Construct a road from Powell River to Squamish.
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Now that the Liberal red tide has swept across our nation and we have elected Justin Trudeau, let’s hope that just a few of the billions of dollars he has promised to Canadians in infrastructure spending, land right here in beautiful British Columbia. One potential project worth looking at would be a road linking the Sunshine Coast to Squamish.
The cost of servicing these land-locked communities increases each and every year due to fuel, wage, and maintenance costs of an aging fleet of ferries. The only solution implemented so far has been to cut those very services, leaving thousands of people stranded in the process. We could embark on a new road to economic success through tourism. To do so will take some redistribution of tax dollars we currently spend on an antiquated ferry system and some forward thinking.
How will tourism increase with such a project? The answer is simple. Easier access at an affordable cost combined with the natural beauty of the area.
Savary Island, for instance. Known as the “Hawaii of the North” and for its white sand beaches and stunning ocean and mountain views. The island is surrounded by warm water, making it an excellent location for paddle boarding, kayaking, scuba diving, and swimming of course. Savary Island also has network of scenic hiking and biking trails which wind through the lush forest.
A short boat ride away is the quaint seaside village of Lund which offers access to Desolation Sound and the Copeland Islands where there are eleven designated campsites located throughout the Marine Provincial Park. The 180 kilometre Sunshine Coast Trail begins at nearby Sarah Point and stretches all the way to Saltery Bay. This epic backcountry trail, similar to the popular West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island, now boasts thirteen huts and is the longest hut-to-hut hiking experience in Canada. The trail winds through a variety of landscapes from breathtaking coastal shorelines, scenic mountaintops, and old growth forests. The best part is... It’s free!
Come tackle the sheer rock faces in the Eldred Valley and Stillwater Bluffs. These awe-inspiring bluffs contain some of the most incredible granite climbing walls in the world and have been compared to Yosemite. There is some excellent bouldering nearby as well.
There are plenty of thrilling mountain bike trails throughout the communities of the Sunshine Coast as participants of the BC Bike Race can attest. There is also a brand new skate and bike park.
The proposed road would link with Highway 99 in Squamish and would bring a vast amount of people through town and would definitely stimulate both commerce and tourism in the area. Upgrading the existing logging roads would create many well paying jobs just as the project to upgrade the Sea to Sky prior to the Olympics in 2010. Economically, the beauty of this project is that many of its components are already in place, from Highway 99 to forest service roads.
Constructing this new highway would bring access to huge amounts of waterfront front property in a friendly community that is packed with amenities and is great for raising a family. Powell River, deemed the “Least Polluted City in the World” by the Guinness Book of World Records, has untapped, affordable potential where you can purchase a million dollar home for $400000.
Infrastructure spending is now a reality in Canada and investing in projects such as this one is important for sustained economic prosperity. The decisions we make today to invest in our province will affect what we can access, where we can travel, and shape the future of BC.
I say... Let’s lobby for our share of those federal infrastructure dollars and build a road with a toll on it so that we can increase tourism and grow our local economy. We will be paying for them either way.
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