Nanoose First Nation disputes ICF’s rosy rail picture
Re: Response to Phil Kent’s June 18, 2020 letter regarding ICF
We write in respect of Phil Kent’s letter advancing the idea that the Island Corridor Foundation costs taxpayers nothing. What Mr. Kent’s letter ignores is that most of the ICF’s revenue comes from fees imposed on local governments for railway crossings and railway infrastructure that do nothing. Crossing, lights and safety devices are charged to the local governments up and down the Island to provide for the safety of trains that have not run in a decade and are unlikely to ever run again. This of course also ignores the costs imposed on First Nations communities who have seen their lands divided and devalued to keep alive the fantasy of the railway being revived.
The ICF has no engineering or construction plans, no materials or labourers, and, most importantly, no business case beyond seeking ongoing taxpayer subsidies to rebuild or revive the railway. If it were given $700 million tomorrow to do the work it would not know where to start and would be back next years for millions more to make the trains actually run. It would face opposition from First Nations up and down the line and attract the ire of local governments who see no need for this colonial relic. The only thing that is shovel ready is a hole in the ground into which the ICF proposes to shovel the taxpayers’ money — and our community’s future.
Nanoose First Nation