Friday, July 24, 2015

E&N Announcement - "For Sure This Time?"

Published in the Daily News July 24/15 
Will ICF Actually Do Something This Time?

Another day, another announcement from the provincial government, ICF and local officials assuring us, we are getting close now to seeing trains once again running on the E&N rail line which has been mothballed since 2011.

From the press release from the government ministry:

Planned passenger service for this corridor includes twice daily runs from Nanaimo to Victoria, service to Qualicum Beach on Wednesdays and weekends, and service to Courtenay on weekends and statutory holidays.

The provincial funds will be provided to the Island Corridor Foundation once it has confirmed that $7.5 million in federal funding is in place and, through a tendering process, that the upgrade work can be completed within the $20.4 million it has budgeted. The regional districts of Nanaimo, Comox Valley, Cowichan Valley, Alberni-Clayoquot, the Capital Regional District, Southern Railway of Vancouver Island and the Island Corridor Foundation have committed the remaining $5.9 million of this funding.

Whether this is the 'real deal' this time, one can only hope. This deal still has the caveat that the work must be completed for the budgeted $20.4 million.

The only question that keeps rolling around in my grey matter, is why the original proposal put forward years ago was calling for over $100 million to bring this rail line up to standard, and now it can be done for $20.4 million.

Published June 9/15 on Nanaimo Info Blog.
Another headline in the ongoing E&N - ICF Fairy Tale

The above appears on the front page of today's Daily News and reports yet another study being done on the cost to rehabilitate the E&N railway under the care of the Island Corridor Foundation. The Ministry of Transportation had a study done by RTC Rail Solutions which would indicate the cost to bring the rail line up to a safe standard for passenger and freight traffic would exceed the $15 million that is available.

Not surprisingly Island Corridor Foundation spokesman Graham Bruce claims the government report is based on improper information which his foundations claims to counter. Sound familiar?? What's next another few hundred thousand on yet more and more conflicting reports,  in the meantime ICF does who knows what with the funds they keep collecting, with nearly zero public accountability.

For those following this 'story' you may recall that back in 2010 (I believe) after extensive study the provincial government rejected the business case put forward for this rail line, which at that time was guesstimated to cost something in the order of $120 million to bring up to standard. Here we are years later, with the government basically saying the same thing, and ICF saying the same thing, and all that has happened is a lot of taxpayer cash has been set on fire.

The following appeared on this blog in April of this year, taking a look back over the ICF show which if nothing else has provided a few directors with an income.

 Passenger Rail Arpil 2 2014
Click Image To Read Article

 E and N Good News
Click Image To Read Article
Click Image To Read Article

Just About Time For Another ICF Announcement by Graham Bruce?

It should be just about time for the Island Corridor Foundation to roll out another dog & pony show assuring taxpayers that the millions (?) of dollars the Foundation has shepherded have been for more than administration wages and benefits.

Going from memory I thought that just recently there was a $400,000 transfer of funds from the RDN to the ICF. Does the ICF have to give any credible accounting for how these funds have been and are going to be used or are they just some secret society doing as they please behind closed doors?

It is time the ICF were required to make a full and complete public accounting for what they have done these past years.


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