Premier Horgan dashes rail hopes

The dream of getting a commuter train running on the E&N rail line through Greater Victoria seems to be over.

Premier John Horgan told a Chamber of Commerce audience that he tasked Esquimalt-Metchosin MLA Mitzi Dean with talking to local municipal partners and first nations about getting people moving on the E&N Corridor, but not necessarily with trains.  "We shouldn't have a corridor like that designated for just growing scotch broom."

Horgan indicated their conclusion is to move ahead with something other than commuter trains on the tracks, which have been unused since 2011. "I see people around the room that I know, Barb Desjardins from Esquimalt and others, invested significantly in putting rail infrastructure at key points where a large number of people will move around. Despite those investments the business case doesn't seem to be there."

However, others like View Royal Mayor David Screech think it would be wrong to give up on train travel just yet. "I'm quite concerned to hear that rail has been discounted when, as far as I'm concerned, we haven't really as local governments had a thorough conversation with the province about it. And I think that needs to happen."

While not sharing specifics, Horgan did tell the crowd he's committed to making something happen on the corridor within the term of his government.

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