Email letters@comoxvalleyrecord.com

LETTER: Rail service an election issue

I have sent a letter to all Vancouver Island candidates in the upcoming provincial election to enlist their support to help restore rail service to Vancouver Island once and for all. The topic has been discussed for years by all levels of government since passenger rail service was cancelled in 2011. Quite frankly this issue should have been resolved long ago.

In particular, this is an issue which is very close to me. I am a second generation “railroader” and have spent most of my life associated with the railway on Vancouver Island from starting life in an E&N Railway employee family to being an Island rail supporter, advocate, and every point in-between.

Having seen the deterioration of the Island railway first-hand over the last 30-plus years, it saddens me to know this could have been resolved years ago. The good news is there is still time, though it is slipping by fast and I urge everyone to make this an election issue.

Today we are experiencing an ever-increasing population on the Island with the growth rate of automobiles exceeding that of the population. The impact this is having on Vancouver Island is alarming and should be cause for concern for all members of our Island community:

The recent South Island Transportation Strategy states transit times from Mill Bay to Victoria will increase from 39 minutes to two hours and 24 minutes by 2038. Our greenhouse gas emissions are not being reduced and we will not meet our targets. There is still no viable option to safely increase traffic flow through the Malahat.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, the recent South Island Transportation Strategy included virtually no plan or solution as to how to deal with the above noted issues. The strategy will only “explore” rail at some undetermined future date even though rail addresses each of the above noted issues right now. Rail provides an alternative to the Malahat and its ever-increasing congestion problems while simultaneously lowering greenhouse gas emissions by taking cars, buses, and trucks off the highway.

A recent survey by the Island Corridor Foundation found that 80 per cent of Islanders support the restoration of rail on Vancouver Island. The restoration of rail service is also supported by the BC Chamber of Commerce, the South Island Prosperity Partnership, and the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities.

Today I own a rail services company that provides support for independent railway owners and provides logistics and railway engineering related services. I can tell you this is not a particularly complicated project and is much cheaper than comparable highway construction. Railway rebuilding is well understood within the industry and the work can be performed very quickly and efficiently.

Every detail of what is required to restore the Vancouver Island rail system to a modern-day standard has been established countless times in the numerous studies and assessments over the last 10 or more years. There is no need for anyone to say they don’t know what has to be done or we need to study it. Furthermore, the associated job benefits in terms of both reconstruction and the permanent jobs from the services the railway will provide are invaluable for Vancouver Island.

Jim Sturgill Jr.

View Royal

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Victoria-based orthopedic surgeon has been reprimanded after using sexualized language during a surgical consult with a pre-teen patient. (Pixabay)
Victoria doctor fined and reprimanded for calling pre-teen patient a ‘loose woman’

Dr. Bruce Taro Yoneda admitted to using sexualized language in surgical consult

Victoria police are asking for the public’s help locating Alexander Stokes, 19. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police searching for missing teen

Police looking to ensure safety of Alexander Stokes, 19

Anvy Technologies CEO Victor Nicolov displays his company’s innovative garbage disposal device, the Sepura. (Courtesy of Anvy Technologies)
Goodbye garburator, this Victoria company has a clean composting solution

Sepura has made Times Magazine’s ‘100 Best Inventions of 2020’ for its hassle-free functioning

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest man covered in blood on heels of significant Saanich crash into woods

Resident calls in home invasion in progress after crash

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Phillip Tallio was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in 1983 (file photo)
Miscarriage of justice before B.C. teen’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
VIDEO: How do the leading COVID vaccines differ? And what does that mean for Canada?

All three of the drug companies are incorporating novel techniques in developing their vaccines

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Most Read