Could we not find better ways to spend money than on railway?

Dear editor,

I read an article about revitalizing the railway at a cost of at least $20 million to upgrade the track.

Dear editor,

After reading an article (Record, Aug. 15) about revitalizing the railway at a cost of at least $20 million to upgrade the track not including operating costs, I have to wonder if taxpayer money should be spent on something that has proven itself repeatedly not to be viable.

I’m certainly wary that in 10 years taxpayers may be asked to pay the same or more again to upgrade.

I understand the nostalgia of the train, but obviously it was not profitable. Passenger trains seem to be only profitable and viable in densely populated parts of the world, not sprawling, sparsely populated areas like Vancouver Island.

Tourist trains have struggled in larger centres, so I have my doubts as to the viability of one here.

What should be considered is a rail-to-trail project. Kettle Valley has done well with its rail trails. Some history could be preserved at much less cost.

Tourists will not come in droves to ride a train: They never did before or it would have stayed in business.

The ability to hike, bike, and ride on horseback the trails from here to Victoria or Port Alberni away from the roads would be attractive to tourists and locals alike I suspect. It would encourage eco tourism and fitness. It would be a greener option. It would benefit communities all along the route.

Our hike/bike season here on the Island is longer than that in many parts of Canada and we have the advantage of being on the coast. Just a thought from a different perspective.

Another thought: Mr. Jangula minimized the impact on taxpayers by saying it would amount to the cost of going out for coffee a few times a year. I understand the cost to the individual seems small.

The difference is that going out for coffee is a choice, a variable expense. Taxes are without choice, a fixed expense.

Please be respectful and mindful that every tiny little tax increase cuts into money taxpayers use to live and spend in local businesses and that it adds up quickly.

Angela Gilbert,

Courtenay

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