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Esquimalt looks for ways to expedite E&N rail process

Esquimalt council is asking staff to estimate how much it will cost the township to pursue commuter rail service, ahead of the 2013 budget.

Mayor Barb Desjardins brought forward the motion at a committee of the whole meeting Monday.

“We’re just doing our due diligence,” she said later.

“It’s not going to be easy, but we have recognized (that) preliminary results say it’s certainly a viable corridor and it is viable to put in rail commuter service.”

Council also received an implementation plan for E&N Rail commissioned earlier this year by the City of Langford.

It estimates the initial capital cost will be $5.4 million to set up commuter rail service between Langford and Vic West.

Desjardins said she is urging View Royal and Victoria to follow suit and direct their staff to look at the cost of funding rail service.

“Assuming the Island Corridor Foundation will restore the corridor, there’s no reason why we couldn’t move ahead with discussions on this,” she said.

Desjardins said municipalities have the option of setting up their own governance model to implement commuter rail service, should the process not move forward at the regional level.

 

Old Esquimalt gets heritage designation

The committee of the whole supported a motion to anoint Old Esquimalt Road with a spot on the township’s heritage registry.

“Everybody on council was very pleased it had gone to a public consultation process,” Desjardins said.

The heritage registry differs from the more formal heritage designation.

While designation creates a number of incentives and restrictions for homeowners, the registry is merely official recognition of historically significant properties.

Staff said the B.C. Assessment Authority concluded the move will not impact property values or development zoning in the future.

The matter will be considered by council in January.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

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