Why is Friends Of Rails to Trails-Vancouver Island (FORT-VI) taken at face value?
What motivates people to misrepresent what the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation (SNA) v. Attorney General of Canada and Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) court rulings mean?
The 2020 SNA v. AG of Canada and ICF decision indicated use it (for a railway purpose) or lose it: “ …If, for example, ICF had plans to tear up the tracks and use the Lands for a non-railway purpose or if ICF ceased its efforts to resume rail traffic, then the court could find the Lands were not being used for a railway purpose and declare the right of way extinguished.”
In September, 2021, the BC Court of Appeal set a deadline of March 14th, 2023, after which, the BC Supreme Court would hear arguments to extinguish the rail right of way, placing the responsibility with Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada has provided perhaps the best legal opinion available on the matter by refusing to hear the case.
FORT-VI has often been asked to work with the ICF to explore trails alongside rail, however, nothing short of tearing up the only available transportation corridor on the Island will satisfy them.
The ICF is equally owned and governed by First Nations and regional districts. The business case did not include provisions for reconciliation because restitution for the entire E&N land grant is up to Canada and each First Nation individually. Why does FORT-VI disrespect the Indigenous people who have been instrumental in preserving the corridor, and those who would benefit from affordable, green, community-supporting passenger and freight rail?
Whatever the cost to provide modern rail service, it is a bargain compared to adding lanes to the already congested Island Highway, especially through Goldstream Park. The repairs to 80m of retaining wall, and 50m of one lane, on Tunnel Hill, compromised by last year’s atmospheric river, are taking over 18 months to complete, and are projected to cost $24 million.
Vice President , Vancouver Island Transportation Corridor Coalition