Editorial: Optimism for Island rail corridor as 2019 begins

There is no doubt the price tag for the project has risen significantly.

Will 2019 finally be the year we see some moves to get the Island Corridor railway back up and running?

The year is certainly starting out with some optimism on that front.

In December a meeting took place with all of the local government stakeholders along the rail line, with the province at the table. The Island Corridor Foundation and the local governments have long been ready to take action to upgrade the tracks enough to be able to get the trains running again.

But there has been a notable lack of interest from the federal and provincial governments, who, at one time, had looked as if they were going to come through with a portion of the funding. It became a game of who was going to actually step up with the dollars first, with each insisting they’d come on board after this was done, or that was done, or the other was ready to commit. It all resulted in stalling the entire project.

Since then, the rail line has continued to deteriorate. There is no doubt the price tag for the project has risen significantly. Indeed, in 2017 the ICF presented a $42.7-million plan to the provincial government that would see the Nanaimo to Victoria section of the line upgraded. We’d venture to say that the bill to upgrade the railroad enough to make it a going concern is likely a lot more than that.

But we believe the project is still well worth it. This is something on which it is necessary to take the long view. As the population of the Island continues to grow and age, we need more public transportation options, and having the rail right-of-way up the Island’s spine is a huge luxury we’d be foolish to squander. Other areas of the world are investing heavily in trains as they look to the future of getting people from here to there, and we are far behind in this regard.

It is heartening that the provincial government is cooperating with the ICF to take the first step: getting an assessment of the condition of the tracks and bridges on the line. Let’s get this train going.

Just Posted

Tribal Journeys welcomed by Stz’uminus at Shell Beach

Paddlers came from various nations, including the Heiltsuk, Namgis, Hesquiaht, and Alberta Cree

Brits on the Beach raises $2,251 for LRCA food bank

Brits on the Beach also brought in 75 pounds of non-perishable food items

Town adds public access lifering to improve water safety at Transfer Beach

The lifering is easy to use and includes instructions on the protective housing case for emergencies

Chemainus Harvest House still demands attention in summer

Food bank supplies dwindle with diminished donations

No shortage of water supply in Ladysmith despite stage three water restrictions

Water restrictions remain in place to service community in case of an emergency

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Most Read