Province Unwilling to Fund Prince George-North Vancouver Rail Route

The provincial government is not considering financial support for the reinstatement of the Prince George and North Vancouver route because the demand for passenger rail service along the route is marginal but the cost would be substantial.
Responding to the District of Squamish’s motion to Lower Mainland Local Government Association, the province said that while passenger rail is an environmentally friendly way to connect communities, the provincial government supports the possibility of passenger rail in corridors where sufficient demand exists for the service to be sustainable. When passenger rail service between Prince George and North Vancouver ended in 2002, the service had been losing several million dollars every year, the province said as the rail cars also needed replacement or refurbishment at an estimated cost of tens of millions of dollars. Highway improvements have reduced travel time between Prince George and Vancouver to less than 9 hours; air travel takes approximately one hour; by comparison, 14 hours by rail was no longer seen as an attractive option, it added.
District of Squamish had sent a resolution to LMLGMA saying the provincial government should reconsider the route as rail travel is ecological and an environmentally friendly method of transportation with regards to climate pollution. Calling the discontinuation of the rail service between North Vancouver and Price George as seriously damaging community life, tourism and the economy, the district called upon the district to renew the service.
As part of its 2017 resolutions to LMLGA, the district is also asking the Provincial Government to move funding from the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Justice and fund comprehensive, 24/7 access to services and staffing needed (sexual assault nurse examiners) and to provide Sexual Assault Evidence Collection (SAEC) kits in communities such as Squamish that are lacking in forensic services.
District argues that survivors of sexual assault need medical forensic examinations readily on demand and they should not be expected to travel further than 50 kms.  The district is also asking the province to consider projects in their entirety when evaluating them through the environmental assessment office.
One of the 2017 resolutions put forward by Squamish, the district says a project subject to an EA process can be separated into different EA processes or excluded from the process altogether such as hydro, gas supply, navigation, etc. This means there is no “cumulative analysis” that creates a clear picture of the entire impact of a proposal. Another resolution is district asking that the province be compensated for the staff time spent including research, review, technical and working group participation, and to augment and support community engagement during the entire process.

Comments

  1. Reckoning Day says:

    Smart.