The Kettle Valley rail trail. (Photo submitted)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Combining passenger rail, bike path holds promise

Rail trail on its own wouldn’t be well-used by cyclists of average ability, says letter writer

To the editor,

I found a May 12 article on the E&N rail trail conversation particularly myopic. Why not compare the ‘pure’ trail proposed to the Kettle Valley Trail? After all, Kettle Valley Trail was a former railbed.

The problem with such a comparison, however, is that Kettle Valley ‘trail’ is an unmitigated disaster. Bike tour companies offer only a handful of tours annually, and most of these don’t get off the ground. Why? Because railbed trails tend to be long. Very long.

Less than one in 50 people on Vancouver Island could ride from Victoria to Courtenay or Courtenay to Victoria, let alone the return trip. Bike tourism on Vancouver Island tends to be bikes on racks on vehicles, until the vehicle arrives at a ‘fun’ location to ride – after which the bikes go back on the rack for the trip home.

What you also failed to compare was the $1-billion dollar price tag to restore the rails in this instance to the amount spent on highway barriers.

I respect the rights and perspective of the indigenous people(s) with positions on this rail line. They should have substantial say on how this plays out.

But the result of current propositions will be more cars, more cars, more cars. More roads, more barriers, more cars. Whereas an efficient rail line will reduce car traffic going forward, provide effective transportation for an aging demographic – and, if done properly, provide sound recreation access to the Island and for cyclists of all ages.

Here’s how: replace the rails, restore the rail system to modern rail transport equipment standards. Harden the path on the both sides of the new rails and put bike transport capacity on the new trains. Result: those who chose to could ride their bike(s) and return to the train at any station.

Less cars on the already crowded highway. Less carbon emissions. More people exercising for distances they consider appropriate. Good usage guaranteed for the rail-bed/trail well into the future. Think about it.

R. Thompson, Cowichan

READ ALSO: Vancouver Island First Nation calls for repurposing of E&N rail line

READ ALSO: Realistic figure to get Vancouver Island rail up and running $254 million, says CEO

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.

Letter to the Editor

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

Just Posted

United Way distributes $120,000 in federal funding to seniors in need during pandemic

Salvation Army, Eden Gardens, hospice society among groups granted money

Beefs & Bouquets, May 27

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail

100-pound gargoyle stolen from backyard in Nanaimo’s south end

RCMP asking for any information about the statue’s whereabouts

Helicopter company helps Nanaimo couple get married, socially distanced on a mountaintop

West Coast Helicopters lifts wedding onto Mount Cokely after COVID-19 cancelled previous plans

Nanaimo senior who was excessively speeding says her vehicle shouldn’t have been impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

West Coast Trail to remain closed for now

Federal government won’t open world-famous trek until its First Nations are ready for visitors

Most Read