Parksville Coun. Marc Lefebvre has put the Regional District of Nanaimo board of directors on notice regarding the future of the Island Corridor Foundation.
At Tuesday night’s regular RDN board meeting, Lefebvre, the city’s representative to the board, put forward a notice of motion addressing what he called “the serious ongoing deterioration of the rail line.”
The last passenger service on the rail line was in 2011 after Via Rail and Southern Rail discontinued service due to the disrepair of the line. The ICF has been negotiating with VIA Rail to re-start the service, without success.
Lefebvre’s motion seemed directed at the ICF’s administration: “Due to the serious ongoing deterioration of the rail line, lack of realistic capital funding dollars, the inability to negotiate an agreement with VIA Rail, lack of information on how current taxpayers dollars and ICF revenues are being spent on unnecessary repairs to the rail infrastructure, the RDN board has lost confidence in the existing administration of the ICF. Therefore be it resolved that:
• in order to resolve this situation the RDN proposes a meeting of all First Nations and Regional Districts to convene and discuss the future of the ICF;
• and that such a meeting should coincide with the 2014 AVICC Conference to seek input and advice as to how to proceed towards a successful rehabilitation of the aforementioned rail corridor infrastructure;
• and that a task force of experienced individuals be convened to assist in reinvigorating the ICF.”
Lefebvre’s notice of motion is expected to appear on the agenda of the RDN’s committee of the whole meeting April 8.
The ICF is owned by five regional districts and five First Nations on the Island. The five regional districts, with matching funds from the provincial and federal governments, have set aside about $20 million to get the rail line up and running again from Victoria to Courtenay. Estimates on the cost of actually getting the rail line up and running from Victoria to Courtenay have been as high as $200 million.
Representatives of the regional districts — plus most of the Island’s towns, cities and villages — will be together for the annual convention of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention in Qualicum Beach and Parksville, April 11-13.
Repeated calls for comment by The NEWS to the offices of the ICF have not been returned.
— NEWS Staff