The E&N dayliner crosses Admirals Road in Esquimalt. (Black Press file photo)

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Plans to reinstate rail service on the E&N Railway are chugging along.

The Island Corridor Foundation is hosting a series of seven town halls to give Island residents an update on the railway and to hear what they have to say about it.

The foundation’s chief executive, Larry Stevenson, said the foundation has also been meeting with the province and Premier John Horgan to get plans in motion for the reinstatement of rail service.

“We’re trying to get trains back and running on the Island,” Stevenson said. “What the town halls are for is we felt it was time to get in front of people and talk a bit about who we are, what we do … and the approach that we’re taking in trying to get rail restored.”

READ MORE: Railway groups disappointed with premier’s comments

Three town halls have already taken place in Duncan, Langford and Courtenay, and Stevenson said the turnout has been positive with many people asking what they can do to help.

Stevenson said right now, he is in the middle of talks with the province to see what they need in order to start planning, but generating discussion and engagement amongst communities will help.

“[The premier] is looking to us to come up with a reasonable package for him,” Stevenson said. “He’s been frustrated by a lack of movement but I think the time is right with all of the traffic issues we’re having. He’s ready to move forward and it’s really incumbent upon us to give him all the reasons to say yes.”

Restoring rail to the Island comes with a hefty price tag of about $150 million dollars, but Stevenson said it doesn’t all have to be spent at once.

READ MORE: Island Corridor Foundation to hold public meetings around Island

He said the foundation is looking to get started on an incremental basis. If they get the green light, Stevenson said it is “almost guaranteed” that rail service between Langford and Victoria will be implemented first.

“It’s a consistent sore point for people on the Island, it seems to have the most need,” Stevenson said.

But before anything can be set in motion, Stevenson said the province, municipalities, First Nations groups and foundation need to have a shared vision of what will happen.

Stevenson said the town halls will hopefully educate the public and help gain their support.

“We’re going to get this done,” Stevenson said. “I think this is probably the best opportunity we’ve had in the last five years.”

More town hall meetings are scheduled for Esquimalt, Nanaimo, Parksville and Port Alberni this month. Details can be found here.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com

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

Just Posted

Nanaimo Airport’s $14-million expanded terminal officially opens

Departure lounge, security and baggage areas improved

Pair of Western Forest Products mills remain idle after exhausting strike

WFP claims log supply, markets to blame for continued idling at Ladysmith and Cowichan Bay

Heritage shines along with the sun during Ladysmith Heritage Week

Waterfront event showcases some of the machinery that helped make Ladysmith what it is

Robinson celebration of life now at Mellor Hall

Cowichan Exhibition Grounds site picked due to the need for more space

Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun, starts show run at Ladysmith Little Theatre

Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun will run from March 5 to March 22

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Most Read