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. Horseshoe Bay and Langdale are in need of upgrading. Use the money on a connector instead. And smaller faster passenger only ferries.
All ferries that can be replaced with a bridge, tunnel or concrete pipe, should be transferred to Highways, with a mandate to run the ferries until a connection is built. Run the ferries with one more shift, from earlier mornings to after midnight, no more overloads.
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, gravel, oil, gas, and containers. This would free up much valuable Vancouver harbour land 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. A fixed link to Vancouver Island would be step 2.
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 !
Build it – They will come !