Preserve the Vancouver Island Rail Corridor

Preserve the Vancouver Island Rail Corridor

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Corrine Thompson started this petition

Preserve the Vancouver Island Rail Corridor

The Friends of Rails to Trails Vancouver Island (FORT-VI) believe that it is essential that the Island Rail Corridor, an irreplaceable 289 km real estate asset owned by First Nations and local Governments through a registered charity (Island Corridor Foundation), be preserved as a continuous corridor in perpetuity.

Furthermore, FORT-VI believes that if the more than $350 million in funding required to reinstate commuter and freight rail service, that was terminated in 2011 for safety reasons, is not forthcoming by the March 2023 deadline imposed by the BC Court of Appeal, then the corridor should be converted to an Active Transportation* Trail at a much lower cost until when and if rail service is economically feasible.


Your support for this petition will help accelerate Federal, Provincial and Regional government commitment and action to convert the Vancouver Island Rail Corridor to an Active Transportation Trail and preserve the corridor.
An Active Transportation Trail, together with rapid electric transit service, would provide safe, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable transportation and commuter service on Vancouver Island. In addition, an Active Transportation Trail would significantly contribute to Vancouver Island tourism, economic development and partnerships with many communities and First Nations.

Please sign and share this petition today.

For more information or to become of Member of FORT-VI please visit our website at https://fortvi.ca/

 

 

Background:
The Island Rail Corridor (formerly known as the E&N Rail Corridor) is approximately 289 km running between Victoria and Courtenay (225 km) with connection between Parksville and Port Alberni (64 km). There are 48 bridges and trestles on the Island Corridor, and it is intermittently flanked by rock cuts, canyons, and wetlands.

The corridor runs in close proximity to 13 First Nations and 37 communities (more than 80% of all Island residents) and is an irreplaceable asset. However, the condition of the railway has significantly deteriorated due to a lack of maintenance over many years and the passenger and freight services on the rail corridor were terminated in 2011 for safety reasons. The only operating section of the railway still in use is a 5 km spur in Nanaimo.

In 2020, the Snaw-naw-as First Nation (SFN) initiated a lawsuit seeking a declaration that the right of way was no longer being used for railway purposes and that the lands revert to the administration and control of Canada for the use and benefit of SFN as reserve land. While the case was dismissed by the BC Court of Appeal, in an August 2021 appeal, the court ruled that
the ICF has to acquire the necessary funding to restore the railway within 18 months or the court would allow the SFN to return to court for reconsideration of the judgement.  

With the February 2023 deadline rapidly approaching, time is of the essence to identify a feasible solution to retain and use the island corridor.
Conversion of the Island Rail Corridor to an Active Transportation Trail supports the National and Provincial Active Transportation Strategies; the B.C. government’s CleanBC Plan; the Province’s Economic Recovery Plan; along with many regional, municipal and First Nations’ planning documents, such as Official Community Plans, Sustainability Plans, and Transportation Plans.

The federal government has established an Active Transportation Fund to target active transportation. It is making $400 million in federal funding available over five years to support a modal shift away from cars and toward active transportation, in support of Canada’s National Active Transportation Strategy.

 

*Active transportation is human powered transportation such as walking, cycling and skiing, and includes mobility aids, electric bikes (e-bikes) and electric kick scooters (e-scooters)

For more information or to become of Member of FORT-VI please visit our website at https://fortvi.ca/

 

 

 

 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!