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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LOOKING BACK: Pitt Meadows Day can’t afford another five-year hiatus

A flood in 1948 derailed this community festival for five years, now 68 years later COVID does same

LETTER: Hospice takeover seen as socialist fascism

One Maple Ridge letter writer views NDP’s stance on MAIDs as imposed tyranny

LETTER: Forget danger pay, be grateful to have a job

Retired firefighter critical of lab worker’s call for COVID-related top up

LETTER: Glad voters didn’t pick Mowatt

Letter writer suddenly grateful for outcome of 2014 mayoralty race in Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge rock garden symbolizes transplant patient’s gratitude

Recipient Geoff Dunsire and donor Debi Pearce have create special tribute to B.C.’s transplant team

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read