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

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Steve Coleman resigns as president of Abbotsford Minor Baseball Association

Coleman also steps down as chair of Sport Abbotsford, proud of his work with AMBA

Former high-stakes poker player from Mission missing in Nevada

Brad Booth last seen on July 13, told roommate he was going camping

White Rock Tritons ‘just happy to get out there’ against real competition

BC Premier Baseball League team returns to field against Langley Blaze, Abbotsford Cardinals

RCMP charge Langley man in connection with boat collision on Cultus Lake

A 67-year-old man allegedly operated a motor boat that collided with a woman paddling a canoe

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

Maple Ridge firefighting camp empowers young women

Camp Ignite to take place at Justice Institute on Sunday, Aug. 9

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

Health Canada recalling more than 50 hand sanitizers in evolving list

Organization says to stop using products listed, and to consult a health-care professional

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

B.C. scientist, 63, protests in trees set to be removed for Trans Mountain pipeline

Tim Takaro is reaching new heights as he tries to stall the pipeline expansion project in New Westminster

Most Read