(This letter was sent to the Alberni Valley News on July 12, 2023 – it was published July 26, 2023)
The rumour going around is that the Ministry of Transport had the audacity, the unmitigated gall, after 20 years of foot dragging and passing the buck on funding, to phone up the Island Railway people while the Malahat was closed in November 2021 and again this year when fire closed Highway 4, to ask if the railway could be used to transport people and/or goods. I can only imagine the dead air on the other end of the line as the Island Corridor Foundation folks picked their jaws up off the floor.
You ask anyone if they would rather have spent $100 Million on the railway, or been stuck for weeks on the other end of broken highways with no options, I think we all know the answer. The changing weather is forcing us to consider all options, new and old, including building resilience into transport systems.
We need our elected representatives, particularly Minister Osborne, to demand a fully rebuilt, electrified, freight and passenger railway on Vancouver Island, right now.