Restoring rail service is worth investment

Re: “Mayors unite on commuter rail,” editorial, Feb. 12.

We do not understand how the editorial reached the conclusion that the mayors “want the government to take control of the line from the non-profit Island Corridor Foundation and negotiate agreements with First Nations as a key step to clearing the route for use.”

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The mayors did not ask the government to take control of the line in their letter. The mayors are well aware the corridor is owned in fee simple by the Island Corridor Foundation and recognize the need to protect the rights of private landowners in British Columbia. Additionally, at the stakeholders’ meeting in December, the mayors were clear that the government has to work closely with the Island Corridor Foundation to restore rail service to the Island.

It should also be noted that the ICF is constituted with First Nation members and regional districts, and fully half of our board consists of First Nations directors. You can be sure we are working closely with our First Nations partners toward restoring rail service to the Island.

You also mentioned there is a “big price tag” for restoring rail service to the Island and ask if it is worth it. We understand a lot of money is required to restore service. However, the mayors were clear with the premier and the minister that this is an important infrastructure project that has economic, social and environmental benefits to the people of Vancouver Island. Given their letter, we suggest they believe it is worth it.

Phil Kent and Judith Sayers

Co-chairs

Island Corridor Foundation

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