Passenger rail service off track

Ladysmith Chronicle reporter Nick Bekolay weighs in on the debate over the future of passenger rail service on Vancouver Island.

While cycling to Maple Bay with Dave Steen and Tom Sharpe (see ‘Triple gold’ in our sports section) last week, our conversation turned eventually to the return of passenger rail service to Vancouver Island communities.

Sharpe, an avid cycling tourist, mentioned that he would prefer to see the rail line transformed into a cycling corridor along the lines of Greater Victoria’s Galloping Goose and Lochside trails, an opinion shared by Ladysmith resident Michael Smith in an Aug. 27 letter to the editor.

In today’s issue, a letter from Chronicle reader Robert Johnson questions whether or not sufficient demand exists to justify spending millions of dollars in public funds to restore rail service to southern Vancouver Island.

I became a huge fan of passenger rail service while living in South Korea (ROK). Summer weekends routinely involved me cramming my climbing and camping gear into a backpack in anticipation of hopping on a Saturday morning train to Gurye, the closest stop to Yongseo Pokpo, my favourite Korean crag.

Trains were often full to capacity, meaning demand for rail service is alive and well in the densely populated ROK.

But the ROK is home to more than 50 million people living in an area three times the size of Vancouver Island. That translates to more than 500 people per square kilometre, 20 times the density created by Vancouver Island’s 750,000 residents.

Simply put, I doubt we have the people power needed to populate new passenger trains.

On top of that, cycling infrastructure is cheap: Portland spent as much on its entire system of lanes and trails as it routinely spends on an average mile of freeway.

I think it’s time we all weighed in via a referendum.

—Nick Bekolay

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Ladysmith marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Ontario licensed marijuana producer Aphria has reached an agreement to acquire Ladysmith-based… Continue reading

CVRD hikes fire protection requisition limit for rural Ladysmith by 25 per cent

Cowichan Valley Regional District is increasing the annual requisition limit for fire… Continue reading

Ladysmith runner reaches podium on new Pioneer 8K course

Meg Lewis-Schneider with CeeVacs Roadrunners Club sets event record

Buckerfields targets booming West Shore

New store set to open April 1 in Langford Parkway location

B.C. boy denied $19,000-per-month drug to ease ‘crippling pain’ for 3rd time

Sooke mom Jillian Lanthier says son Landen Alexa has been forgotten about by Premier John Horgan

Senior randomly stabbed in B.C. mall food court

Woman arrested after victim, 71, suffers serious injuries

UPDATE: City of Nanaimo senior manager dismissed

Chief operations officer Brad McRae no longer employed by the city

B.C. Liberal hopefuls begin final leadership push

Five MLAs, one outsider pitch policies to party members

UPDATED: ‘Young, innocent’ teen hit during Vancouver shootout dies

15-year-old Coquitlam boy was in a car driving by the scene

Ontario man charged with selling Canadian’s usernames and passwords

Ontario man ran site that peddled billions of pieces of personal data: RCMP

Video: B.C. documentary features Okanagan ice climbing

First documentary for Penticton filmmaker captures elusive Okanagan ice climbing

David Emerson quits lumber talks as legal action begins

Former federal minister served as B.C. softwood trade point man

Singer of the Cranberries dead at 46

Her publicist says Dolores O’Riordan died suddenly Monday in London. The cause of death wasn’t immediately available.

Most Read