After the Fixed Link

(First published 4 months ago)

Yes, it will be built in our lifetime!

The provincial study will show that a Fixed Link is far better in the short and long run, compared with ferries that are costly to build, costly to operate, and not very reliable and not environmental friendly.

If you look at Vancouver as a pressure cooker of water front and real estate, the Sunshine Coast with a fixed Link is the safety valve.

It will be a new reality. People can come and go whenever they want to. Business can locate and relocate here without depending on the ferries. Industry can compete, indeed benefit from establishing on the Coast. Tourism can reach goals they never dreamed of. New prospects that we never thought of can now be reality! We are part of the mainland! No longer an island!

This Connector must cross Howe Sound at a place where it makes socio economic sense. This place is at Porteau Cove area, because of the only shallow ridge. This crossing will be a long causeway, and a short bridge, tunnell or concrete tube, over or under the narrow shipping lane. A fraction of the cost of two Golden Gate briges via Anvil Island or a road to Squamish.

At this site Woodfibre LNG can also connect to the crossing. Easy road to Port Mellon, and all the way, crown land, like the First Narrows Bridge financing.

Let us face the facts: Woodfibre LNG will be the first, and an example to the two or three other LNG plants in BC. They will save $100 mill. over the 35 year span by not having to operate ferries, tug and barges, watertaxies and seaplanes. Also an environmental saving, as most problems are with tugs and barges.

The Sunshine Coast would get many 100’s of jobs, during the construction and permanent.

The 4 lane Highway from Potlatch Creek to Port Mellon is part of stage one, the crossing, together with CN Rail service. Two bridges and three short tunnels. It is easier to tunnel, than to build a highway hanging on the outside cliffs, like some of the Sea to Sky.

Port Mellon is a good Deep Sea Port, safe for any size ocean-going ships. Vancouver Harbour have 52 or more commodities that requires expensive waterfront, and many could easily be relocated in Port Mellon. We need the jobs, they need the valuable foreshore.

One can not build a Fixed Link without a bypass road to connect with Powell River and Mid Vancouver Island. 4 lanes to Sechelt, and a good 2 lanes to Nelson Island, crossing Agamemnon Channel to a new temporary ferry terminal in Vanguard Bay, where one have a short crossing to Saltery Bay. The Comox ferry could use the same terminal, eliminating one ferry.

This is where a future link can also be reality to Vancouver Island.

This connection with Vancouver Island is most important. Much of he traffic here will cross Howe Sound and turn left to Squamish, Pemberton and drive back east via Kamloops or Prince George. This traffic is just using the Sunshine Coast as a bypass, and we have to except that.

All traffic to the coast will now be spread over 24 hours on the Sea to Sky, leaving Horseshoe Bay for Nanaimo and Bowen Island. BC Ferries should now look at using the Langdale Terminal for a Nanaimo run?

Yes, the population will increase, but the empty storefronts will be filled. The Sunshine Coast will always be a relaxed waterfront community, have its own identity, and never be just an extension of West Vancouver.

The Langdale Terminal should be used for fast passenger ferries, directly to downtovn, many do not need a car for a trip to Vancouver. These ferries should  service Georgia Straight communities from Campbell River to Vancouver.

With the Link, we can live here, and go to Vancouver to when we want to. Families can have children going to university. One can attend cultural and sports event, indeed have a dinner, and drive back home 24 hours. One can travel to and from the airport without staying overnight. We would have a new life, be part of the west coast, and live where we want to live.

And, as important, the visitors, or tourist, or family, can come for a visit, and drive home whenever they want to.

We are part of the mainland BC. Treated like an Island, and not served by the ferries the way we and our visitors deserve.

If we are willing to pay $20 for each car, each way, any amount of passengers, there will be a number of pension and other funds lining up to fund this project. We do not need government financing. They will benefit from sale of crown land and increased tax base.

Think it over, and if a Fixed Link is what you want, tell somebody that can help make it happen !

We might not get a second chance!

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10 Responses to After the Fixed Link

  1. Jim says:

    I live in Pender harbour on the northern end of the coast south of Powell river. I live here because it’s not a city and I only have to deal with the city attitude in summer. I have lived in Vancouver and choose to live here. If a road of some kind was punched thru the coast would be another Burnaby in 20 years. Vancouver doesn’t need another burb. Everyone needs trees and mountains and creeks. To coasters who want a link. You did see the ferrie when you choose to move here. Just because you decided it’s a pain doesn’t mean you get to simply remake this place. You can move again.

  2. Oddvin says:

    Thank you Jim. When I worked here in the ’80s and ’90s people wanted a bypass road. We can live with the road we have now. This is for the Powell Rivver and Comox traffic. They will save one or two feries. We have to support their needs. I just want to see my grandchildren more often, and many with me. The poll on this page show 270 prefere a Fixed Link, 17 prefere the ferries.

  3. Colleen says:

    There is no doubt the Sunshine Coast would become a bedroom community of Vancouver. Officials have already stated that. Builders are already wringing their hands with anticipation waiting to plan out this rugged, undeveloped area. For a matter of possible convenience, people are prepared to endure endless days of construction, strip malls, housing developments, loss of forests, traffic jams, water shortages (we already have water shortages), increase in taxes, etc. etc. etc. And what happens in winter and the road is closed due to black ice or an accident. Then how do we get home at 10pm? Or there is a landslide over the highway? Do we just wait in our cars until its cleared? Gosh, that’s convenient. The option of travelling as a passenger for $12 will be gone. Its tolls regardless. And for those who always travel as passengers (commuters) and people who don’t drive, a fixed link would add a tremendous load on their finances. Think beyond a few days convenience to how this community might look. Do you like what you see? I don’t.

    • Oddvin says:

      Dear Colleen, I am sorry that you feel worried about a Fixed Link, but I assure you, you will like it. My proposal also includes a fast passenger ferry from Langdale to downtown Vancouver, most people do not need a car downtown. A crossing at Porteau Cove is all at sea level, no high elevations. I also trust our local elected to ensure an orderly development. We will get stability and orderly growt in all sectors with a Fixed Link.
      Thank you Colleen for your opinion and input. It is conserns like yours that helps the government to do it right.

  4. Ian says:


    There are a few places on your site where you argue that the economics are better for the fixed link than maintaining the existing ferry service. Assuming that the user-pay principle will apply, and highway/bridge users will need to pay the fully loaded costs (including initial construction, maintenance & upkeep) can you show how the toll for the roads/bridges will be cheaper than the ferry? Or, if you wish, assume a subsidy equivalent to the current shortfall for the fully-loaded costs of the Horseshoe Bay – Langdale run (latest figures on that are in the range of about $3.0 million). I’m just curious as to how the costs compare and haven’t seen any detail on how people are arriving at an assumption of (say) a $40 round-trip toll cost (as you do above).


    • Oddvin says:

      Thank you,
      I based all estimates on figures from simular projects avaliable on internet, including BC Ferries. The least expensive location is the shallow water cossing at Porteau Cove. Cross the narrow shipping lanes with a bridge, conrete pipe or tunnell, then a causeway to Potlach Creek area, all 4 lanes. This is far better than two Golden Gate bridges over Anvil Island.
      But, very shortly retired banker and financier will publish a scenario of $ 20 each way for a car, any amount of persons. I will post it here when avaliable. The payback period will be reduced with increased traffic, much higher than the Ferries projections.

      • Ian says:

        Have you updated the calculations based on the estimates provided at the Open Houses? So, they’re only looking at two options seriously: the highway all the way to Squamish (which I would oppose); or the Anvil Island bridging approach, which is more interesting, though far more expensive.

        Have you posted the details of how you arrived at your estimate anywhere? I’m curious as to how you arrived at the actual toll-cost estimate.

        Given the cost estimates that are floating around out there, if Province seeks to recover the full cost of construction plus maintenance & renewal for the Anvil Island fixed link, then it probably will cost more than the ferry does now (including into at least the short/med. term future). If they subsidized it in a major way (e.g., a “jobs for BC” project), and only require maintenance/renewal to be covered, the tolls would be more reasonable.


      • Oddvin says:

        Anvil Island with 2 Golden Gate bridges is too costly, does not provide some of the economic benefits, and even if I love bridges, two like that might not be what we want to see in a prestine envronment.
        Road to Squamish would have been buildt many years ago if it made any sense.
        My only choice is a crossing at the Porteau Cove shallow area. Most of the crossing would be a simple causeway. The short bridge part is over the narrow shipping channel. I would prefere a concrete tube on the sea bottom, or a tunnell under. Any of these solutions are far less costly than all the other proposals.
        This crossing would cost half of an Anville crossing. The cost of each car can not be over $ 20 each way. Any amount of passengers. Bus, taxi, official, and many other free. Purchase annual or let us say ten or more, you get a discount. If it is paid off over 15, 25 or more years, that does not really matter. The cost of building, maintaining and operate ferries will not go down.
        This study is based over 25 years, that will show a trend, but not the whole picture.
        I arrived at my cost, using figures of constructiong highways, like the Coquihalla, bridges and tunnells, comparing with 2016 $.
        We still need a fast passenger ferry from Langdale to downtown, run by private, like a bus servvice. We also need a bypass road to Nelson Island. Nobody have considered the increase in traffic from the Comox ferry. Half of Vancouver Island will use this crossing. All the ones going to Alberta or further east will turn left to Squamish, Lilloet, Kamlops and drive on to and from eastward.
        But, using the shallow area for a Causeway, a much shorter bridge or tunnell, is the only way in many professional peoples opinion.

  5. yvrlutyens says:

    Oddvin, you write:

    This Connector must cross Howe Sound at a place where it makes socio economic sense. This place is at Porteau Cove area, because of the only shallow ridge. This crossing will be a long causeway, and a short bridge, tunnel or concrete tube, over or under the narrow shipping lane.

    As I wrote in my previous comment on the subject, this “shallow ridge” is actually quite deep. The water is 50 to 75m deep along much of the bridge alignment which is far too deep for anything like a causeway. Actually 50m deep is already on the deep end for bridge piers, and 75m is approaching record breaking territory. This would require huge caissons on huge piles. The bridge across the Gulf of Corinth, a 2500m cable-stayed bridge with four pylons in water up to 65m deep, is the model that we would need to look at except our bridge would be twice as long, be in even deeper water, and would be partially curved.

    In a diagram that you previously released on the subject, the bridge over the shipping channel is around 1200m long which is long cable-stayed bridge, and to limit pier depth the bridge would have to be built right along the ridge. You also mention a submerged tube tunnel under the shipping channel. This would have to be 75m deep at the deepest which would make it the world’s deepest submerged tube after the Marmaray tunnel which is 60m below sea level at the deepest. That deep section would also require 1500m approaches on either side to keep the grade down to 5%, so a tunnel like this would essentially go the whole way across. While this would be record breaking and complicated over the uneven sea floor, a tunnel almost seems easier than a bridge.

  6. ian005 says:

    The issue here, though, is that the only two options that they appear to be considering are the Anvil Island bridges or the highway to Squamish. Unless MOTI and the consultants have indicated that they remain open to alternative options (which themselves will likely pose technological challenges), if the project were to proceed it would be one or the other of these options.

    Based on the costing provided – which is very general right now – it appears that the highway portion (including creek/gully bridging) costs between $25-26 million per kilometre, for a 2 1/2 lane highway (i.e., one lane in each direction with passing lanes on significant elevations). Oddvin was positing a 4 lane highway, which would be significantly more expensive. I also did not see anything in the current Binnie proposals addressing upgrades to the highway from Port Mellon to Langdale, which probably would be necessary (or you may end up with a significant bottleneck in that stretch – though you’ll get that anyway once you get to Gibsons).

    Based on the estimates that Binnie has thrown out there, I remain dubious that the fixed link will be cost-competitive IF the Province intends to recoup the full construction, operating, maintenance and renewal costs from users. That’s including assumed savings on ferry infrastructure investment (which saving remain to be accurately quantified, and technically are not on the Province’s books anyway), the Feds throwing in a one-third share for construction costs and the current low interest rate environment persisting (so, long term debt being raised at about 3% when the project is launching). I’ll be interested to see the assumptions built into the more detailed costing that Oddvin was referring to above. At present, though, I’d have to say this all looks very speculative.

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