Island no more

Images for tunnels,

  concrete floating tunnels

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 !

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13 Responses to Island no more

  1. Mike says:

    Highway access to Vancouver Island will destroy it forever…..

  2. Mac says:

    This will never happen. What do you do once you get here? You can’t expand Highway 101 due to how much land would have to be expropriated. Building a highway under the power lines would be way too expensive to bridge all the ravines not to mention all the “Save the Mushroom, Save the trees, Save the berries” people. There are only and small amount of people that live here and the is no way the Government would fund such a project. I have lived here for 20 years, I don’t complain about BC Ferries because I knew about it when I moved here. I suspect that builing a road or bridge to satisfy the very few that want to go watch a sports game and come home that night will be a weak argument. Better off to get a 10-20 car ferry running at midnight.

    • Oddvin says:

      Dear Mac: Thank you for your opinion. You sum up the arguments against very well. My argument is: Who is going to save the young families that want to live here. The small business. A future normal way of life. And North Coast with Powell River, they want a road connection.I agree that smaller faster ferries running hourly all night would help, so would passenger only fast ferries. The reality is that in the long run, it is very much less costly to build and maintain a road system than any ferry. The Province does not have to fund it if they do not want to. A private or a pension fund for example from overseas, would be happy to fund a project like this with toll paying it back with profit. The Lions Gate Bridge was built that way. Oddvin

  3. G says:

    This separation is what makes the sunshine coast the amazing place that it is. With increased access comes more vacation homes, retirees who buy up the waterfront, renovate and jack up the cost of living, the come, they visit, but they do not contribute to the community, they are not involved in any community engagement, and the prefer to shop and name brand and big-box stores because that is what they are familiar with. The people who live here all year round are mostly working class people, if you increase the access, the sunshine coast will become more of a vacation destination and become unaffordable to the people who currently live here.Doubling the population is not what we want. Even over the past 15 years, I have seen the cost of living skyrocket as big box stores move in and house prices rise. The ferry can be an inconvenience, and it sure makes for a different lifestyle, but that is what makes this place so special. If you remove that, it will lose the qualities that have drawn people here in the first place, this is our “normal” way of life. Not everything in life has to be fast-paced, exponentially and rapidly growing and easy to access, that the whole point of the sunshine coast and what makes it the most amazing place to live in the entire world.

  4. Luke says:

    Currently, my wife and I (late 20s/early 30s) would live in Gibsons, but for the connection by ferry to the mainland, and my work downtown. There is no viable option for us currently, however when we previously lived in Gibsons we were active in the community and enjoyed the lifestyle very much. Still trying to figure out how we get back to live, but it looks unlikely at this point.

    A roadway would substantially change the situation. We would most likely buy a house and be part of the community. Looks like it’d be roughly 80-90 km from Gibsons to downtown Vancouver (checking with Google maps), if the Porteau Cove crossing was used. That’s an excellent distance – far enough that the trip would have to be an intentional one for visitors (I believe therefore maintaining some of the ‘removed’ vibe that Coasters love) but still achievable in terms of a commute, or a trip downtown for other reasons. Ultimately, it’d be probably a 55-60 min drive, vs the approx. 1hr45m that’s need to allow for lining up, boarding, crossing and drive to downtown currently. That’s a huge difference!

  5. Oddvin says:

    Thank you Luke. I needed a positive letter of support after a few not so. You describe a situation that would be typical for many, not a nightmare as some describe. Oddvin

  6. HWYSUPPORT says:

    I live on the sunshine coast with my wife and 1 year old son and I am fully supportive of a connector to Vancouver. Over the last year, we have been contemplating moving because the ferries are expensive and unreliable, the demographic is heavily weighted towards retirees (which is not necessarily a bad thing but does limit the diversity within this community), the job market is terrible, and the “small town” schools are notorious for bullying and heavy drug abuse and lack the resources to meet the needs of some of the kids who are challenged to meet the requirements of the system, which for us as new parents is very concerning. We love the coast for what it is (beaches, trails, quaint little stores etc.) but are uncertain of our future here for the reasons above. We are not the only ones. A connector would help immensely.

    I have admit it’s painful to read some of the insulting comments on this idea when it’s just someone’s opinion. To me, this arrogant “no change”, “keep the Sunshine Coast the way it is” attitude is a huge downfall and I believe will only hurt us in the long-run and not to mention is extremely rude (which is what we as Coasters are becoming known for). As Oddvin has correctly and respectfully pointed out several times, preventing unnecessary sprawl and big box stores (BTW, isn’t there already an application for a Walmart in Sechelt?) from taking over the Sunshine Coast comes through a sound planning process that establishes zoning, by-laws and OCP’s to ensure that form, character, and density objectives established by the community are met.

    Yes, a Sunshine Coast connecter would bring change to this community, but I believe it would be a change that would attract more young people, industry, and culture and would make our beautiful Sunshine Coast a better place to live.

    • Mac says:

      I would like to clarify that I am not a nay-sayer to this project but that I have spent many hours in our back country here on the Coast and spent time with others looking for a goat trail of any kind linking to the mainland. I just don’t think it is logistically possible.
      The connection to the mainland is doable but the problem lies in where to go once you get here.
      Expanding the current highway can’t be done due to the proximity of structures along this route. There is just no room to widen it. Building a new road along the power lines would be way too expensive. Take a drive up Selma Park Rd. to Reservoir Rd. and have a look and this one deep gully to cross Chapman Creek. this bridge alone would be in the millions. That’s just one gully and there are several. Any other upper route would be covered in snow for 4-5 months of the year and not an option.
      What to do when you get to Sechelt? The viaduct idea is logical but where would you put it. Looking into the third floor of the Watermark? Go over houses on Mermaid? Due to the fact that the SCRD can’t continue their SunCoaster Trail do to the “No Change” people, how will anyone ever get a road over their houses?
      I would be on board with this project if someone could come up with a logical solution to “Where to go when you get here”…Food for thought.

      • Oddvin says:

        Mac makes a good point.
        Gullies are relative easy to bridge, could any be combined with a dam for water and or power. Some stretches of the road can be improved, like Middle point to Earls Cove. Sechelt is the bottle neck, but when the engineers and everybody else take their thinking cap on, this will be resolved. A floating concrete tunnel at Four Mile and new road up the Inlet to Egmont, or dug in right under town, they will find a way.

  7. Oddvin says:

    Thank You, thank you ! Oddvin

  8. Kevin Warman says:

    Yes I am in favour of a road I have lived in Powell river my hole life have a family wife and two boys 11 Years old. The biggest complaint I here is the cost of the ferries it is ridiculous how much they charge and they are still losing money. You have to move with the Times maybe with a road my boys won’t have to move away when they graduate there are no jobs here mainly because of the cost to have a business we are held back because of the ferries and cost of shipping time to change this town not just to a retirement destiny

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