More pipe dreams from Island Corridor Foundation
Well looks like the ICF are not going home anytime soon and we will continue to dither around trying to convince people that it is viable economic option to rebuild the railway.
Think about this, assuming we can even mount a slow moving passenger train, with the total island population of about 870,000 we could not support such an endeavour.
More and more we are becoming a beautiful destination for travellers and the money would be better invested in supporting the local businesses get back on their feet and encouraging people to come to the Island again. A walking/biking trail has already shown as a viable business, last year when Ken Armour did a walk in the island woods from Victoria to Lake Cowichan on the Trans Canada Trail spending several nights at local B&Bs and bringing dollars to our community.
Cowichan Valley, along with other towns like Courtney, Comox and Nanaimo, would all benefit from the trail visitors. An influx of visitors to Chemanius and into its downtown and time at Waterwheel Park. Duncan already has several good coffee shops and eateries that would welcome visitors and the Farm Market would be another easy place to bike or walk to. In fact more people walk the railroad in Duncan than they will ever have passengers envisioned by the ICF after millions of dollars spent on E&N pipe dream.
Think about Michelle Staples, mayor of Duncan, who rode from Duncan to Chemanius last year described it as a nice leisurely ride with beautiful scenery as justifying her support for a commuter rail line. Imagine a lovely walk or bike along any section of the trail with the many restaurants, wineries, museums gift shops, coffee shops and visitor centres etc. generating income for the various communities on the route and the island as a whole. As many of our traditional industries are under siege and closures around the corner, we need to act now to redevelop this trail into a viable part of our communities use recovery money to provide jobs and infrastructure for our communities along the way. Not some pipe dream for an active railway. It would give our communities a boost in morale and help give hope for the recovery of our tourist industry coming out of the COVID 19 crisis.