First published June 2016
Yes, it will be built in our lifetime!
The provincial study will show that a Fixed Link is far better in the short and long run, compared with ferries that are costly to build, costly to operate, and not very reliable and not environmental friendly.
If you look at Vancouver as a pressure cooker of water front and real estate, the Sunshine Coast with a fixed Link is the safety valve.
It will be a new reality. People can come and go whenever they want to. Business can locate and relocate here without depending on the ferries. Industry can compete, indeed benefit from establishing on the Coast. Tourism can reach goals they never dreamed of. New prospects that we never thought of can now be reality! We are part of the mainland! No longer an island!
This Connector must cross Howe Sound at a place where it makes socio economic sense. This place is at Porteau Cove area, because of the only shallow ridge. This crossing will be a long causeway, and a short bridge, tunnell or concrete tube, over or under the narrow shipping lane. A fraction of the cost of two Golden Gate briges via Anvil Island or a road to Squamish.
At this site Woodfibre LNG can also connect to the crossing. Easy road to Port Mellon, and all the way, crown land, like the First Narrows Bridge financing.
Let us face the facts: Woodfibre LNG will be the first, and an example to the two or three other LNG plants in BC. They will save $100 mill. over the 35 year span by not having to operate ferries, tug and barges, watertaxies and seaplanes. Also an environmental saving, as most problems are with tugs and barges.
The Sunshine Coast would get many 100’s of jobs, during the construction and permanent.
The 4 lane Highway from Potlatch Creek to Port Mellon is part of stage one, the crossing, together with CN Rail service. Two bridges and three short tunnels. It is easier to tunnel, than to build a highway hanging on the outside cliffs, like some of the Sea to Sky.
Port Mellon is a good Deep Sea Port, safe for any size ocean-going ships. Vancouver Harbour have 52 or more commodities that requires expensive waterfront, and many could easily be relocated in Port Mellon. We need the jobs, they need the valuable foreshore.
One can not build a Fixed Link without a bypass road to connect with Powell River and Mid Vancouver Island. 4 lanes to Sechelt, and a good 2 lanes to Nelson Island, crossing Agamemnon Channel to a new temporary ferry terminal in Vanguard Bay, where one have a short crossing to Saltery Bay. The Comox ferry could use the same terminal, eliminating one ferry.
This is where a future link can also be reality to Vancouver Island.
This connection with Vancouver Island is most important. Much of he traffic here will cross Howe Sound and turn left to Squamish, Pemberton and drive back east via Kamloops or Prince George. This traffic is just using the Sunshine Coast as a bypass, and we have to accept and provide that.
All traffic to the coast will now be spread over 24 hours on the Sea to Sky, leaving Horseshoe Bay for Nanaimo and Bowen Island. BC Ferries should now look at using the Langdale Terminal for a Nanaimo run?
Yes, the population will increase, but the empty storefronts will be filled. The Sunshine Coast will always be a relaxed waterfront community, have its own identity, and never be just an extension of West Vancouver.
The Langdale Terminal should be used for fast passenger ferries, directly to downtovn, many do not need a car for a trip to Vancouver. These ferries should service Georgia Straight communities from Campbell River to Vancouver.
With the Link, we can live here, and go to Vancouver to when we want to. Families can have children going to university. One can attend cultural and sports event, indeed have a dinner, and drive back home 24 hours. One can travel to and from the airport without staying overnight. We would have a new life, be part of the west coast, and live where we want to live.
And, as important, the visitors, or tourist, or family, can come for a visit, and drive home whenever they want to.
We are part of the mainland BC. Treated like an Island, and not served by the ferries the way we and our visitors deserve.
If we are willing to pay $20 for each car, each way, any amount of passengers, there will be a number of pension and other funds lining up to fund this project. We do not need government financing. They will benefit from sale of crown land and increased tax base.
Think it over, and if a Fixed Link is what you want, tell somebody that can help make it happen !
We might not get a second chance!