expected to be completed by the end of October.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nanaimo’s ‘Kidney Condo’ accommodates out-of-town dialysis patients

Facility first of its kind on Vancouver Island, according to Kidney Foundation of Canada

Warrant issued for man who wielded machete across from Nanaimo’s tent city last year

William Robert Francis Carrigan failed to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo on Tuesday

Working smoke alarms found in fewer than one-third of residential fires in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Fire Rescue urges residents to install smoke alarms in homes

Nanaimo Ladysmith education support workers’ deal ratified

CUPE Local 606, Nanaimo school district and bargaining agent ratify deal, which runs till June 2022

VIU professor writes over Shakespeare in new book of poetry

In ‘Sonnet’s Shakespeare,’ Sonnet L’Abbé superimposes her own poems over the sonnets of the Bard

Trudeau vows to stand firm against ‘increasingly assertive’ China

China has accused Canada of meddling in its affairs

Kelly Ellard gets day parole extended for six more months

Ellard was convicted of killing 14-year-old Reena Virk in 1997

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

B.C. hockey player excited to join Humboldt Broncos

Defenceman Sebastien Archambault played last two seasons with Junior B Sicamous Eagles.

B.C. father tells judge he did not kill his young daughters

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Police watchdog investigating two officers after Langley teen’s suspected overdose

According to IIO, two officers were deployed to help Carson Crimeni but did not locate him before he died

Huawei executive’s defence team alleges Canadians were ‘agents’ of the FBI

eng’s arrest at Vancouver’s airport has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Canada and China

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

On vaccines, abortion, Goop, doctor Jen Gunter says: ‘I have a duty to speak up’

She speaks out on menstruation, the wellness industry and vaccines

Most Read