Mainland or Island ?
Mainland is a large landmass in a region.
Island is any landmass surrounded by water.
The Sunshine Coast is a Mainland, a natural part of the total landmass of BC and Canada.
But we, the land locked residents, and the visitors, experience the Sunshine Coast as an Island, and are treated as such.
Because: We have no road connection to and from the coast to the inland. Our future will soon demand that. We should have built one years ago, but now is the opportunity. The economy is slow, and this coast connector would give it a kick start.
In the meantime we have to rely on the BC Ferries. That is still just a temporary solution, and not an efficient way of transport people and goods, year round, 24 hours. Highways with tunnels and bridges are.
Oh yes, we have the “no-sayers”. “We have found it, and we don’t want any more to move here” But most of you are now pensioners, and really, sooner or later you have to give away to the future, a new generation, and give the coast a road.
The Coast Connector to the mainland is just the beginning of a landfast road to mid Vancouver Island, and for the one that have some real foresight: A Pacific Coastal Highway to Prince Rupert with many ferries, bridges and tunnels.
There are three routes from Horseshoe Bay to the Sunshine Coast, all with their own merit.
Route 1: Tunnel and/or floating bridges, first Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island, Then a series of spectacular curved bridges and road fillings via Paisley and Keats Islands to Gibsons area. This would be the Scenic Route.
Route 2: Tunnel and/or floating bridges to Bowen, Gambier and Port Mellon. This would be the most beneficial way, and open up the wast reserves of land on the two Islands, creating new bedroom communities to Vancouver.
Route 3: The absolute easiest to sell to all interested parties, and the most economical to build in the short run.
A crossing at Porteau Cove to Defence Islets. Here is an underwater ridge, may be suitable for a tunnel, or concrete tunnel, and certainly the easiest bridge crossing, floating or suspension.
A tunnel from Potlatch Creek to McNab Creek, and one from there to Longview and Port Mellon.
The surplus rock could be used to build a new terminal for deep sea shipping and container traffic in this area.
A new highway to Sechelt, crossing Sechelt with a bridge, viaduct style.
For the future, continue to Pender Harbour, crossing Agamemnon Channel, Nelson and Hardy Islands, and a floating bridge to Evenden Point area an on to Powell River.
The ground conditions would decide where the tunnels, floating concrete tunnels and bridges, would go to Mid Vancouver Island, via Texeda and Lasqueti, probably starting at Wood Bay – Middle Point area.
These type of roads and connectors are built all over the world, crossing deep fjords, any weather conditions and replacing costly ferry runs. The time has come now to complete one here.
After a Mainland Connector Company is established and given the go ahead, planning and construction would be easy and quick, completion in two to three years.
Financing would be done with a fee, half the cost of a ferry ride, and paid back in 10 to 20 years. The cost of maintenance is far less then cost of operating the ferries.
When paid off, the Mainland Connector would be free, and part of our Coastal Highway.
An Island no more.
But there would be some major changes to the Sunshine Coast, all to the better I would argue:
A major barrier to living and doing business on the coast would disappear, no longer being treated as Island.
The population would double and include more younger people and families. It is after all, the finest place to live in the world, most would agree.
Workers and students could commute to work, both ways, by car or bus. Medical appointments, other meetings or visits much easier, even on holidays.
Business would establish on the coast, because now we can sustain a local economy.
One could go to night school, see a hockey, football, any game, or an evening at the theatre, family gatherings, and so on, and still get home, both ways.
Travel to and from the International Airport, by bus if you want, not forced to stay overnight.
One could visit and have a dinner in town, or on the coast, and drive home.
One could recreate or enjoy the coast, and get back to Vancouver whenever, vice versa.
Lower mainland people could enjoy the local hospitality and recreation.
Transport cost would go down on all gods and traffic, to and from.
And yes, more people would want to live on the coast, merchants would profit, businesses would establish, sustain and thrive, and life would be good for all !
No island, no more !