Island Corridor Foundation negotiated deal to operate E&N rail line

Every Friday we feature Valley history taken from our back issues.

Five years ago this week in the Comox Valley Record:

Improved rail service from the new operator of the E&N rail line creates tremendous growth potential in the Comox Valley, said economic development officer John Watson.

“We have the potential to see a significant shift in … shipping to and from the Island,” said Watson of the Comox Valley Economic Development Society.

His comments followed an announcement that the Island Corridor Foundation had negotiated a deal with Southern Railway of B.C. to operate the line.

“What we offer to rail customers is neutral access to the rail lines of the Mainland,” Southern Railway Vancouver Island vice-president Ken Doiron said.

Ten years ago this week in the Comox Valley Record:

Comox councillors voted to shoot down a last-ditch effort by Kye Bay CleanUp to route a proposed sewer line across CFB Comox.

Committee of the Whole had agreed to reopen the issue after CleanUp co-ordinator Martin Crilly said a line across the base could shave at least $230,000 off the cost of the previous plan for sewer lines. That plan called for lines to be routed along Knight and Lazo roads to connect with a main line to the sewage treatment plant near Point Holmes.

Fifteen years ago this week in the Comox Valley Record:

Overwaitea Foods in Courtenay was expected to reopen after more than a month behind picket lines, says manager Chris Gale.

The local Safeway store was scheduled to open as well, according to head office and union members on the picket line at Canada Safeway in Courtenay.

The two stores had been closed since May 30 when talks broke down after six hours with a mediator.

Twenty years ago this week in the Comox Valley Record:

The Courtenay Youth Music Centre was to open its 25th season at Vanier with Clarence Fountain and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama.

The dynamic group of six black singers and backup musicians deliver performances rooted in blues, gospel-jazz and rhythm and blues. Their shows were described as “barn-burning, roof-raising, heaven-rocking music.”

Twenty five years ago this week in the Comox Valley Record:

In 1951 a young man set out on his bicycle from his home in Quebec City with the idea of travelling across Canada. Thirty-five years and 353,000 kilometres later he was making his way through the Comox Valley on his eighth journey around the world.

This was his third trip to the Island. He first came this way in 1952. He stopped over again in 1961 on his way to Japan.

Still no finish line awaited Conrad Dube.

Many heads turned his way as he sat in a Fifth Avenue bakery eating lunch.

Dube, then 57, seemed barely able to walk across the street let alone ride around the globe. Polio as a child meant he wasn’t able to walk until 12. He couldn’t talk until 16.

In 1949 and 1950, the French Canadian tried to find work in his hometown but no one would hire him because he was disabled. So he decided to conquer his disability — and to give those in the same predicament the courage to go on — by pedalling his three-speed bikes through 81 countries, supporting himself through donations. He was on his 12th bike in Courtenay, where he received a new tube and tire from the Pedal Pusher Bicycle Centre.


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