(Black Press file photo)

(Black Press file photo)

LETTER: Island Corridor Foundation CEO confident in survey results

Stevenson: ‘89% of Islanders said they would support rail if it met their needs’

To the Editor,

A letter writer from Parksville, John O’Brien, suggests that we move on from the “impossible Vancouver Island rail dream.”

In his view the recent survey conducted by the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) was not well publicized, resulting in a low return rate and that those that responded had a vested interest in the corridor or were friends of the ICF.

The survey was widely publicized across multiple social media platforms, advertised in print and electronic newspapers, and it was even picked up as a news story in the same paper Mr. O’Brien chose to send his letter (originally the Parksville-Qualicum Beach News). The survey garnered close to 3,000 responses, well above the required 1,000 needed to provide a statistical margin of error of 3.0 per cent.

We are very confident that the survey reflects the views of Islanders and 89 per cent of Islanders said they would support rail if it met their needs. The fact that this does not agree with Mr. O’Brien’s personal view does not make it a “wishful belief statement” nor does it make it invalid.

READ MORE: Rail survey finds strong support for revitalized service on Vancouver Island

READ MORE: LETTER: Time to move on from impossible Vancouver Island rail dream

He notes that $15 million was committed to rail in 2012 however that funding was never received and has never been spent. The ICF is a fully self-funded, non-profit charity and receives no money from any level of government.

I am pleased Mr. O’Brien would welcome a modern and efficient rail system as that is exactly what we are working toward. No one at the ICF is “toying with a restart using an old, dilapidated Budd circa 1962 diesel polluting cars.”

Lastly, he would like us to “divest ourselves of this impossible dream and concentrate on essential road improvements.”

We have been concentrating on road improvement for years, and despite those efforts, the province estimates that by the year 2038 it will take two hours and 24 minutes to travel from Mill Bay to Victoria. The growth of motor vehicles on the Island is outpacing population growth.

Putting more vehicles into an already congested and constricted road system is not going to resolve our growing transportation issues it is going to exasperate them.

Larry Stevenson

Chief Executive Officer

Island Corridor Foundation

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