New CEO brings drive to Island Corridor Foundation

Larry Stevenson will take over from Graham Bruce as of Aug. 1

One of the first priorities for Larry Stevenson when he takes over as the new CEO of the Island Corridor Foundation on Aug. 1 is to develop a comprehensive communication strategy.

Stevenson, who is from Vancouver Island and brings 25 years of railway experience to his new position, said a lot of good work has been done over the years at the ICF to build a structure to revive train service on the Island and “get things moving forward”.

“But it seems that it’s only the ICF’s board and it members who really know that,” said Stevenson, who also has extensive experience as an entrepreneur and management consultant.

“More people on the Island need to know what the ICF is and what it is supposed to do. We need to get people behind this if we want to succeed. The railway corridor is too valuable an asset to just turn away and give up on it. That’s not good for today, and it won’t be good 40 to 50 years from now.”

The Island Corridor Foundation owns the deteriorating 220-kilometre E&N rail line that stretches from Victoria to Courtenay and is committed to resurrecting rail service on the Island.

Passenger train service on the rail line was stopped in 2011 due to track safety concerns, and freight service has also been discontinued on most parts of the Island.

The ICF presented a $42.7-million proposal to revive the railway to the new NDP government last November, with the hopes that senior levels of government would split the costs of major track upgrades between Nanaimo and Victoria, which is considered to be phase one of the overall project.

Neither the province nor Ottawa have yet committed to the plan.

RELATED STORY: REVAMPED PROJECT CALLS FOR IMPROVEMENTS

Stevenson said another major priority for him when he takes on his new position on Aug. 1 is to see if there is a way to resolve the ongoing legal issue with the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation in Nanoose, which is a major stumbling block in reviving the railway.

The First Nation claims the railway land in its traditional territory was wrongfully taken from it years ago to build the railway and is seeking to have it returned.

“One of the reasons why I decided to do this job is because of the many challenges involved, including this dispute,” he said.

“There’s been a level of frustration in the history of getting the trains running again with issues like this, and they need to be resolved. There’s so much potential for tourism, freight and passenger service with a working rail line. It must be realized that once it’s gone, it’s gone and we won’t get it back.”

RELATED STORY: NEW GROUP FORMS TO ADVOCATE FOR RAIL REVIVAL

Phil Kent, chairman of the ICF and mayor of Duncan, said Stevenson will further advance the foundation’s focus on the realization of its goal of restoring vital rail transportation on the Island.

“We are very pleased Larry will be joining us,” Kent said.

“Larry is the perfect choice to provide us with the leadership and drive needed to continue building on our vision to bring rail back to the island.”

Kent said the ICF’s board also thanks Graham Bruce, the outgoing CEO, for his years of dedication and work and wish him and his family a well-deserved retirement.

“Graham will work with Larry over the coming months to ensure an orderly transition,” he said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Daylight Saving Time officially ends at 2 a.m. Sunday when it’s time to turn the clocks back one hour.
Time for a change

Put your clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night

Cowichan’s Nicole Pugh collects the ball deep in the Gorge end during her team’s season opener at the Sherman Road turf last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan United runs with the big guns

Women’s soccer team holds its own against defending Div. 1 champs

Tim Gosley will be passing on some of his puppetry wisdom with a talk and workshop in Duncan in November. (Submitted)
CVAC ready to play next month in Duncan

Puppetry, Lego, basketry and more

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Matt Arnett of the Cowichan 49ers gets his head on the ball during his team’s recent meeting with the Cowichan Steelheads. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen0
Cowichan 49ers make improvements against UVic

Steelheads still looking for first goal of season

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Most Read