Back in 1970, the Powell River Chamber of Commerce sponsored something called the Dogwood Trek, in which a party of young men from Powell River and Squamish attempted to blaze a trail through the wilderness from one community to the other. According to a statement from a group called the Third Crossing Society, “for various reasons, mainly time and an injury, they didn’t make it, but they did raise public awareness that a road was a real possibility.”
Since then the idea of a ferry- and road-based “third crossing” transportation corridor (including the Comox-to-Powell River ferry in addition to the new road) has been floated a number of times, with much of the backing coming from the Powell River end of things. That community, of course, is accessible only by sea — in fact, by two ferries from the Lower Mainland.
Don’t look now, but it’s back — on Monday (Oct. 22), in fact, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District board gave its support in principle to the concept. And there’s little question that it would be an economic boon to affected communities, including Squamish, though it would likely alter things significantly for those living near the southern end of the 170-kilometre-long road link in the Upper Squamish Valley.
Given the current tough economic times and the (we’d say conservative) estimated cost of $503 million, it’s a good idea whose time probably won’t come for at least another decade.
Three weeks ago, this writer penned an editorial titled “Time to gear up,” calling for the establishment of intercity transit in the Sea to Sky Corridor, from Vancouver to Mount Currie, ASAP. The missive included the line, “What’s needed… is the establishment of a regional transit authority with the power to levy a gasoline tax to pay for the service.”
Since then, Coun. Susan Chapelle, chair of the District of Squamish’s transit committee, has pointed out that a previous council explored that option and, “We were told by the province that the money raised would go back to the province, and the portion we would get would not fund [the] service.”
Well, we stand corrected — thanks to Coun. Chapelle. This writer still thinks there’s a strong desire to get something done in this regard and supports bringing corridor leaders together in a unified effort to coax, cajole and lobby those in power for a publicly supported service to ensure safer and more environmentally responsible corridor commuting choices.
— David Burke