Supporters still working on the railroad for Vancouver Island

A $15-million commitment from senior levels of government translates into 10 years of passenger rail service from Courtenay to Victoria.

A $15-million commitment from senior levels of government translates into 10 years worth of passenger rail service from Courtenay to Victoria, says Island Corridor Foundation chief operating officer Graham Bruce.

Appearing Tuesday before the Comox Valley Regional District board, Bruce said matching $7.5 million contributions from the province and federal government enables the ICF to move forward incrementally. The E&N Railway operator will be able to replace one in four rail ties on the decaying line from Victoria to Courtenay, which is sufficient to build out freight, excursion and tourist rail. A repaired line also enables the hauling of aggregate across the Malahat.

Bruce said there are other pieces to the project, such as a rail trail along the line conducive to hiking or biking from Courtenay to Victoria. A refurbished three-car train will be able to carry bicycles.

Another feature is a new schedule. The hub will be in Nanaimo with an early-morning southbound train to Victoria, later heading to Courtenay and returning to Nanaimo.

“We see a broader future, build it as we go,” Bruce said, noting a new station in Nanaimo has set the bar at a high standard. “The community support here in Courtenay has been tremendous.”

At the end of 10 years, Bruce said the board “as owners” might need to make another decision if further improvements are needed.

“It will take time for us to get there,” he said, noting passenger service is the first priority. “I believe we can find our way through these challenges.”

In response to a question from Courtenay director Manno Theos, Bruce said the biggest challenge is dealing with a multi-million-dollar replacement value of 48 structures outlined in a bridge and trestle report, and a train service agreement with VIA Rail.

Bruce and the board met in-camera following the public portion of Tuesday’s meeting.

The ICF — which owns the rail corridor between Courtenay and Victoria — is a partnership between First Nations, and regional and municipal governments.

Along with the $15 million, another $5 million needs to be raised possibly through the Island Coastal Economic Trust or Vancouver Island Foundation to help restore the E&N Railway service.

Passenger train service was suspended when the line was no longer deemed safe and funding was not available to repair decayed rail ties and loose bolts, among other problems. There had been a self-powered passenger car running daily along with a freight service. The latter has continued to operate.

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

Just Posted

A bench designed and created by Comox woodworker Brian Mayenburg. Photo submitted
Building for a cause to better the community

Comox woodworker raising funds for Comox Valley Food Bank

Greg Baute (inset), senior director of breeding and genetics at Aurora Cannabis, will be the guest speaker at the next Comox Valley Horticultural Society (CVHS) meeting. Photo supplied
Cannabis breeding discussed at next Comox Valley Horticultural Society meeting

Greg Baute, senior director of breeding and genetics at Aurora Cannabis, will… Continue reading

The next speaker in NIC’s online 2021 Artist Talk series is Scott Amos, one half of the group Monkey C Interactive, which has drawn attention for transforming old technologies into interactive works of art, such as Registroid (supplied photo)
Next North Island College Artist Talk speaker breathes new life into old technology

Interactive installation artist Scott Amos will be the next speaker at North… Continue reading

The platanthera dilatata is the fragrant white bog orchid whose perfume on a hot August day is one of the unforgettable delights of a summer hike in Strathcona Park. Photo supplied
Strathcona Wilderness Institute AGM upcoming

The Strathcona Wilderness Institute (SWI) will hold its 2021 annual general meeting… Continue reading

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
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

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

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Hannah Ankenmann, who works with k’awat’si Economic Development Corporation, winces as she received her first shot of the Pfizer vaccine administered by a Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Family Health nurse. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
Vancouver Island’s small remote towns to get community-wide vaccine clinics

Island Health to take a wholesale approach to immunization, rather than age-based appointments

Most Read