Transportation Minister's response to CRD mayors E&N railway request

Please see the following statement, attributable to Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure:

I understand people’s frustration when they get stuck in gridlock, whether for work, appointments or simply trying to get home.  

The E&N tracks are sitting unused. Passenger rail service on Vancouver Island was discontinued under the former government’s watch, and they failed to get service reinstated.

We are working to find the best use of the corridor, which is owned by the Island Corridor Foundation, so people have another way to get where they need to go.

This is no simple undertaking and it comes with many challenges. The tracks have been sitting unused for years, which means they will require significant upgrades. Any solution will require cooperation and respectful dialogue between communities along the route, First Nations, the ICF and the Province. 

The letter from the 13 mayors acknowledges the importance of ensuring that the process puts reconciliation top of mind. Partnership with First Nations is key to this work and must be in line with government’s commitment to UNDRIP. It’s crucial that the ICF, as the owner of the line, engages in consultation with Indigenous governments.

Before decisions are made around investing significant public dollars along the E&N corridor, an up-to-date and in-depth track and bridge assessment is necessary. This includes the cost of imperative safety work, including a seismic risk assessment and rock fall review to ensure any passenger rail service meets current day safety standards. This work is happening. The ministry anticipates the assessment to take six months.

We are also undertaking a South Island Transportation Strategy, which will lead to a comprehensive plan for the whole region.

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