Courtenay supporting railway service

The City of Courtenay is sending a message to the federal government about the importance of Vancouver Island rail service at what is being called a "critical juncture" in the drive to secure millions in funding for rail infrastructure.

The City of Courtenay is sending a message to the federal government about the importance of Vancouver Island rail service at what is being called a “critical juncture” in the drive to secure millions in funding for rail infrastructure.

Council voted Monday to write to Denis Lebel, the minister of transport, infrastructure and communities, expressing support for Island rail services and for securing $7.5 million in federal funding for rail infrastructure.

“This is getting to the point of being urgent,” said Mayor Greg Phelps, who was going to the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) retreat Thursday. “The patient is on life support and failing quickly. We need a council resolution or strong letter to send off to anybody who will read it and try to get some heat onto our federal ministers on this.

“I know Minister (John) Duncan is actually beside himself on this. He’s talked to everybody he can; he’s fully supportive, as is MP (James) Lunney from Nanaimo and MPs from down the Island, but it seems to have hit a roadblock in Ottawa.”

Council received a request from ICF executive director Graham Bruce to write to Lebel expressing Courtenay’s support for Island rail and stressing the urgency for the federal government to approve $7.5 million in infrastructure funding. The letter would also request that Lebel meet with the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) as soon as possible.

“We are at a critical juncture with respect to securing federal funding in the amount of $7.5 million, and we need your help,” wrote Bruce. “Minister John Duncan, North Island MP, has been in discussion with the Ministry of Transport and will be vigorously pursuing the funding during the next two weeks with his colleague, Denis Lebel …”

Bruce told council he felt a letter of support would be very useful in securing a meeting with Lebel, and he stated it is critical in supporting Duncan’s discussions.

• • •

During the same meeting, council approved a 10-year Draft License of Occupation Agreement with the ICF for the Rail with Trail project.

“This is fairly consistent with agreements that have been signed by many communities on Vancouver Island, and we are following suit,” said community services director Randy Wiwchar.

The city has been working with the ICF on a long-term process to develop a Rail with Trail along the east side of the E&N Rail Corridor — which is also known as the Vancouver Island Corridor.

The first phase of the project is from Fifth Street to Cumberland Road, while the second phase would be from Cumberland Road to 17th Street.

Council approved the overall concept in February.

The Licence of Occupation is for a 10-year term, which can be renewed for an additional 10-year term if agreed to by both parties, according to the report from Wiwchar and corporate administration manager John Ward.

Similar agreements have been approved by the Regional District of Nanaimo and Qualicum Beach and are close to being signed by Parksville and Nanaimo, they noted.

Funding for the project has been allocated in the 2011 budget, while the Courtenay Rotary Club has also committed $50,000 toward the project.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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

Just Posted

Courtenay Nissan’s Matthew Bourassa, Geoff Piper and Sean LaFleur join YANA’s Ashley Smith, Kelly Rusk and Lisa Wilcox for the 4x4x48 event to raise funds. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay Nissan eats and runs for YANA

Dealership realized non-profit groups need new ways to raise funds during COVID

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ in Metchosin

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read