For 122 years, the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway has connected downtown Victoria to up-Island communities. But that link may be severed on February 4, if Victoria’s mayor and council don’t include the railway on the new Johnson Street Bridge.
Victoria’s council has said it will only include rail if “alternate sources of funding [are] identified or secured” for the $12-million cost of adding it to the bridge. (Read the background here.) As yet, no other governments have offered any funding. The City has applied for $6.5 million of federal gas-tax money, but won’t hear the result of its application until May. Instead, Victoria’s council is making its decision this week.
The Island Corridor Foundation (the nonprofit that owns the tracks) is getting ready to operate commuter rail from up-Island and Westshore communities into Victoria, providing a green alternative to automobile congestion on the Trans-Canada Highway. But that service – and the future of rail on Vancouver Island – is threatened if the E&N doesn’t reach downtown Victoria.
The Email Action Campaign has completed.
More than 130 citizens used this page to submit their concerns, and support for rail, to municipal, regional, and provincial officials. On February 4, Victoria councillors – citing the huge number of emails they received – decided to postpone their decision about including rail until the Capital Regional District hears an application for $5.5 million on February 16. (News story here.)