Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor tabled a petition in the House of Commons this week signed by over 7500 people to restore passenger and freight railway service on Vancouver Island.
The creator of the petition, Warren Skaalrud, says this is the perfect time to be talking about rail travel on Vancouver Island.
Skaalrude lives in Shawnigan Lake and runs the webpage Restore Island Rail where he advocates for a return of widespread railway use on the island.
“We’re seeing more movement on it right now than we ever have,” said Skaalrud. “There’s four working groups and a new Corridor Project Manager coming into play.”
To Skaalrude these are all signs that big things are happening on the island, which is why he authored the petition.
“I did notice that nobody actually did a petition to the House of Commons and now everyone in the House of Commons knows what’s going on here.” He hopes that this will help raise awareness for people who are not informed about the rail corridor.
Skaalrud believes that with a growing population on Vancouver Island, public funds for infrastructure are better spent on railways than highways.
“I thoroughly believe that’s a better use of public money than investing in more roads that just continuously get congested. It’s a zero-sum game.”
Skaalrud adds that the federal government has 45 days to respond to everyone who signed the petition.