Larry Stevenson, CEO of the Island Corridor Foundation, and Jim Bennett, one of the driving forces behind Railway Days, take a closer look on a model train exhibit in Parksville on Aug. 17. – Michael Briones photo

Island Corridor Foundation CEO says election won’t derail service plans

Stevenson believes passenger service will be restored

With a federal election looming in October, the head of the Island Corridor Foundation, Larry Stevenson, is not worried the drive to restore passenger train service on the Island would be derailed again.

“I really think that when you look at what we’re trying to accomplish and the reasons behind it, this is a public policy discussion,” said Stevenson. “It’s not going to go away no matter which government is sitting there. They’re going to have to deal with the issue. We’re now at the point where something is going to happen and I think it’s going to happen relatively soon.”

RELATED: Governmental delays frustrate Island Corridor Foundation head

The province is currently undertaking an in-depth assessment of the track and bridge to determine the cost to bring the Island line back to standard.

Stevenson, who attended the recent Railway Days at the Parksville Museum, said the assessment is expected to be completed at the end of October.

“After that, I think, you’re going to see a move to get it rebuilt,” said Stevenson, who added that there is strong support on the Island to bring back the rail line.

“The people on the Island had made their intentions clear. They have been very clear about wanting it restored and they want it restored now. I don’t see it stopping.”

Stevenson stressed this issue is not a discussion about tomorrow, or next week. Traffic on the Island, he pointed out, is not going to get any better as the Island’s population continues to grow.

“That’s really where we need to centre our discussion,” said Stevenson. “Because if we think we have problems today, just imagine what we’re going to have 30 years from today. And this corridor, it should service the backbone, as an efficient transportation system. So this is a 30-year discussion. I keep pushing this toward public policy discussion because investment needs to be made today to make sure that we have it 30 years from today.”

RELATED: Province commits to six-month investigation of E&N corridor

Passenger train service was stopped in 2011 due to safety concerns, and freight service has also been discontinued on many parts of the Island.

If the railway line gets restarted, it will be done in stages, said Stevenson. And the first in line would be the south end of the corridor.

“We have to do this in pieces,” said Stevenson. “You’ll never going to go out and build the entire railroad in a week. I think obviously it’s going to start in the south, in Langford and Victoria because that’s where the biggest need is today. But then it’s going to march north. One of the things the ICF has long maintained is that you don’t get to do one without the other. It’s important to tie the whole Island together.”

The ICF, Stevenson said, is willing to work with the government and come up with a plan on what they would do for the entire Island.

“It’s no sufficient to say we’ll deal with Langford today and talk about the rest in 10 years,” said Stevenson. “That’s not going to work.”

RELATED: Studies for E&N corridor still on track after BC Transit investments

Just Posted

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

Suspicious fire evacuates Chemainus high school

No one hurt, but classes will also be cancelled Friday due to ongoing investigation and damage

Search for missing Cortes Island man approaches two-week mark

RCMP remind Cortes Islanders to check properties and outbuilding for signs of unusual activity

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

No-cost birth control not included in 2020 B.C. budget

AccessBC team calls it a ‘missed opportunity,’ says the group won’t stop campaigning

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Malware infiltration slows production at Island pulp mills

Infestation affecting Crofton, Alberni, Powell River Paper Excellence operations

RCMP seek man who allegedly robbed Langford liquor store with a gun

Man described as six to six foot four tall, with slim build and light-coloured skin

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Saanich residents petition against letting six unrelated people live together

‘Support for the ‘leave it at four’ is growing,’ says the resident

Scholarship launched to honour three men who died in Sooke River

Sooke School District award will be given annually to a student graduating from EMCS

Island-filmed mini-series honoured with Canadian Screen Award nomination

Actor Shawn Doyle was nominated in the Best Lead Actor category for Unspeakable

Most Read