(File art)

(File art)

COMMENTARY: Island rail situation has an all-too-familiar ring

Here we go again.

Here we go again.

Much like Wiarton Willie, Island Corridor Foundation seems to pop its head up every once in a while to remind us they’re still around.

The latest sighting involved the ICF lauching a survey on importance of Vancouver Island rail. The reason? To find out how important the rail corridor is to people on Vancouver Island and why.

“ICF remains 100 per cent committed to the restoration of full rail service on Vancouver Island. We continue to advocate for immediate action from our provincial government as it will not only provide a lasting and viable transportation option but will bring both immediate, and long term, economic benefits and stimulus to Vancouver Island,” the ICF said in a press release.

How many surveys are required? How are the ducks not in a row, if they were ever going to be in a row, by now? How many times must we say ‘wake us up if something actually happens’?

The ICF goes on to say that the BC Chamber of Commerce, the South Island Prosperity Project and Transportation Action Canada have all recommended the provincial government prioritize the preservation of the rail infrastructure in order to provide much needed commuter and intercity rail service.

READ MORE: Island Corridor Foundation launches survey on importance of Vancouver Island rail

How often have we heard messages like that?

Yes, everyone’s behind it, just nothing ever happens.

How many governments must we wait for to be the one?

They say the survey is designed to help guide the ICF “through the process of bringing rail back to life on Vancouver Island with our provincial, municipal and First Nations partners.”

Sounds an awful lot like just kicking the can further down the road.

In May, the PQB News featured a story about the Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation calling for the repurposing of the E&N Railway Corridor, saying there is no business case for the investment necessary to reopen the rail line.

“How about the East Coast Trail? A level, accessible, paved trail that connects communities and promotes recreation? Despite several funding proposals, the Island Corridor Foundation has been unable to secure the financial investment needed to rehabilitate the track,” read a May 5 release from the nation.

Seems like a reasonable idea to us. The repurposing seems like an actual opportunity.

Yet here we are, five months later, and the ICF is putting out more surveys. Again, years and years of nothing. All kinds of proclamations and bureaucratic ramblings and PR splashes and nothing. Plans to raise money and promises of conditional government funding and nothing. Town hall meetings and promises of better communication and here we are… waiting.

We’ll keep saying it. The time for a final decision on this matter was years ago.

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