A network of freeways and rail lines needled through every stretch of Vancouver Island, a massive bridge near Campbell River connecting the Island to the mainland and trains rolling in and out of Victoria and Sooke around the clock.
It’s all part of the Vancouver Island Party’s grand vision of a more connected region, one it hopes, if elected as government, will create the Island as the 11th province.
Behind it is party leader Robin Richardson, who (among several other major proposed projects) is suggesting a light rail transit system that will connect Sooke to the rest of Greater Victoria.
“All our [rail] proposals start in Langford and connect to Sooke, uptown, downtown, cruise ship docks, then to the airport and Swartz Bay,” Richardson said.
He added Sooke would be the LRT terminus. The line would not extend to Port Renfrew.
Unlike most major LRT systems, which run overhead, the Sooke line would be a standard ground-based rail, which will include stations and parking lots.
“This would be very good to reduce the Colwood Crawl,” Richardson said, adding the LRT has a much smaller imprint on the environment.
“It’s also safer, you wouldn’t have the accidents that you have on the highway. It just makes sense to include Sooke in that proposal.”
The Vancouver Island Party expects the Greater Victoria’s LRT system to cost $900 million, though Richardson cautioned the only way it will happen is if his the party becomes the next provincial government.
He expects the system could be completed in 10 to 12 years.
“Our goal is to get some people elected next year as MLAs, so we could advocate for a stronger region within British Columbia,” he said.
As for the provincial election this year, Richardson hopes Island residents will come through for a government that holds its best interests at heart.
“We’re not just about construction projects,” he said. “We’re socially progressive and we’ve got policies on education and health that would be of interest to anybody.”