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Letters May 4: There's life left in the Island railway; the sound of happy vaccinated voices

Think of the railway beyond the capital Re: “Stop dreaming about returning trains to E&N corridor,” commentary, April 29. The original railway did not only run from downtown Victoria to the wilds of the Six Mile Pub and Royal Roads.
A COVID-19 vaccination clinic is being held at the Victoria Conference Centre. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Think of the railway beyond the capital

Re: “Stop dreaming about returning trains to E&N corridor,” commentary, April 29.

The original railway did not only run from downtown Victoria to the wilds of the Six Mile Pub and Royal Roads. The Island Corridor was conceived from its inception as a way to link the entire Island, indeed, even the nation.

I may just be a lowly citizen living somewhere north of the Malahat who also enjoys cycling, but when I look at the Island Corridor, I see far more than just a bike and walking path beside the tracks.

I see a way for thousands, even millions of future Islanders to go between Courtenay/K’omoks, Port Alberni/Nuu-cha-nulth, Parksville/Sna-naw-as, Nanaimo/Snuneymuxw, Duncan/Kw’amutsun, and Victoria/Coast Salish regions by train, by foot, by cycle, by whatever means the people choose.

Citizens, tourists, freight, all moving in a modern, zero-carbon and efficient way.

Let us not lose sight of what the Island Corridor was, is, and can be. Thank you to all the regional directors and councils in the capital region for continuing to see the full picture, even beyond their own borders.

Chris Alemany

Port Alberni

E&N line essential for long-term transportation

Re: “Stop dreaming about returning trains to E&N corridor,” April 29.

Denise Savoie did good work as a city councillor and MP. However, I respectfully disagree with her position on the E&N corridor and encourage other community members to embrace a more long-term approach with respect to this vital asset.

As the Capital Regional District’s former representative on the Island Corridor Foundation board, I am very familiar with the impacts of chronic under-investment by senior governments on the island’s rail infrastructure. The reality is apparent to anyone who has observed the underutilized state of the corridor over the past decade.

It is unfortunate that Savoie appears to have embraced a narrow, parochial perspective in relation to the E&N corridor, focused on the provision of a bike trail in the Oceanside and Comox Valley regions, while missing the larger issue of the significant role that modernized, electrified rail can play in moving people and goods long term on this island.

The experience in the capital region with the CRD’s E&N Rail Trail clearly shows that it is possible to leverage senior government funding and work with the ICF to build a high-quality cycling trail — while preserving the opportunity to reactivate and upgrade the adjacent rail infrastructure.

Ben Isitt

Victoria councillor and Capital Regional District director


E&N a gift from the past to help our future

Re: “Stop dreaming about returning trains to E&N corridor,” commentary, April 29.

Denise Savoie states that we should stop dreaming about returning trains to the E&N corridor while claiming that electric buses and bicycles will soon come to the rescue of our growing traffic needs.

Island transportation is a larger issue than either of these vehicles. The E&N is the key to bringing all parts of the Island together, so that people and products move up and down the Island without interruption or questionable arrival times.

Too often the Trans-Canada Highway has failed us, and will fail us in the future as well.

We will become less dependent on materials from the mainland and beyond. We can see this occurring with every passing day.

The highway will have to contend with more transportation of Island products, and no matter how much we improve it, it is still one corridor and it will be a growing problem.

Add to this the frequent poor weather and road conditions.

We have seen numbers tossed around about the cost and usage expectations of the E&N for commuters on a Langford-Victoria route. These have been varied and somewhat vague estimates in terms of the preparation and rolling stock type required.

It would be nice to see an item-by-item breakdown of the basic startup requirements to meet a gradual growth. The E&N can later be extended northward in sections when they become more necessary.

Dreamers need to be awakened to our future and the future of those that follow us. Opinions about the E&N line should not be a topic for just a few people.

It is a virtual gift from our past that can quite possibly give us a more promising future. Meanwhile, important pieces of the corridor must not be chipped away — such as the roundhouse.

Ed Monteith


Happy sounds heard at the vaccine clinic

Congratulations to the staff and volunteers at the Victoria Conference Centre for making the COVID-19 vaccination experience so painless and pleasant.

Lineups were minimal, the environment was positive, the process felt safe, and the exit toward the harbour was a joy. Parking was easy, whether underground on site or at the nearby civic lot accessed on Courtney Street.

I had expected to feel positive about getting my jab, but was surprised to feel excited. I told the attending nurse how I felt, acknowledging that she must hear people say that all day long. “Yes,” she said, “but you know … it never gets tired.”

The loveliest part of the whole experience also caught me by surprise.

There is a 15-minute post-jab wait to make sure that all is well. During that pause, I realized that I was hearing a sound that I hadn’t heard in over a year. It was the happy babble of people sharing a positive experience in a public space, the kind of sound that we used to hear at intermission at a concert or other public event.

It was such a joy.

My fondest wish is that we may all hear that beautiful sound again sooner than later. The more of us get vaccinated, the sooner that can happen.

May we all pause to treasure that happy sound as we gather to get our vaccines. May we all contribute to herd immunity so that we may soon hear that lovely sound in concert halls and arenas.

Patricia Manly


The real meaning of the vaccines

In the past few days, I have been listening to and reading about how people will be so grateful when they get their COVID-19 shots, so that they can finally go about leading “normal” lives again. Maybe there will be a summer! Christmas will be a family affair again!

I am dismayed by the fact that people do not seem to understand what the vaccine is supposed to do. It is not a cure. It is not a magic shield that will ward off this fearsome virus.

It (or should I say “they”) are designed with one end point: that the virus will not kill you. Basically that’s it.

You can still carry the virus. You can still infect someone else. You yourself can still be infected with it, and get very sick.

But, the odds are, you will not die. That is, unless it’s one of the new variants that isn’t responsive to the vaccines that were developed before they evolved. Then we are back to square one.

Do not be mollified by the fact that you will “only” get sick. Knowledge of the long-term effects of COVID-19 infection on survivors is still in its infancy, but there are thousands who are experiencing long-term disability and organ failure. And these are the survivors.

So, it is not time to throw your masks away, have big parties, meet new friends. This social distancing stuff is going to be with us for a long time. Maybe restrictions will ease this summer, but you’ll still have to wear a mask, and keep your distance.

Just sayin’.

M.D. Hansen


Oops! The rate is dropping, not going up

The writer of the letter in your Friday edition complaining that the interest rate on property tax deferrals has gone up has it exactly backward. The rate has dropped from 1.95 per cent to 0.45 per cent.

Ian Cameron

Brentwood Bay


• Email letters to:

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd.,

Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Submissions should be no more than 250 words; subject to editing for length and clarity.

Provide your contact information; it will not be published. Avoid sending your letter as an email attachment.

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