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

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

Just Posted

Thanksgiving Food Drive coming to your door in Cowichan

Next week will be your chance to help meet the food crisis

Cowichan Community Centre Elder College celebrates 20th anniversary

Volunteer instructors are the key to success.

Flashback: Teddy bears, dinosaurs, cougars, oh my!

Remember these stories from Cowichan Lake?

Drivesmart column: Clear your frosty windows BEFORE driving

85 per cent of the information we require to drive safely comes to us through our eyes.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Most Read