Federal government says engagement on Island rail ongoing in response to petition

Federal government says engagement on Island rail ongoing in response to petition
Part of the E&N rail corridor on Vancouver Island.

The federal transportation minister has responded to a petition calling for rail service on Vancouver Island to be restored by saying engagement is ongoing.

The petition started by an Island man closed for signatures on Jan. 24, and now the government has filed its response.

READ PREVIOUS: Island man petitioning federal government to restore rail service

“As a registered Canadian Charity, the Island Corridor Foundation continues to engage with Canada in advancing its core mandate – preserving and using the rail corridor,” Pablo Rodriguez, the minister of transport, said in the response.

“The Province of British Columbia also provided $18 million in Spring 2022 to support community and Indigenous engagement on the future of the Corridor. This work is ongoing. Canada continues to engage with the province regularly and at different levels on transportation priorities.”

In March 2023, the provincial government allocated $18 million to engage with local First Nations and communities on the potential of restoring rail service on Vancouver Island, after it made the decision to return a 10.78-acre section of the E&N rail line that goes through the Snaw-naw-as First Nation to the nation.

READ PREVIOUS: Snaw-naw-as celebrates return of E&N land, but ‘many questions’ remain over corridor’s future

In Rodriguez’s response, he says the federal government remains committed to reconciliation with Indigenous people, and that it also understands the importance of sustainable transportation.

The original petition noted the population of Vancouver Island is expected to grow by 1 million people by 2030, and that the existing rail line goes through all major cities on Vancouver Island.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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