LETTER: The Vancouver Island Railway is not a constitutional obligation

Dear editor,

Recent letters supporting rail in the E&N corridor, when researched, may actually support the conversion of the line into a recreational trail for local use and tourism potential.

Trail proponents point out that rail is suitable for heavy freight and mass transit. Outside of the capital region for mass transit these conditions do not exist. Rail freight diminished and basically stopped by the end of the 20th century. The advent of a high-speed motorway from Victoria to Campbell River has superseded the rail as a land transport route. (https://bit.ly/2eI26Uw).

Is the E&N “in the Constitution?” Research took me about 30 seconds. Using Google, I queried ‘Constitution and E&N’. The first citation is: “British Columbia v. Canada: An Act respecting the Vancouver Island Railway” (report [1994] 2 SCR 41). The Supreme Court of Canada ruled the exact opposite. The ruling is in plain language. It states: “Canada does not owe a constitutional obligation to British Columbia in respect of the Victoria to Nanaimo Vancouver Island rail line.” (https://bit.ly/2EdCkAk).

The statutory evidence include: An 1886 Parliamentary Act reducing the curve radius in the Railway Act to allow the line to be constructed. In other words, it did not meet safety standards of 1886! A 1984 Commission report declared the passenger service was uneconomic. Dissenting opinion stressed that the corridor remain in the public domain for the general good.

Another letter used the Sydney to Brisbane rail corridor as a model. In Australia, this area is referred to as the GER. It is the industrial engine of Australia and home to 11 million people. Sounds more like southern Ontario.

In B.C., boosting tourism for communities are railtrails such as the KVR, the Sicamous to Armstrong railtrail, and the North Star trail (Kootenays). A Coastal Island Trail would become a global destination for recreational tourism.

Larry Cosman

Courtenay

Just Posted

Highland Secondary student wins Horatio Alger scholarship

Jenna Leggett grew up on Read Island where there was no electricity and no roads to her home

Next Science Pub explores sex, evolution and nature’s strangest dating scenes

The Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS) is presenting the next event in… Continue reading

Sprinkler system bursts at Florence Filberg Centre

Witnesses say water was pouring down from the building’s deck

Best of World Community Film Fest screens Tuesday

The votes are in from the recent World Community Film Festival and… Continue reading

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read