Larry Stevenson, CEO of the Island Corridor Foundation, and Jim Bennett, one of the driving forces behind Railway Days, take a closer look on a model train exhibit in Parksville on Aug. 17. – Michael Briones photo

Island Corridor Foundation CEO says election won’t derail service plans

Stevenson believes passenger service will be restored

With a federal election looming in October, the head of the Island Corridor Foundation, Larry Stevenson, is not worried the drive to restore passenger train service on the Island would be derailed again.

“I really think that when you look at what we’re trying to accomplish and the reasons behind it, this is a public policy discussion,” said Stevenson. “It’s not going to go away no matter which government is sitting there. They’re going to have to deal with the issue. We’re now at the point where something is going to happen and I think it’s going to happen relatively soon.”

RELATED: Governmental delays frustrate Island Corridor Foundation head

The province is currently undertaking an in-depth assessment of the track and bridge to determine the cost to bring the Island line back to standard.

Stevenson, who attended the recent Railway Days at the Parksville Museum, said the assessment is expected to be completed at the end of October.

“After that, I think, you’re going to see a move to get it rebuilt,” said Stevenson, who added that there is strong support on the Island to bring back the rail line.

“The people on the Island had made their intentions clear. They have been very clear about wanting it restored and they want it restored now. I don’t see it stopping.”

Stevenson stressed this issue is not a discussion about tomorrow, or next week. Traffic on the Island, he pointed out, is not going to get any better as the Island’s population continues to grow.

“That’s really where we need to centre our discussion,” said Stevenson. “Because if we think we have problems today, just imagine what we’re going to have 30 years from today. And this corridor, it should service the backbone, as an efficient transportation system. So this is a 30-year discussion. I keep pushing this toward public policy discussion because investment needs to be made today to make sure that we have it 30 years from today.”

RELATED: Province commits to six-month investigation of E&N corridor

Passenger train service was stopped in 2011 due to safety concerns, and freight service has also been discontinued on many parts of the Island.

If the railway line gets restarted, it will be done in stages, said Stevenson. And the first in line would be the south end of the corridor.

“We have to do this in pieces,” said Stevenson. “You’ll never going to go out and build the entire railroad in a week. I think obviously it’s going to start in the south, in Langford and Victoria because that’s where the biggest need is today. But then it’s going to march north. One of the things the ICF has long maintained is that you don’t get to do one without the other. It’s important to tie the whole Island together.”

The ICF, Stevenson said, is willing to work with the government and come up with a plan on what they would do for the entire Island.

“It’s no sufficient to say we’ll deal with Langford today and talk about the rest in 10 years,” said Stevenson. “That’s not going to work.”

RELATED: Studies for E&N corridor still on track after BC Transit investments

Just Posted

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the North Island-Powell River riding

In an effort to inform the North Island-Powell River riding constituents, we… Continue reading

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the Courtenay-Alberni riding

In an effort to inform the Courtenay-Alberni riding constituents, we have supplied… Continue reading

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Rain doesn’t dampen Terry Fox Run participants spirits in Courtenay

Fundraiser usually gets between 125 and 200 taking part in the Comox Valley

Comox Valley chamber celebrating its centennial in style

Collaboration key to one hundred years of business advocacy

Vandals target North Island-Powell River NDP candidate’s office in Comox with swastikas, graffiti

Rachel Blaney’s Comox office has been vandalized with swastikas and tagging overnight Friday.

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Most Read