Restoring rail service on the Island was discussed at a meeting between provincial and municipal leaders on Dec. 10 (File photo)

Provincial, municipal leaders meet to discuss E&N Railway service

Premier Horgan asked staff to further investigate corridor options

Provincial, municipal and First Nations leaders and members of the Island Corridor Foundation met at the Victoria Conference Centre recently to discuss reinstating service on the E&N Rail Line. The meeting was called on Dec. 10 by Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Claire Trevena.

Both rail and bus line options were discussed, and by the end of it Premier John Horgan, who attended the event, assigned several staff members to further investigate what it would take to get the project going and which mode of transportation would be best.

ALSO READ: Railway groups disappointed with premier’s comments

“A commuter rail between Victoria and Langford is important,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “We are here to strongly support the province in moving forward with this project.”

On the City’s draft strategic plan, establishing transportation on the E&N rail line is listed as something that needs to happen “without delay.”

“That’s more of an aspirational statement,” Helps said. “But I think the province does see this as a priority.”

Helps said if this project would move forward, it would first and foremost need approval from the Esquimalt an Songhees First Nations, whose lands it intersects. Esquimalt representatives were at the meeting, but Songhees were not.

ALSO READ: Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

She also envisioned it going forward in several stages, with Victoria to Langford as a priority.

Helps said she gathered from the meeting that it was no longer an option of if the project will go forward, but how.

“Now the province needs to take leadership,” she said. “It’s down to is it buses or is it trains. The bottom line is we want that corridor to move people.”

Langford Mayor Stew Young, who was also at the meeting, was not so certain.

“The province has not been taking this as seriously as they should,” Young said. “I’m encouraged, but I’m not holding my breath.”

Young was frustrated that for the past seven years the non-profit Island Corridor Foundation has been running the lines when it was federal and provincial support that was needed.

ALSO READ: It’s quietly business as usual for the E&N

“It costs almost as much money to manage Island Corridor with no train running as it does to run it with a train,” he said. “This is a federal and provincial corridor, and I’ve seen nothing from the provincial government in recent years … If the province doesn’t take it over, it’ll never work.”

Young said the need for the transportation corridor to become operational is very necessary for Langford residents, who are more and more discouraged to travel to downtown Victoria due to high traffic and limited parking.

“It was important to have the province at the table,” he said. “But if we don’t see something moving within three months, it’s a waste of time.”

Helps said she hopes to see something in place by 2022.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nearly a dozen coonhound puppies and their mother to reunite at Saanich park

Dogs’ former foster family initiated one-year reunion plans

Trio brings roller skating fever to Greater Victoria

Roller Skate Victoria offers workshops, summer camps and more

Government Street to be transformed into ‘people-priority’ zone

Victoria city council voted to limit traffic in the area by 2022

Central Saanich Fire Dept. now sun powered – good for budget and environment

Over production of power fed back to grid, results in credits over the winter

Concrete beams for McKenzie interchange set for installation this weekend

No lane closures expected during weekend work, says ministry

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: IIO

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

Most Read