Introduction The Sunshine Coast is part of the mainland, but has been treated like an island up until now. The local economy is suffering seriously, not sustainable with the service of the ferries, or lack of. This lifeline, the main artery, severely clogged and in need of a major bypass operation. A bridge/tunnel connector is now the only solution.
Once built, it would be easy to maintain. Ferries are too 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. Ferries that operate on runs that can be replaced with bridges, concrete pipes or tunnels, should be transferred to Highways with a mandate to operate only until a fixed link is in place.
Crossing by Road (and Rail). The easiest way to cross Howe Sound is at Porteau Cove over beside 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 and less costly.
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. Coal, Grain, Sulphur, wood, chips, oil, gas, or containers could be re-located. 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, concrete pipe 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. A crossing here would also become an attraction to hikers and bikers, with a trail all the way to Port Mellon and on to the network of roads and trails.
Future Bypass road. A bypass road must be built all the way to Earls Cove, crossing to Nelson Island with a new terminal at Vanguard Bay, a short crossing to Saltery Bay, and also serve the Comox ferry, a saving of two ferry runs. This because the coast is just a link for the traffic from Mid Vancouver Island via Comox Ferry. A fixed link to Vancouver Island would be step 2. Could be from Nelson Island to Texada and Comox via partly submerged concrete pipe tunnels.
Trans-Canada Highway. Trans-Canada now ends in Horseshoe Bay. This project would be a natural extension. A major transportation infrastructure for the west coast long overdue.
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.
Provincial savings. The province would save on renewing and operating ferries. Save on rebuilding terminals, especially Horseshoe Bay, quoted at 200 M.
Less traffic congestion. With the Langdale ferry out of Horseshoe Bay, all that traffic now racing to reach the ferry, would be spread over a 24 hr. period on the Sea to Sky and the connector. Traffic from Comox going back east could the turn left at Portaeu Cove, and drive via Squamish, Pemberton, Kamloops and on to their destination, happily to bypass Vancouver area.
A Greener solution. The ferries use 3 t of fuel on a round trip. The connector would be a far greener choice for the near and long future.
A fast passenger only ferry. One from Langdale to downtown Vancouver should have been in place years ago.
This would be an enormous economic stimulus to both the Sunshine Coast
and to all of BC !
Pass this on to all your friends and everyone else for the sake of a Fixed Link !