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Letter: Rail and trail not mutually exclusive

It is entirely possible to have a bike trail next to a reinvigorated railway

Rail and trail not mutually exclusive

I was appreciative of reader Jack Peake’s letter to the editor in the Aug. 25 edition of this newspaper. I have very much felt the same, that in this increasingly heated debate over the future of the E&N corridor, it is a false proposition to pit one vision against the other.

It is entirely possible to have a bike trail next to a reinvigorated railway up and down the south island (and hopefully beyond). Both forms of transportation are increasingly important in moving people around as the climate crisis deepens. While I fully support the ongoing transition of fossil fuel-based vehicles to electric ones, that transformation is not going to address congestion on the Malahat or elsewhere (and arguably things may get worse if more people take to driving vehicles because they are electrified).

With growth on southern Vancouver Island especially in its major urban centres of Victoria, Duncan and Nanaimo projected to grow significantly in the coming decades coupled with worsening climate change impacts, we need viable forms of transportation that are alternatives to cars — we need bikeways and trails, and we need railways. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Combined with an inclusive vision that has as its foundation reconciliation with the First Nations whose lands were illegally taken in the formation of the E&N corridor, we and future generations will be better off with such an integrated, wholistic approach.

Eduardo Sousa