Island residents will benefit from the tracks again one day, speculate letter writers. (News Bulletin file photo)

Island residents will benefit from the tracks again one day, speculate letter writers. (News Bulletin file photo)

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Having both rail and trail would be best

Paving over tracks cements us to car-dependent future, says letter writer

To the editor,

Re: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks, Letters, June 16.

The ‘rail to trail’ fans are so keen to pave over paradise, this engineer letter-writer calculated that it would save money to leave the tracks in place and simply pave over top of them. Sure, but this would cement us into a far more expensive car-dependent way of moving around.

The public subsidies for car travel amount to at least 18 cents per passenger kilometre, more than double that of rail transport. Fact is that rail is far safer, more reliable and pleasant, greatly reduces pollution, improves local economies – and keeps B.C. greener.

By building trails beside the rail we can have the best of both, saving us money while moving into the 21st century with modern commuter rail. Let’s engineer this.

Ian Gartshore, Nanaimo

READ ALSO: Rail line owners present case to restore service from Victoria to Courtenay

To the editor,

Re: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks, Letters, June 16.

The writer suggests that all the talk of ripping up the tracks is off the mark. I was with him up to that point. After that, when he suggested we build something of far lower value over top of this amazing asset, one word kept coming to mind: Wow!

How could anyone live in any community on Vancouver Island and not recognize that there are large groups of people in these communities working hard to return rail for the benefit of all Islanders? Whether an individual uses it or not, we will all benefit measurably from its use, economically and environmentally. For generations to come.

The people working tirelessly for this include the actual owners of the rail corridor, with the formal support of every mayor and regional director where the rail corridor passes, along with hundreds of volunteers. And all plans allow for, or specifically include, a multi-use path. While logically secondary to the primary use of transporting people and goods – there will be a path.

To assume we can just take control of the corridor from the owners, ignore the true value of this asset to our future and all the ongoing work and present a decision about which way to degrade this asset into something for the exclusive use of a relative few? Wow.

Bill MacGougan, Nanaimo

READ ALSO: Nanaimo, Snuneymuxw, Snaw-Naw-As councillors join Island Corridor Foundation’s board

To the editor,

Re: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks, Letters, June 16.

I fully agree with the letter writer’s suggestion on what to do with the E&N railway path. His is a simpler and cheaper way of doing it. I wrote a letter to the editor 20 years ago suggesting that we build this corridor into a bike path so we can attract tourists. Baby boomers go all the way to Europe to use their excellent bike paths for a holiday. We have the path. Why not turn it into something lucrative?

Baby boomers will not tent it. They have money and they like luxuries. So it will develop a whole lot of B&Bs and gourmet restaurants along the way. And there would be lots of visits to various wineries along the way. Of course there will always be camping along the path as well. Why don’t we turn Vancouver Island into a biking destination for the whole world? We already have great hiking trails but biking will add to more tourism.

Gulzar Hallman, Nanaimo

READ ALSO: Snaw-Naw-As First Nation calls for repurposing of E&N rail line

To the editor,

Re: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks, Letters, June 16.

The discussion about converting the rail bed to a path is interesting, but if the railway’s use of this right of way is abandoned will the land not revert to the First Nations? Turning this land to another use isn’t our call, so maybe we should stop pretending it is.

S.I. Petersen, Nanaimo


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.

Letters policy: Letters should be no longer than 250 words and will be edited. Preference is given to letters expressing an opinion on issues of local relevance or responding to items published in the News Bulletin. Include your address (it won’t be published) and a first name or two initials, and a surname. Unsigned letters or letters specifically addressing someone else will not be published.

Mail: Letters, Nanaimo News Bulletin, 777 Poplar St., Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 2H7

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Letters to the editor