To the Editor,
Re: Island rail corridor must be preserved, Letters, May 14.
Les Andersen argues in favour of converting the E&N corridor into a multi-use trail extending from Victoria to Parksville, Alberni and Courtenay.
The Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition agrees that the historic E&N corridor should be utilized as a strategic cycling corridor, both for recreational and commuting cyclists, but not at the expense of abandoning the rail service.
To accept the closing of the rail service as a fait accompli is short-sighted.
If Island residents don’t want to face increasing gridlock, sprawl, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and a declining quality of life, government needs to invest in an expanded public transportation system.
The eight-kilometre trail along the E&N corridor has become Nanaimo’s most popular commuter route for cyclists.
This spring, the District of Lantzville will begin the construction of a section of trail between Aulds and Ware Road, one of six sections of trail it plans to build.
In fact, the Regional District of Nanaimo recently commissioned an engineering study that confirms the feasibility of extending the trail between Cassidy, Nanaimo, Nanoose and points north.
We do agree that the E&N corridor has tremendous potential as a world class recreational trail that would be a boon for the tourism and retail industries. However, a passenger rail service, especially one equipped to carry bikes, in combination with a multi-use trail, would draw even more tourists to the Island.
Prioritizing investment in high-quality cycling infrastructure such as the E&N trail is one of the most cost-effective ways for the provincial government to meet many of its goals including increased physical fitness for our youth, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and increased tourism.
Chairman, Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition