The board of the Sunshine Coast Regional District has come to an agreement. It has decided to push for the construction of a novel highway near the coastline. To that end, they will arrange a meeting with Claire Trevena, the Minister of Transportation. This four-lane stretch of road would connect Sechelt and Langdale and would run parallel to BC Hydro power lines.
The Board reached this decision on July 11, in response to Sunshine Coast Highway Society’s requests. However, not everyone agreed on the motion. Andreas Tize, director of Roberts Creek, objected to the prospect of this highway. His contention was that the road shouldn’t proceed to construction without consulting the public more thoroughly.
A presentation which Robin Merriott, Highway Society (formerly SC101) spokesperson, held inspired these grievances. The HS pleaded that SCRD support the building of this road, whose route had been planned out since 2009.
As Marriott heard from Tize, the state had never expressed formal support for this project. Namely, legislature at B.C. received a proposal to improve the already-existing highway back in March. However, this petition had never mentioned any new roadway plans.
Attitudes of Directors About the Highway
Bill Beamish, director of Gibsons, claimed that he approved of the idea of a new highway. However, he added that he would prefer to hear more feedback from the community. Donna McMahon (Elphinstone), on the other hand, considers the road a potential tool for regional growth. She also maintained that its construction ought not to interfere with Highway 101 being safe for traversal.
Meanwhile, Mark Hiltz of West Howe Sound drew the spotlight on the fact that it took about fifty years to design and construct the Langdale bypass. He urged his fellow directors not to cast aside the vital importance of minor, short-term solutions in preference for grand projects that span years.
Darnelda Siegers, Sechelt director, argued that it mattered more that the SCRD express support for the project to get the ball rolling. According to her, the public needs to know that governments pay attention to the needs of the people under its jurisdiction. There have reportedly been several fatal incidents along the Coast, and it’s her belief that municipal authorities should make it clear that they have a handle on the problem.
At the meeting’s conclusion, John Henderson (former mayor) stated that the Society has very little interest in a four-lane road. He added that nobody actually specified that the highway should have four lanes. Furthermore, he claimed that there was no mentioning of the word “super” or “superhighway” by the Society.