Island Corridor Foundation president Larry Stevenson talks about rail plans to a room full of proponents, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018 in Port Alberni. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Island Corridor Foundation brings rail pitch to Port Alberni

CEO Larry Stevenson waits for pivotal meeting with BC gov’t

Port Alberni is a potential gold mine for rail service: that was the message new Island Corridor Foundation CEO Larry Stevenson brought to a full house at the Best Western Barclay Hotel last week.

Stevenson and Andrea Thomas were in Port Alberni for the seventh and final town hall meeting to discuss rail service on Vancouver Island. Other town halls have taken place in Esquimalt, Langford, Duncan, Nanaimo, Courtenay and Parksville.

Stevenson spoke for 10 or 15 minutes at the beginning of the meeting, then opened the floor for questions. He explained that the ICF owns the railroad on Vancouver Island, and is willing to assemble a plan for rail use along the whole corridor, but the Province of B.C. has to let them know what they want to see.

Stevenson, who has only been the CEO for three months, made one thing clear: if rail is to be developed on the former E&N line, it will be developed along the whole line—not concentrated in one place such as Langford, to the exclusion of all other communities.

Port Alberni resident Chris Alemany has advocated for rail on Vancouver Island since 2005. He was optimistic after listening to what Stevenson had to say. “It is the first time I have seen the new CEO and I am left impressed by his knowledge of the railway and of making the railway successful,” Alemany said.

“I was most impressed though at how open the discussion was and his very realistic approach to talking about what was possible,” Alemany added.

He agreed that talks with First Nations—especially in Nanoose—are vital to the progression of rail on Vancouver Island. “Nothing happens freight-wise to Alberni or north to Courtenay without Nanoose being involved.”

Stevenson said talks are ongoing, but because at least one issue is before the courts, he couldn’t elaborate.

Kevin Hunter, president of the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society (IHS), whose members operate the tourist train in Port Alberni, asked that the ICF keep them in mind when negotiating for work on the Port Alberni sub.

Stevenson acknowledged that Alberni has been left in the cold by the ICF in the past few years, but said he’s had some concerns the way the Port sub has been run , with various user groups not getting along. “I need to make sure everybody understands this is my sandbox,” he said.

“I’ve got people running to BC Safety Authority about a piece of track that we own. Nobody should go to BC Safety before they come to us.”

Stevenson said the ICF has a pivotal meeting with Premier John Horgan and other stakeholders planned for Dec. 10. He said anything could happen in that meeting, but after seven town halls meetings that have drawn several hundred people, he’s prepared to answer any questions Horgan may have.

“I’m not sure how the government is going to approach this,” Stevenson said. “We just want to build a railroad.”

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

BUDGET 2020: Alberni’s animal shelter to assume broader social role, says SPCA

Nanaimo manager lays out new educational role to Port Alberni city council

Motorhome catches fire in Port Alberni mobile home park

Space heater left inside thought to be cause of fire

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Squash Club in Port Alberni has until March 2020 to fix façade that has been under construction for years

Owner Randy Brown says ‘no problem’ to have building fixed by March deadline

Two pedestrians struck by vehicles in Port Alberni

Fire chief reminds motorists, pedestrians to be cautious

VIDEO: These are the top toys this Christmas, B.C. toy experts say

Consider the play value of a game, staff at Toy Traders say

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Most Read