Island Corridor costs taxpayers nothing
In your June 18, 2020 edition you published two letters from members of the public in regards to the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF).
One of those letters asked that the CVRD weigh in on how many years the taxpayers have been financing the marketing campaign to change minds and throws in a number of $500,000 per year. While we respect the right of the writer to his opinion, regarding the value of rail transportation, we cannot allow his comments relative to the cost of the ICF to the taxpayer to go unchallenged. The ICF does not receive funding, from any level of government, to support its operations. The ICF is fully self funded by revenues internally. The answer to his question is it has not cost local taxpayers anything to support the ICF annually let alone $500,000.
The second letter states that a return of rail service to the Island is a pipe dream and suggests the corridor would be more valuable as a walking/hiking trail. We see the value of trails and have in fact supported the development of over 100 kilometers of trails on the Island Corridor and will continue to do so. What we will not support is a vision that restricts the use of the corridor to a single use that discounts a very large portion of the public who do not benefit from a trail only plan. Rails and trails can, and should, co-exist to the mutual benefit of all Islanders.
We are glad the writer sees the value of funding the work on the corridor. The reinstatement of rail service on the Island is a shovel ready infrastructure project that will bring immediate economic benefits to the Island through employment and materials sourced from the Island. Equally important, it will provide a much needed transportation alternative, and ongoing economic and social benefits, to the people of Vancouver Island for the next 50 years and beyond.
Chairman, Island Corridor Foundation