Minister to Sunshine Coasters: Your Geography is Your Problem

Following is a posting from Powell River – Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons.

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I didn’t see his face, but I bet it was straight when the Minister actually said:

Connections between the Sunshine Coast and the Lower Mainland have been limited by the region’s challenging geography, which is an impediment to trade and tourism in the region,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone.

The only impediment is terrible leadership in the BC Liberal government. Our services have never been so poor and the cost has never been so high. This is the longest un-kept promise ever.

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The Government Press Release announces who got the contract to study the feasibility of four possible “fixed links” to the Sunshine Coast (R.F. Binnie and Associates), and how much they will get paid ($250,000). Interestingly, the Minister wants them to compare fixed link options vs. the “existing ferry service.”

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Work to study the feasibility of a highway link from the Sunshine Coast to the Lower Mainland is now underway, with the award of a $250,000 contract to R.F. Binnie & Associates.

“Connections between the Sunshine Coast and the Lower Mainland have been limited by the region’s challenging geography, which is an impediment to trade and tourism in the region,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone. “With this study, we’re taking a thorough look at the possibilities for a highway link to the Lower Mainland. It will build on previous work, and provide government with valuable, updated information on various options as they compare to the existing ferry service.”

A number of potential connections will be explored, with concept options ranging from a highway link around Jervis Inlet, to direct bridge connections along the coast. The costs and benefits of each option will be assessed and will be compared with existing ferry services.

“Gathering the data, assessing the practicality of options and the orders of magnitude of costs will all contribute to an informed discussion of the long-term plan for connecting the upper and lower Sunshine Coast to the Lower Mainland,” said Jordan Sturdy, MLA for West Vancouver – Sea to Sky. “This issue has been a hot topic as long as I can remember and I look forward to meeting with the communities to hear their perspectives.”

R.F. Binnie & Associates is a Vancouver-based civil engineering firm with expertise in consultation processes. R.F. Binnie’s final report to government on this study is expected in late fall 2016.

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