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 The advent of a high-speed motorway from Victoria to Campbell River has superseded the rail as a land transport route.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

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

Just Posted

Comox Valley school district drama students present Xanadu

Venice Beach, California, 1980. An aspiring young artist paints a mural, and… Continue reading

Heart attacks strike husband, wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

Heating up the kitchen

G.P. Vanier hosting North Island Skills Canada Regional Event

Carlos del Junco and the Blues Mongrels return to Courtenay

Eight-time Maple Blues winner Carlos del Junco and his Blues Mongrels return… Continue reading

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Reports of accused human trafficker sighted north of the Comox Valley unsubstantiated

RCMP issue warning about the fears unproven social media reports can generate

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

Most Read