New non-profit society formed to promote modernizing railway on Island

New non-profit society formed to promote modernizing railway on Island
File photo/CHEK
Part of the former E&N rail corridor on Vancouver Island.

A new non-profit society has been created on Vancouver Island, which aims to promote the benefits of modernizing the former E&N railway corridor.

The society is called the Vancouver Island Transporation Corridor Coalition. (VITCC).

The former E&N Line ran from Victoria to Courtenay and out to Port Alberni until 2011, when the track’s poor condition led to the closure of the line. A small portion of the line in Nanaimo is still in use.

The Island Corridor Foundation is the owner of the land the tracks lie on.

Recognizing that Vancouver Island’s future can greatly benefit from a modern, safe and integrated transportation system, several individuals and organizations have formed the Vancouver

“The VITCC views the return to rail as inevitable given the population growth on the Island and urges all stakeholders to take action now rather than delaying the project,” the society said in its announcement.

“Every region in the world has eventually had to rely on rail and the costs are significantly lower to use existing corridors as opposed to land appropriations and building railbeds from scratch. As billions of dollars have flowed into the Lower Mainland’s rapid transit system VITCC believes it is time for similar investment in rapid, clean and efficient rail transportation on Vancouver Island.”

The VITCC said its purpose is to link together all modes of transportation on the Island; road, sea, air and multi-purpose trails, through a rejuvenated railway. It plans to seek public and private funding, as well as showcase the advantages of a 21st century rail service. These include freight, regional passenger services, commuter and excursion trains for tourism and graded multi-purpose trails

The VITCC says it fully supports the vision of the Island Corridor Foundation Board and its CEO, Larry Stevenson, “noting the active cooperation required between their various stakeholders, including local First Nations.”

The VITCC says its members have started to place signs along island highways and thoroughfares to encourage political leaders and citizens alike to support the railway and introduce the fledgling coalition.

It is also planning a public event to introduce its vision to Vancouver Islanders and to urge the incoming provincial government to take action and modernize our transportation corridor.

More information can be found on the VITCC website.

Earlier this month, the Island Corridor Foundation released the results of a survey showing 80 per cent of respondents believe that the federal and provincial governments should fund a modern and revitalized rail system for Vancouver Island.


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