Chilliwack Progress – Rail For The Valley puts squeeze on city

Rail For The Valley puts squeeze on city

By Robert Freeman – Chilliwack Progress

Published: July 07, 2010 8:00 AM

Updated: July 07, 2010 9:20 AM

Chilliwack is the only municipality in the Lower Mainland not on board a task force lobbying for a community rail system.

A?ai??i??Ai??For the last three years, Rail For The Valley has been pressing the issue of a passenger rail service that would run from Chilliwack to Surrey,A?ai??i??A? said RFTV spokesman Paul Gieselman.

A?ai??i??Ai??Much progress has been made … however, this has not been a unified movement,A?ai??i??A? he said.

The South of Fraser Community Rail Task Force includes representatives from Delta, Langley and Abbotsford – but not Chilliwack.

A?ai??i??Ai??Chilliwack has been invited, but has not decided to get on board,A?ai??i??A? Gieselman said.

An open house is being held in Chilliwack July 8 to inform the public about the work of the task force, and A?ai??i??Ai??put pressure on the cityA?ai??i??A? to join, he said.

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz has balked at committing the city to passenger rail until a transportation study by the provincial government is completed.

She is also concerned about the potential cost of restoring the old Inter-Urban rail line that once ran from Chilliwack to New Westminster.

Just upgrading the 17 or 18 rail crossings could cost $500,000 each, according to an estimate by city staff.

But Gieselman said the mayor is getting hung up on the costs instead of the potential benefits.

The Chilliwack open house starts at 5 p.m. at Evergreen Hall on Corbould Street.

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