Officials from the Island Corridor Foundation are presenting an updated plan for railway revitalization on the Island. (File photo)

UPDATED with VIDEO: Revamped Island Corridor project calls for $42.7 million in improvements

Delegation meets with transportation minister

Officials from the Island Corridor Foundation hope the fledgling NDP government will support its newest proposal for rail service on the Island.

Phil Kent, the mayor of Duncan and vice-chairman of the ICF, said a meeting with the province’s new Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Clair Trevena on Nov. 9 left the delegation optimistic the government will at least give the proposal serious consideration.

The ICF, which owns the increasingly dilapidated 220-kilometre rail line that stretches from Victoria to Courtenay, is hoping senior levels of government will agree to split the costs of the new $42.7-million proposal which would pay for major track upgrades between Nanaimo and Victoria, which is considered to be phase one of the overall project.

FOR RELATED STORY, CLICK HERE

Passenger train service on the E&N Railway line was stopped in 2011 due to track safety concerns, and freight service has also been discontinued between Duncan and Parksville.

Both the province and Ottawa tentatively agreed several years ago to fund $7.5 million each towards the initiative, with local governments agreeing to come up with approximately $5 million, but Kent said the scope of the project has significantly changed since then.

He said the new proposed project focuses on service only between Nanaimo and Victoria and would provide inter-city Via passenger rail service, a tourist excursion train between the Nanaimo cruise ship terminal and Chemainus and an expansion of the currently operating freight service.

It would also provide the infrastructure support for a trial RDC commuter service between Victoria and Langford which the Capital Regional District would operate.

The plan calls for 120,000 railway ties to be replaced, 70,000 tonnes of ballast, bridge repairs and upgrades, safety sight and sound barriers through several First Nation communities, crossing safety improvements and a trail walkway across the Chemainus River Bridge.

“The minister was very supportive and said the government would assess the new proposal, and we’re pleased with that,” Kent said.

“It’s important that both levels of government make a commitment to this project and we need someone to take the lead. It’s easier to access federal funding programs if the province has committed to funding.”

Kent said planning for connecting rail service north of Nanaimo, which is phase 2 of the overall project, is on hold until a resolution is found with the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation in Nanoose.

The First Nation claims the railway land in its traditional territory was wrongfully taken from it years ago to build the railway and is seeking to have it returned.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

RCMP investigating after tires slashed in Port Alberni neighbourhood

RCMP are looking for anyone with information or video surveillance

Port Alberni writer featured at Alberni Valley Words on Fire

Vicki Drybrough’s poetry and short stories have been published in anthologies and literary journals

Tour de Rock alumni ride through Port Alberni

Event was scaled down this year in response to COVID-19

Third brewery on the way for Port Alberni

Alberni Brewing Company hopes to open in early 2021

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

Most Read