West part of the Island can benefit from E&N

Publicaton: Nanaimo Daily News
Byline: Eric Evans, Parksville

Re: ‘Feds free up money for E&N line’ (Daily News, April 11)

I’m sure glad things are moving ahead. I have made numerous submissions to the task force, Island Corridor Foundation, MLA, the premier and MP James Lunney to preserve this Island asset and was invited to Nanaimo for the premier’s arrival by train and her announcement of the province’s $7.5 milllion.

The thrust of my submissions, in addition to restoring service, is that this asset can be used to enhance tourism to Port Alberni and the west coast of the Island. The railway is a great tool to transport tourists from the Victoria Clipper by bus to the E&N terminal and to Port Alberni then by boat to either Bamfield for overnight or Ucluelet for overnight.

This idea started when I was in the Victoria Clipper ticket line in Seattle and a Victoria-bound tourist asked the ticket-seller what there was to do on the Island other than walk around the Empress and legislature.

The American ticket agent did her best but said other than enjoying the scenery there was not much to do. Anyway, you get the picture.

This service could be implemented fairly quickly, I understand.

The weekly return three to four car train to Port Alberni has never been suspended, hauling heavy cars of pulp mill chemical in and out. If needed, any upgrade of the Port Alberni track could proceed concurrently with the Victoria-Courtenay upgrade.

I have no personal or business financial interest in this as I am a retired Parksville resident. My only interest is for the betterment of the business base of the Island.

We need more than fishing and logging to keep the Island’s economy strong.

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