The Duncan Train Station would see action again if efforts to revitalize the E&N Railway are successful. (Citizen file)

ICF officials to meet transportation minister on railway project

Group wants clarity from new government on railway plans

Officials from the Island Corridor Foundation are scheduled to meet with the province’s new Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Clair Trevena on Nov. 9 to discuss the long-anticipated railway project.

There are growing concerns in the ICF, the non-profit organization that aims to restore rail service to the Island, that the new minister is planning to commission another study on the initiative and further delay the province’s financial commitment to invest in repairing the track on the railway corridor.

Phil Kent, the mayor of Duncan and vice-chairman of the ICF, said the intention of the meeting is to clarify the new government’s position on the planned upgrades and repairs to the rail line.

“We want to see what the government’s feelings are on the project,” he said.

“We’ll have more to say after the meeting.”

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.

FOR RELATED STORY, CLICK HERE

The federal and provincial governments have committed $7.5 million each, on top of the funding from local governments, to fix the railway line.

But the ICF, which owns the increasingly dilapidated 220-kilometre rail line that stretches from Victoria to Courtenay, and Southern Railway, which runs the rail operations, have been facing delays from the senior levels of government as to when they plan to release the funding they’ve promised.

The ICF has been wading for years through the bureaucracy of numerous layers of governments and First Nations in its ongoing efforts to gather support and raise the money needed to restore train service on the Island but, despite commitments, hardly any senior government money has been forthcoming to date.

One reason for the delay is due to a civil lawsuit filed against the ICF and the Attorney General of Canada by the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation over the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway, which runs through its traditional territory.

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

There is also a fear among some government officials that the cost estimates of repairing the tracks and the line are wildly out of sync with reality, and government would be stuck with skyrocketing costs if they commit to the project.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Donation saves Ladysmith Logger Sports pole climbing competition

The death-defying and stomach-turning skills of the world’s best lumberjacks will go… Continue reading

Ladysmith athletes set to represent Central-Island at BC Summer Games

Town budgets up to $60K for facility improvements

Inside the music

Big Read: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Ladysmith councillor resigns due to personal reasons

Councillor Carol Henderson is resigning her seat at the Ladysmith city council… Continue reading

Possible man overboard delays Crofton-Vesuvius ferry

Air and water search and rescue teams called out to police incident

BC Games: Day 1 comes to an end

Medals have already been handed out following one day of competition in the 2018 BC Summer Games

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

ZONE 6: Rugby star Maggie Banks carries family legacy to BC Games

Shawnigan Lake student and Coquitlam native following her parents to the national program

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

UPDATED: Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Trump was taped talking of paying Playboy model: AP source

Source says former personal lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded discussion prior to 2016 election

Most Read