AVICC Resolution to get Federal Funding plus, 130th Anniversary Event!

This weekend there will be a flurry of activity on the Island Railway as the ICF has brought over a very special train for the weekend, check it out:

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This is ostensibly to start the celebrations around the 130th Anniversary of the E&N Railway this year.

There will be 4 runs of the train on Friday April 9th at Noon, 2PM, 4PM and 7PM.  The first run will be special for AVICC delegates and dignitaries.  The other three runs are open to the public with tickets being sold through various charities and community groups. They all sold out very quickly of course!

In my role as City Councillor for the City of Port Alberni, I have crafted a resolution to bring to the AVICC conference that I will be presenting and arguing for on Saturday morning.

It is below in full.  If you support this resolution, please let your local government official know so that they can support it during the AVICC conference.

It’s going to be a great weekend!

ISLAND CORRIDOR FOUNDATION FEDERAL FUNDING
WHEREAS the Esquimalt & Nanaimo (E&N) Railway corridor remains a critical transportation asset for the current and future needs of the people and economy of Vancouver Island;

AND WHEREAS the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) passed a resolution urging action in 2012 and further delay in repairs to the corridor jeopardizes its viability;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AVICC petition the Government of Canada to approve and release the $7.5 million for capital works on the Victoria to Courtenay rail line in order for work to begin as soon as possible and ensure the future of rail based freight and passenger transportation between Victoria, Courtenay and Port Alberni.

BACKGROUND —-

ISLAND CORRIDOR FOUNDATION FEDERAL FUNDING

The Esquimalt and Nanaimo (E&N) Railway corridor was built in the late 1800s and extends from Victoria to Courtenay and inland from Parksville to Port Alberni. The railway was acquired by the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) after Canadian Pacific and Rail America donated their portions of the line to the ICF in 2006.

Since its inception, the ICF has been pursuing the revival of rail service on Vancouver Island. Passenger service had been suspended because of safety concerns due to poor track conditions along the rail line however, rail freight continues to operate between Nanaimo and south Duncan.

In 2012 the federal and provincial governments jointly committed approximately $15 million to the restoration of the rail line with the intention of making the corridor safe again for passenger service. This included a $500,000 bridge engineering study supported by the provincial government.

With the total project estimated at approximately $20.4 million, ICF secured the remaining funding through agreements with Island regional districts, Via Rail, Southern Railway of Vancouver Island (SVI), and ICF’s own source funds.

In July of 2015 the province affirmed their commitment to provide $7.5 million to the ICF for the project. However, the transfer of funds is contingent on confirmation that the $7.5 million in federal funding is in place and, through a tendering process, that the upgrade work can be completed within the $20.4 million budget.

With the change in government following the October 2015 federal election, the Island Corridor Foundation is now seeking an affirmation of the previous federal commitment for $7.5 million in order to develop and issue a tender for the necessary upgrades required on the rail line.

This resolution seeks to ensure the future of rail based freight and passenger transportation between Victoria, Courtenay and Port Alberni by petitioning the federal government to release the committed funding for the project.

 

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