Cathedral Grove. provincial election results. Edwards says for the Snaw-Naw-As in particular, which has one of the smallest reserves in the country, losing access to even 10 acres has serious economic consequences. The ICF was launched as a charity in 2004 to take over ownership of the rail line, making the corridor a public asset. While the Snaw-Naw-As case has been dismissed, the ICF acknowledges the grievance. “Doubling the price, I mean, that’s going kind of crazy in my mind,” Stevenson says. Learn more about RTC’s impact. “You get into a whole bunch of stuff that people don’t really talk a lot about … things like social equity which, in my mind, is a big deal,” Stevenson says. The Island railway was originally incorporated on September 27, 1883 by the E&N Railway Company, led by Sir Robert Dunsmuir, a renowned British Columbia (BC) coal baron and politician. Current proposals would solve that problem by reversing the train direction, making it more appealing to mid-island residents. “This determination should not be mistaken for an invitation to delay progress but as a clarion call to move forward with restoration of rail service,” the statement said. “[Rail] was unprofitable probably for the last 50 years,” Craighead says. With the new Provincial Health Order imposed, it has become even […], The Island Corridor Foundation would like to Congratulate Tusqanum, Darrell Thorne, of Quw’utsun, Cowichan Tribes on his successful submission to the Island Corridor Foundation First Nations Art Contest. “It contemplated various different uses and relationships for that corridor,” Edwards said. Nanaimo. True to its name, The Great Trail embodies the vastness of our terrain and the diversity of our people. The maps also show roads that access the Trail (including gated roads) and campsites. And so we really can’t afford to waste it and let it just, you know, return to broom and brambles.”. At Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, we are building a nation connected by trails. “Public transit here is just perfectly awful,” Nelson says. As the superintendent of the Southern Railway of Vancouver Island (SVI), it’s Kutaj’s job to know the track intimately. She said bus travel times to Victoria, especially when the highway is congested, make the service incredibly frustrating and time consuming. And as we celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway on Vancouver Island , which first ran in 1886, maybe we need a new vision. Meanwhile, a competing organization called Friends of Rails to Trails Vancouver Island (FORT-VI) wants to see the rail tracks torn out and replaced with a cycling and multi-use pathway. During the 2017 provincial election, B.C. “The business case just doesn’t seem to be there,” he said at the time, according to CTV Vancouver Island, “and I’m not prepared to wait any longer.”. Supreme Court, though the nation that filed it plans to appeal, according to one of its councillors. “What if you can’t afford $4,000 for a car and auto insurance? The latest of those studies pegged the cost of reviving it at somewhere between $330 and $730 million – between two and three times higher than previous studies suggested. Corridor communities generally support the development of rail-with-trails, recognizing the tremendous value for recreation opportunities and promotion of active transportation. Over the past decade, the ICF has worked closely with corridor communities to create a larger system of rail-with-trails, linking communities and rural areas along the 290-kilometre corridor. The Snaw-Naw-As disagree, according to Edwards. And like that former railway, Craighead says mid-Island communities could see significant tourism traffic from a multiuse pathway. The Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail and the Columbia & Western Rail Trail is the longest rail trail network in British Columbia extending from Hope to Castlegar. Vegetation with deep hues under low-slung cloudy skies, just after a rain. Some, like the yellow cedar tie he probes with his favourite pocket knife, are solid. Rail ensures accessibility for everyone.”. The Snaw-Naw-As suit alleged “the [right-of-way] through their reserve lands impedes access, restricts development, causes social and economic losses and affects the cultural importance of the land,” according to court documents. There’s an ease to the boardwalk trail that makes for a relaxing walk. This would likely be the first step in a phased in approach to the restoration of rail service on the entire island and is the focus of the current study the Province has undertaken to determine the condition of the corridor. This story was edited by Lauren Kaljur and Lindsay Sample, with additional files from Lauren Kaljur. You can access many places along the trail and some of them have free parking. But the province’s awaited South Island Transportation Strategy released in September only says that commuter rail for the capital region should be explored long-term. There are several universities, training programs and colleges along or near the route, offering an enormous range of courses and study options, for young and old alike. It was the government’s regional transportation plan, however, that was meant to shed light on whether rail was considered an investment worth making. That report pegged the price tag at somewhere between $330 and $730 million, and laid out a phased approach to first renewing, and later expanding, passenger rail service. At the same time, detractors think there are better alternatives for the rail corridor. We reimagine public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors. VIDRA maintains land stewardship of three off-road recreation areas on the island: Whiskey Creek, Cook Creek, and Tansky. Slocan Valley Rail Trail t80; Select BC Featured Trails. “This case highlights the level of frustration among our First Nations partners, and the public at large, for the lack of progress on the return of rail service to the island,” the ICF wrote in a statement. “The province to date under multiple regimes really isn’t taking inter-community travel on the island very seriously,” says Brown. “I can’t see investing hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars because somebody thinks it’s okay to take five hours to ride a train [from Courtenay] when the drive to Victoria is two and a half hours.”. In late September, the ICF sent a letter to the premier questioning why the foundation was not consulted as a stakeholder and why rail has been left out of the strategy. Like Nelson, many people said that renewed passenger service would be a huge benefit to people who can’t afford to drive cars, while others worried that renewed service would continue to flounder with low ridership like the old service did. “That’s the truth because it can’t compete with roads in so many ways.”. Groups like the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) and the Regional District of Nanaimo believe that in the absence of rail, improved inter-regional bus service with support from BC Transit could fill in the gaps. Situated on private forest lands under licence to the RDN, the trail winds up from Highway 4A through deep woods, develops into a loop, and finishes at an old ski hill below Mt Cokely. It’s been almost a decade since paying passengers rode the 225 kilometres stretching from Victoria to Courtenay and 64 kilometers west between Parksville and Port Alberni. Slocan Valley Rail Trail t80; Select BC Featured Trails. A VITA volunteer – Alan Philip of Cowichan – has recently completed (July, 2019) the compilation of a series of 7 topographic mapsthat cover the entire Trail from Victoria to Cape Scott. Speaking at a Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce event in March 2018, Horgan seemed to all but kill the idea. Ian Morrison, president of the AVICC agrees that with post-COVID recovery plans underway, “investments in [transportation] will benefit all the folks on Vancouver Island,” he says. 3,068 trails on an interactive map of the trail network. “It’s incumbent upon the [ICF] board of directors to really speak to the fact that there are other uses contemplated for the corridor,” Edwards says. “The Island Corridor is completely invaluable,” says Guy Dauncey, an advocate of the Rails to Trails proposal. “So the rail has significant potential in every respect,” Krog says. “The legacy of the rail is colonialism and its impact on bringing people to [Vancouver] island,” says Brent Edwards, a councillor with the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation. The Vancouver Island Dirt Riders Association (VIDRA) supports the growth and sustainability of off-road dirtbiking for racers and recreational riders on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. In July, the B.C. The second step would include service from Nanaimo to Westhills. This trail is 55 km in length starting in Sidney, continuing through downtown Victoria, ending in Sooke. When the ICF was formed in 2003, the goal was to preserve the rail corridor from being broken up and sold off in pieces. People would use it.”. Vancouver Island. In 2016, the Cowichan Tribes and Halalt First Nation filed lawsuits seeking their own land back. 1,333 reviews. Everyone in town started believing that passenger rail was right around the corner, Nelson says. Others are barely visible, split open by the rocks and gravel bursting up through their rotted cores, or seeming to vanish beneath blankets of moss. Vancouver Island mountain bike trail map. The VI Trail is currently more t… Cathedral Grove | Photo Copyright: Lana Law. As ship traffic increased in the late 1800s, so did the number of shipwrecks off the treacherous west coast of Vancouver Island. kilometers from Esquimalt to If it didn’t exist, creating it from scratch would cost billions of dollars and take decades to achieve. Information gathered reinforces the vital importance of the rail … We want to make that happen. “If you require a doubling of the cost to cover contingency, I would suggest you have the wrong people managing the project.”. Patches of orange-brown. By the late 1880s, the Construction of the railway was The VITCC mandate is to promote modernizing the former E&N rail corridor as the backbone of the Island's future transportation system for commuters and freight alike, integrating with all other forms of transportation . Based on ridership fares for those two services, the report estimated that a renewed Vancouver Island passenger rail service would be broken into zones ranging from between $4 and $6 one way for a trip from Langford to Victoria, up to between $21 and $27 for the full trip from Courtenay to Victoria. Al Kutaj is a railroad man. The Discourse surveyed hundreds of Nanaimo residents. According to Larry Stevenson, CEO of the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF), getting passenger trains running again isn’t just about reducing carbon emissions from cars or about boosting tourism to the mid-Island, (though both are important benefits, he says). permission, on the condition that For as many vocal supporters as the passenger rail push has attracted, there are equally vocal opponents who say even optimistic ridership estimates of around 1,000 boardings per day simply doesn’t justify the costs. At the end of the day, it won’t be more studies or analysis that determine the future of the corridor — it will be up to political will. There is one thing that the ICF and the Friends of Rails to Trails agree on: leaving the corridor in limbo risks killing it outright. A signature recreation destination in Canada, the Vancouver Island Trail will span more than 770 km from Victoria to Cape Scott. The only rock tunnel on the E&N Railway cuts through a mountainside near the Malahat Summit. Premier John Horgan said his party would prioritize re-starting passenger service on the lower sections of the corridor near Victoria and expanding from there. Learn more here. provincial government work with the federal government to support the return of the rail line. Nelson doesn’t drive, and Dean has a disability that requires appointments in Duncan, the only place she could find a family doctor that could take him as a patient. As you will see in the map legends,the maps indicate completed trail sections in green, sections of the route using roads in yellow, proposed/projected sections of trail in olive green, and sections over water in blue. For Locals Locals would utilize the trails for local commuting or pleasure while avoiding the hazards, congestion and noise of the road. Goldstream Provincial Park. It was plagued with problems as numerous operators couldn’t make it economically viable. But the larger questions of who really owns the land and how it should be used are still disputed, he says. Exploring the Boardwalk Trails of Vancouver Island. Darrell’s Q’ullhanumutsun, Orca design was chosen in honor of the Salish Sea that encompasses […], Nanaimo, BC – The Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) released a recently completed report on the economic impact of construction activities related to restoring rail service on Vancouver Island. Because the Corridor serves 14 First Nations territories, it is an essential part of community and business development plans in Aboriginal communities on the Island. (CPR) wanted permission from the You’ve told us that Nanaimo needs better local news. The views from the forested mountain trail are spectacular, and there is a great lookout halfway up. line was extended into Victoria. government released its latest report assessing the state of the existing track and expected costs to rebuild it. West and the Island Highway; crosswalk lights now provide a safe crossing of this major thoroughfare to access the joint Galloping Goose and E&N trails via a short path (This method of crossing of Burnside Rd. Residents were essentially split: the responses ranged from “Bring back that passenger train!” to assertions that “rail is a fantasy, there is no economic model that would make passenger service work on Vancouver Island.”. The trail has been ranked among the top ten. The story of West Coast Trail begins as an ancient path used for trade and travel by the First Nations. What you need to know as the future of the Southern Railway of Vancouver Island hangs in balance. Once a comprehensive railroad system, the decommissioned tracks are now home to an extensive recreational trail providing almost 650 km (400 mi) of connected pathways throughout the region. Make our coverage in Nanaimo permanent. As the longest recreational trail in the world, The Great Trail offers a wide range of activities through a variety of landscapes – urban, rural and wilderness, along greenways, waterways and roadways. provincial government to build a Many of us reminisce about the E&N train that once travelled from Victoria to Courtenay and back. “I have been an enthusiastic supporter of revitalizing Vancouver Island rail for as long as I have memory,” Krog says, pointing to the promise not just of increased passenger service, but renewed freight possibilities and the potential of attracting more cruise ships to Nanaimo’s deep-water port. Laura Nelson moved to Nanaimo from Abbotsford in 2015 believing that passenger rail would be an option for her and her adult son, Dean. Premier Listings: Hiking & Backpacking on Vancouver Island & BC Islands Hiking on Vancouver Island Welcome to hiking heaven! Overall, Stevenson says he largely accepts the findings of the report and the cost estimates – with one major caveat: the contingency budgets of around 50 per cent for everything from First Nations consultation to actual construction are too high, he says. In #67 of 642 Outdoor Activities in Vancouver Island. Most cut through the rainforest, skim over muddy marshes, and end at stunning vistas. But again, nothing came of it. In June, a First Nation’s lawsuit seeking to declare the rail line dead was dismissed by the B.C. In recent years, a competing organization called the Friends of Rails to Trails Vancouver Island has begun advocating for the tracks to be ripped out altogether and replaced with a cycling and multiuse pathway, like the Galloping Goose trail in Victoria, or the Kettle Valley Rail Trail in the B.C. The railroad used old Budd cars. He believes based on what it cost to convert the Okanagan’s Kettle Valley Railway into trails, his organization’s Rails to Trails project could be completed for around $90 million. Interior. “It’s no coincidence that the railway for the most part weaves in and out of most First Nations between here and Courtney.”. Nelson remembers the 2015 federal election and all of the talk about bringing back island passenger rail, but it never happened. Vancouver Island is a unique place in the world, not simply because of the vast network of trails so easily accessible but because the variety of styles provides riding for nearly everyone. To convert the existing rails within the Vancouver Island Corridor north of Langford into a non-motorized* (e-bike friendly), multi-use community trail. which at that time was struggling financially. Photos and videos by Jesse Winter. The Island Corridor Foundation released the results of a recent survey they conducted to collect valuable input from the residents of Vancouver Island regarding rail service on Vancouver Island. Rail-with-trail projects make efficient use of rail rights-of-way, transforming often under-utilized spaces into active, non-motorized, multi-use transportation corridors. VIA Rail passenger train rolls through the town of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. They also seek to expand the cycling/pedestrian trails alongside the railway from the current more than 100 kilometres . The Under the most recent proposals, residents as far north as Nanaimo could conceivably commute to work in Victoria and back. The Foundation recognizes the importance of this corridor as a link that connects communities economically, socially and culturally. The Island Corridor Foundation is a non-profit society and federally registered charity established for the purposes of owning and managing the rail corridor on Vancouver Island. Whether rail or bus, he says he just wants to see a cohesive plan. BIKE: Galloping Goose Rail Trail (59 km) HIKE: Juan de Fuca Trail (42 km) HIKE: Della Falls (30 km) HIKE: North Coast Trail (79 km) HIKE: Vancouver Island Trail (700 km) HIKE: Wild Pacific Trail, Ucluelet; Lower Mainland. The Cable Bay Trail is a 2 km hiking trail located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. This short hike through a forest of … Overview. And with a provincial election now behind us, its future still remains uncertain. In 2016, her hopes rose again when the Island Corridor Foundation (which owns the rail line on behalf of the regional districts and First Nations along its length) held a special heritage train ride marking the rail line’s 130th anniversary. History of the West Coast Trail. Autumn vignettes along a cycling trail: Vancouver Island. The E&N Rail Trail was also designed to connect with existing popular trail systems such as the Galloping Goose Regional Trail or Lochside Regional Trails. Restoring freight and passenger rail service on southeastern Vancouver Island could cost about $729 million, according to a new report commissioned by the provincial government. And almost exactly a year after that, the government’s latest cost estimates were released, reviving the decade-long debate yet again. Less challenging than backpacking, day hikes provide lifetime memories of peaceful walks, It could help take cars off the highway and provide a route around the often-treacherous Malahat Summit, a steep, winding section of highway prone to congestion and deadly accidents. In July, the BC Chamber of Commerce recommended that the B.C. The Island Corridor Foundation is a non-profit society and federally registered charity established for the purposes of owning and managing the rail corridor on Vancouver Island. The wooden beams – called ties – are like the railroad’s rib cage, holding together the ribbons of steel first laid down by settlers through First Nations’ territory more than 130 years ago. But a year later, the winds had shifted. “Whether rails, trails, ferries, transit, these are services people need and use.”. Since the day passenger trains stopped running in 2011, there have been repeated promises to bring the service back, and millions of dollars in government-funded studies examining how to make it happen, if at all. To determine a potential fare structure, the latest government report compared the existing costs of two similar passenger rail services: Ontario’s GO Train, and the Lower Mainland’s West Coast Express. Private bus company options for non-drivers like her wishing to travel south bike be. 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