Norwegian example of a combination floating bridge/submerged tunnel that one advocate says could be used for a crossing of Howe Sound.

Fixed link to Sunshine Coast to be studied

Idea could eliminate need for ferry from Metro Vancouver to reach Sechelt, Powell River

The province will study the potential for a fixed link between Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast that could allow motorists to drive to Gibsons and beyond without boarding a ferry.

“Highway access is important for attracting tourism and investment,” Transportation Minister Todd Stone said Friday, adding there’s considerable interest from local residents.

“They really feel like their beautiful part of the province is being hindered somewhat, held back from realizing its full potential.”

Options to be considered include bridges providing a direct route along the coast, as well as punching a new highway from Squamish northwest around Jervis Inlet and then southwest to Powell River. That route would partly follow existing logging roads and replace what is now a journey requiring two ferries.

The costs and benefits of each option are to be assessed and compared to ferry services.

The province will hire consultants to carry out the study, with that work to get underway later this year.

Sunshine Coast advocates of a fixed link assume it would be tolled to recoup the costs.

Oddvin Vedo, a retired economic development officer in Sechelt, says there are multiple routes that could cross Howe Sound to connect from either Horseshoe Bay to Gibsons – over either Bowen or Gambier islands – or from Porteau Cove to Port Mellon.

He said the Porteau Cove route would be easier because of shallow seabed. It would require a new 20-kilometre road on the north side, but would avoid running traffic through downtown Gibsons and avert a fight with the Islands Trust over parkland on Gambier.

Vedo dismisses the long, rugged route around Jervis Inlet as an “impossible” dream.

But he thinks a direct link using a combination of a floating bridge and a submerged floating tunnel will prove viable.

“The ferries cannot compete with the fixed link,” Vedo said.

He argues it would be a boon to tourism and economic development, opening up road access to more industrial land that has become scarce in Metro Vancouver.

The Sunshine Coast Regional District wrote to Stone in July urging him to study the options.

Not everyone is expected to embrace the idea.

“There are going to be strong opinions on both sides,” Stone predicted.

He named area MLA Jordan Sturdy to gauge community sentiment.

Talk of a fixed link between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island has been going on for decades.

But the province fanned the idea of replacing some ferries with bridges last year when it commissioned a feasibility study for a fixed link between Vancouver Island and Gabriola Island.

NDP transportation critic Claire Trevena said she’s aware of some support on the Sunshine Coast for a fixed link, but added it fits the provincial government’s pattern of neglecting BC Ferries.

“They will do anything to avoid investing in the ferry system,” she said.

Potential crossings of Howe Sound outlined by Oddvin Vedo on his blog.

Just Posted

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Garagellenium XX starts with pancake breakfast

Annual Oak Bay Garage Sale coming Saturday, June 8

VIDEO: Protesters in Penticton gather to rally against sleeping-on-sidewalk bylaw

The proposed bylaw would outlaw sitting or lying on the city’s downtown sidewalks

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read