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Two points of view on the Sunshine Coast Connector.  First up, Sun columnist Stephen Hume:

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One group of Sunshine Coast residents wonders why not replace ferries with fixed links where that makes sense and make necessary remaining ferry links less expensive and more efficient? …

Gary Fribance of the Third Crossing Society says its economic study found that building two new spur roads from existing highways at a provincial cost of $667 million – around the price of a new football stadium roof or a convention centre – would yield actual savings of $1.3 billion over the first decade.

By comparison, the Coquihalla Highway cost $848 million to build and recovered $845 million from tolls. …

The links would boost a tourist economy that contributed about $60 billion to provincial GDP over the past decade and generates more than 127,000 jobs, many in small towns desperate for employment growth.

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It argues that increasing, improving and lowering the cost of access with these road links will generate significant economic diversification in regions hostage to the boom and bust cycles of resource-based industry.

“The roads will connect ski meccas from Vancouver Island to Whistler and many Interior resorts,” the paper says. “On Malaspina Peninsula there is potential for a new resort at Triple Peaks (three peaks with more than 2.1 kilometres of elevation) currently accessible from the proposed Third Crossing in the Goat Lake area.” …

“Boldness in improving transportation has always been a hallmark of economic expansion,” the paper says. It points to the growth that accompanied the opening of a Hope-Princeton highway in 1949, completion of the Trans Canada Highway through Roger’s Pass in 1962, the building of the Coquihalla route to Kamloops in 1987 and a connector to the Okanagan in 1990.

The group foresees industrial expansion with road access to a proposed LNG plant at Woodfibre, better access to sources of construction aggregates from limestone and gravel quarries and so on.

“It’s not just about the Sunshine Coast,” Fribance says. “The Powell River/Sea-to-Sky road will create a new connection between the Interior and coastal communities. It will lead to efficiencies all along the coast. Congestion will be relieved in major ways on the North Shore, in Horseshoe Bay, Nanaimo and Metro Vancouver.

 

Worth bringing forward: Michael Gordon’s comment on “Do We Need a Sunshine Coast Fixed Link? – 1

Michael Gordon

This week our ‘Sunshine Coast correspondent,’ John Whistler,* begins a series that will provide background and comment on yet …

It’s clear to me why the Province is pursuing this as a possible major Provincial investment in road infrastructure linking jobs in metro Vancouver to these unique slower rural places and taking away our beloved ferries and replacing the experience of being in a car and not a shared passage, just like all that is offered to most North American folks…apparently what it is about is this: they want more bedroom sprawling communities on the Sunshine Coast communities that are now slower, rural, nice smaller communities and in a setting of nature.

Could we please refocus the Province on building rapid transit, walkable communities in the lower mainland? And continue to let the ferries provide the lovely passage, a journey across Howe Sound, to be enjoyed to the Sunshine Coast

I think it is a good thing that our Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast are more time consuming to travel to. There is a wonderful sense of passage getting on a ferry and it does temper the character of these places and respects them as slower more rural, small community places, rather than sprawling bedroom communities with folks commuting to jobs in Metro Vancouver.

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Meanwhile, in the more urban areas, we need more certainty on investments into transit, biking and walking to create more high and medium density walkable communities that respect the Metro Vancouver plan, as well as providing single family homes who prefer that choice of housing.

Could we please have some clarity on the intent and funding for Provincial and Translink investments in transit, renewals of our bridges like the Patullo, cycling routes.

So that is my take on this focus on building roads to the Sunshine Coast…it’s such a lovely place and some of that is a result of the ferry connection and riding a ferry somewhere to more remote communities of BC, defines a unique and valued experience of living here in our region of our world, a lovely sense of shared passage on the water anticipating where we are travelling to…why change that.