Re: recent letters to the editor of The NEWS about rail service on the Island.
Being familiar with the Island’s rail line, it’s encouraging to learn that others think about our passenger service, be it in a negative light or positive. I’m also familiar with the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) and its role.
As one who lives in View Royal and sees the need for “an alternative mode” of transportation over the Malahat; and is nearing the age where driving will be denied, various aspects of how my tax “transportation” dollar is expended have been researched; the goal being to provide for my ability to travel Vancouver Island by public transportation.
Rail transportation, freight and passenger, is a hands-down bargain. Bringing our rail line to regulation standards to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for mobility is by far the lowest-cost choice for the taxpayer. It also benefits every taxpayer — not just those who hold a driver’s licence. This rail right-of-way is a public property; it belongs to all Vancouver Islanders!
In early days, it was common for a young couple to buy a lot, build a garage and to live in that. As further funds were gathered, work on the main building — their home — would take place. It was “a process.”
That’s how ICF is working — carefully and wisely, one step at a time. What more could be asked for in the way that my regional district tax dollars — contributed to ICF — are spent. Under extremely difficult circumstances, they have worked to bring back our rail service and have brought us to the present arrangement. How many citizens would have the patience to put up with such difficulty and be so dedicated to serving “the public.”
The plan, I understand, is to begin with a service from Nanaimo to Victoria — to focus on getting that section of track into serviceable condition. Once done, service to Qualicum Beach will follow and later to Courtenay.