Island Rail full steam ahead with consultation
CEO says government is actively engaged with project, rail is not dead
The Island Corridor Foundation has had a great week. Not only did the Union of BC Municipalities vote unanimously to ask the higher governments to invest in the rail corridor, but the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has begun meeting with affected communities, and has contracted a freight assessment study of the corridor.
“A disinterested government isn't going to do this,” said Larry Stevenson, CEO of the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF).
Months ago when Premier John Horgan made an off-the-cuff remark about rail being unlikely, Stevenson wanted to tell everyone the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) was actively working on the file. But all he could say then was that Horgan’s comments were not the death knell they sounded like.
Now that all the First Nations, municipalities, and regional districts along the corridor have been formally invited to the table, Stevenson wants the public to know the Island rail project is very much alive.
“The [province] understands the urgency, and they're moving very quickly. There's a lot of work going on in the background here.”
The province, via MOTI, is running the meetings, and has initiated technical reviews of the corridor. The federal government, according to Stevenson, said it’ll let MOTI run the engagement rather than duplicating, and will take findings from the meetings into consideration for its decision making.
A statement from the ministry said the province "is committed to finding the best use for the Island Rail Corridor as well as to supporting First Nations interests in these discussions. While the Province closely monitors how the federal government responds to a BC Court of Appeal ruling related to sections of the corridor that lie within the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation Reserve, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is currently engaging with stakeholders, including the affected First Nations and municipalities, to determine interests and concerns related to the corridor.”