Train tracks in Chemainus run right beside the Trans Canada Trail so there’s no need for another trail. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Train tracks in Chemainus run right beside the Trans Canada Trail so there’s no need for another trail. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Getting rail on track a necessity

Continual delays have already meant a considerable cost hike

If some sort of rail function doesn’t happen within the year on the island, it’s never going to happen.

Procrastination already means it will cost millions of more dollars for any type of project to resurrect rail service – whether it’s for tourists, commuters or freight transport.

The constant indecision is typical of this provincial government and its predecessor because this could have been done years ago to the huge benefit of communities around the island.

Premier John Horgan is now saying the price tag just to provide a service from the West Shore into Victoria is profound. Everything is getting more costly by the minute, especially in terms of a major undertaking like restoring a rail line that’s simply been left to rot without any foresight on the part of some seemingly progressive thinkers.

There’s just no excuse for the position we’re in with rail, considering the sad state of affairs on the Trans Canada Highway from Victoria to Nanaimo. If it’s not rail, the delays in addressing the heavy highway traffic mess on the south Island are also going to cost a fortune.

It doesn’t make sense because the government certainly hasn’t hesitated to throw money around over the years. So why the hesitation on rail? The only answer is the feds must also be on board to make it viable but that certainly shouldn’t be an insurmountable task.

Everywhere else in Canada and most of the world, rail is booming. And it’s a must to counter congested streets in major cities.

The benefits to a place like Chemainus of a commuter or tourism train running through town would be enormous. A tourist town needs tourists and this would be a primary way to get them here to give a much-needed boost to businesses still struggling from the COVID crisis.

The opposition to rail only seems to exist on the island. The main issue that keeps getting raised is the cost, but that hasn’t stopped other expensive ventures from going ahead.

Too many people also have the idea in their heads we’d be better served by another trail rather than a rail line. There are enough trails now so it’s a suggestion with little merit compared to the economic advantages of the alternative.

EditorialsOpinionrailwaysTransportation

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