Letters to the editor 

Page 3 of 8

Thanks for your letter stating the facts on the state of BC Rail. I have in my possession a railway schedule from 1972. In 30 years the railway did not make any alterations to the daily schedule to increase passenger numbers. What did the Sea to Sky corridor look like then? What would it look like now if there had been a convenient passenger service? Would we have the air pollution and traffic jams? Furthermore, would we have decided to spend millions on upgrading the highway, in order to worsen these effects? Our passenger railway would have seen increased use, had it been allowed to grow as our province has. But it was not.

The Budd Cars don't need to be replaced. Instead, they need $30 million in repairs and maintenance. They wouldn't be in this state if BC Rail had spent the money to maintain them. In reality, they were neglected for many years. This was done to sway public opinion.

It's known that passenger services account for only 2 to 3 per cent of the railways total revenue, and that passenger rail service lost $4.77 million last year and $21.66 million since 1997. This money that was lost didn't come from provincial tax revenue. It came from the profits of the freight services. This means that the people of this province had a public service funded by the profits of a crown corporation. That's why it was in legislation. Unfortunately the passenger train was a public service that was deliberately allowed to fall into disuse. As the public stopped using our rail system, due to an inconvenient schedule, fares were increased to discourage riders. This was done over a period of many years. By cutting a public service, the executives of BC Rail increased the profits of the railway.

The Skytrain cost hundreds of millions to build. The infrastructure I am referring to has already been paid for. Among many proven benefits, railways are one of the most environmentally friendly forms of transportation. I have read that in Sydney for the 2000 Olympics, millions were spent on a new railway. They attempted to hold the first Olympics without the use of the automobile. They may not have succeeded, but at least their thinking was socially and environmentally sound. Do you think a multi-lane highway with multi-lane traffic is a future benefit? Do you really know what the realities of the modern era are?

Bjorn Gimse

Whistler/Lillooet/Pemberton

 

Wow! Wasn’t it fabulous to see the interest that so many residents of Whistler demonstrated in the last month towards our municipal election? What a difference from three years ago! We had real solid candidates running for positions as trustees, councillors, and mayor. There were many controversial issues that surfaced and they were presented strongly to all the candidates. We have a healthy number of new faces on council, which will bring added energy and fresh ideas. A great election and a hearty thank you to everyone who ran. In case it hasn’t crossed your mind, by running for office, "win or lose," you have helped to make our town a better place.

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