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

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

Just Posted

Development will bring 77 new homes to Colwood

Developers preparing land for six-storey, four-storey and two three-storey buildings on Sooke Road

Oak Bay, Esquimalt firefighters headed up the big climb Sunday

Oak Bay firefighter joins former Esquimalt assistant chief for 48-storey stair climb

Kids learn the ropes of business with free UVic entreprenuership training

The second annual Kidovate program is now open for registration

Island teen climber seizes last opportunity to qualify in 2020 Olympic games

Brennan Doyle, 16, heads to L.A. for Pan American Climbing Championships

Folk-roots duo play Metchosin’s music coffee house

Event takes place at 4430 Happy Valley Rd. from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22

VIDEO: Alleged shoplifter caught on camera at Sidney boutique

Staff at Cameron Rose Gifts seek the public’s help locating woman

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

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

UPDATE: Lockdown lifted at Nanaimo high school following threats

Nearby elementary school was in hold-and-secure

Most Read