Island Corridor Foundation not surprised by lack of funding for rail line in provincial budget. (File photo)

ICF not surprised with no funding for rail line in budget

CEO Larry Stevenson said none was expected

Larry Stevenson said he isn’t surprised there’s no funding earmarked in the province’s budget for 2019 for restoring the Island’s railways.

Stevenson, CEO of the Island Corridor Foundation which owns the 220-kilometre E&N rail corridor, said nothing was expected for that purpose in the budget, which was announced on Feb. 19.

RELATED STORY: NEW CEO BRINGS DRIVE TO ISLAND CORRIDOR FOUNDATION

“The province has told us that the assessment of track and bridge conditions on the rail corridor would take until the end of October to complete, so we’re not really surprised by this,” he said.

“The funding for the study itself was already budgeted years ago, and that money still exists to be used for that purpose. We don’t know how to get through to the government about how important this (rail restoration) project is, but they are the ones writing the cheques.”

Stevenson raised concerns about the slow pace the province was taking into the timelines around the study of bridge conditions on the rail corridor last month.

RELATED STORY: GOVERNMENTAL DELAYS FRUSTRATE ICF HEAD

He said that, with a federal election scheduled for October, if there are no plans and financial requests ready to be handed in to Ottawa by mid-June of this year, plans for the railway would likely have to be put on hold until sometime after the election.

In response, a statement from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said that in order to explore the feasibility of investing in rail along the rail corridor, an up-to-date and in-depth track and bridge assessment is necessary, and it won’t be rushed.

After almost 15 years of planning and discussions about restoring rail traffic to the Island, hopes were high that it could soon happen after Premier John Horgan and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Clair Trevana held a meeting in December on the issue with almost every mayor, regional district chairman and First Nations from all along the E&N rail line, as well as representatives from the ICF.

Stevenson said the ICF will continue moving forward with plans to advocate for the restoration of the rail line as soon as possible.

He said those plans will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We’re still in the early phases of developing those plans,” he said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre’s 2018-2019 graduating class

The Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre is located on the Tsulquate reserve in the North Island.

Skin deep: A look inside the ink behind Beacon Tattoo

Patrick Berube, owner of Beacon Tattoo, spends most of his Tuesdays at… Continue reading

Second recreational cannabis shop opens its doors in Port Hardy

Pacificanna owner Darren Saunders was excited to finally see his family-run business open up shop.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: A lone crow landing beside an eagle

“I saw an eagle just sitting there, but I had a feeling it wouldn’t be there long as I got closer”

Port McNeill council’s June 17 meeting features ‘packed agenda’

A draft policy on wildfire response for the Port McNeill Volunteer Fire Department was presented.

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

Island Health issues safer drug-use tips ahead of music festival season

Health authority aims to reduce overdose risks at festivals

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read