The relationship between the Regional District of Nanaimo and a foundation committed to reviving a historic Vancouver Island railway just became a little more strained.

CTV News has learned the Island Corridor Foundation has re-upped a contract with its executive director Graham Bruce for two-and-a-half years.

“Graham has been a real asset to the Island Corridor Foundation, he has done amazing things for us. He’s used his political connections,” said ICF Chair Judith Taylor.

But the contract renewal is exactly what the regional district didn’t want.

“The directors of the board recommendation to them to not reappoint [Bruce’s company] Granneke Management,” said RDN deputy chair Colin Haime.

The RDN pulled nearly $1-million in funding for the project in March over what it called a loss of trust in Bruce’s leadership.

The ICF has ignored that recommendation and is still seeking $20.9-million of joint funding to get the E&N rail line, which runs from Victoria to Courtenay, back up and running.

“The challenge with that now is we have to determine if the Regional District of Nanaimo continues to withhold their contribution, how we’re going to make up that shortfall,” said Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay.

CTV News reporter Jessica Lepp tried to speak with Bruce after the Tuesday announcement, but he refused to answer questions, saying “not until I’ve had a chance to speak to all of our members.”

The RDN hasn’t permanently closed the door to financially supporting the line, but says taxpayer money won’t flow until its confidence in Graham Bruce is restored.