Sunshine Coast Connector.
Introduction The Sunshine Coast is part of the mainland, but has been treated like an island up until now. A bridge/tunnel connector is the only solution.
Once built, it would be easy to maintain. Ferries are costly to build, operate and maintain.
Ferry Terminals. Terminals should be transferred to the respective municipalities, and they in turn can lease out to any ferry operator. No more monopoly.
Crossing by Road (and Rail). The easiest way to cross Howe Sound is at Porteau Cove over to Defence Islands, owned by the Squamish Nation. A series of short tunnels, with a bridge crossing Potlatch Creek and McNab Creek, then you would have new road and rail to Port Mellon. Woodfibre can connect, and that would make their LNG project much easier.
Deep Sea Port. Port Mellon is already a deep sea port. With road and rail connections to Vancouver, this area could take a load off the Fraser River and inner Vancouver Harbour.
It could ship Coal, Grain, Sulphur, wood, chips, oil, gas, or containers. This would free up much valuable harbour for city use, and reduce the risk of incidents. Port Mellon can handle larger, newer and safer vessels.
Bridge/Tunnel. The Porteau Cove crossing is a shallow area is suitable for bridge or tunnel, and is relatively simple to construct. An engineering study would likely conclude that a bridge would cost less. Rail would pay for a sizable share.
Future Bypass road. A bypass road could eventually be built all the way to Earls Cove.
Trans-Canada Highway. Trans-Canada now ends in Horseshoe Bay. This project would be a natural extension.
Financing and Pay Back. The pay back would be by tolls, which are much simpler and lower cost than the present ferries. The bridge would soon double the present traffic.
This would be an enormous economic stimulus to both the Sunshine Coast and to all of BC.
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allowing all ship traffic to and from Squamish and Woodfibre.
This type of crossing could be a likely choice for Howe Sound near Porteau Cove Park andDefence Islands (map) to Potlach Creek area. Look at the sea charts and see the shallow underwater ridge that can enable a simple crossing of Howe Sound.
A short tunnel from there to McNab Creek, a crossing high up in this beautiful valley, another tunnel to Port Mellon, and highway from there.
McNab Creek area should be considered for a Provincial or Regional Park, to restrict use and plan any development, it is a unique area facing south in Howe Sound.
Expanded deep sea port facilities could be established in the Port Mellon industrial area, creating local jobs and freeing up some vessel traffic to and from Port of Vancouver.
A longer north going tunnel to Woodfibre would enable this industrial area develop its potential as a land based LNG site.
From Gibsons it would take you 45 minutes comfortable drive to Vancouver. Suggested pay off, amortized over the number of years, setting the cost $ 10 pr car each way, at the bridge toll booth. There would not be an actual booth, but similar system as on the new Fraser River crossing. Construction financing by an International Fund.
This would be an extension of Highway 1, Trans Canada, with all the possibilities of benefits that would include. Many interest groups should certainly travel for free.
The Province would save a lot of money, bridges and tunnels are far less costly, and more reliable than operating ferries. This savings and the present ferries could be used for more important services.
The Sunshine Coast would become a sustainable place to live and work. The ferries and cost of transport will always restrict any business development apart from tourism, services and retirement.
The distance from Vancouver will prevent it from becoming a bedroom community.
The pleasant coastal lifestyle will always remain.