If you have read any of my letters to the papers over the last few years you would know I see reactivating the railway as a key way to grow our economy, limit city expenses, and provide new opportunities for tourism and commuters in a financially responsible and climate sensitive way.
You can see my website dedicated to this cause at www.vifreightbyrail.ca
I have also been a supporter of the Island Corridor Foundation model of governance but unfortunately the length of time it has taken to get even the most minimal amount of funds from government to start repairing the railway has led to suspicion and mistrust of the railways operation. I still believe the vast majority of people on Vancouver Island, including in Port Alberni want the railway to succeed.
The board of the ICF is an appointed board composed half of Regional District appointees and half First Nation appointees. Our current representative is former Mayor McRae who has been a tireless supporter of the railway and was one of the founders of the ICF. With great respect to what he has accomplished, if I was elected as Councillor, I would like to take his place on the board and advocate for these changes to make the ICF more open and transparent.
a) all RD directors appointed to the Board should be currently elected officials or should have been elected at the time of their appointment and should not be allowed to renew their appointment if they lost their elected position.
b) All agenda minutes of all ICF board meetings should be made public immediately and as a normal course of business, no different from any Council or Regional District meeting.
c) The management and staff of the ICF should be open and transparent to the public and the ICF should hire its staff directly, not through a 3rd party.
d) The ICF should have a citizen advisory board made up of up to two citizens from each of the Regional Districts and First Nations
I would of course also be a strong voice for the federal, provincial, and local governments to continue investing in the line so that it can be used to its full potential now and in the future. As a cost per kilometre, the railway provides an incredibly good bang for the taxpayer buck, especially when we consider the millions upon millions that taxpayers pay for road maintenance caused by heavy truck traffic every year and the rising costs of fuel and carbon to consumers and business. There are also incredible tourism and lifestyle opportunities with the steam train here in Alberni and the trail along the corridor.
All aboard! 🙂