We were reminded in a harsh way this week how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away.
In the aftermath of too many deaths in too few days on Hwy. 99 there are numerous demands for a number of new initiatives to save lives on the Sea to Sky Highway. The demand that makes the most sense and will best prevent loss of life are the calls for a divider of some kind on the highway.
Yes, an expansion of the commuter service between Squamish and Whistler would be good and yes it would make for a safer trip through Squamish if everyone did 60 km-h.
The problem with a commuter bus service is the cost. If it isn't subsidized the price tag for the users will be high. If it is subsidized, taxpayers will pick up part of the tab for those who choose to live in Squamish but work in Whistler and whether or not that is fair can be argued.
Dropping the speed limit is fine but we'll have a Lions Bay situation all over again, where the limit is 60 km-h but almost everyone ignores it.
I'm with council in their bid to get more money from the province to beef up arterial routes. An interesting idea is being kicked around; however, it won't materialize because the Ministry of Transportation wants to satisfy the powder hounds who need to get to Whistler half an hour ago.
That idea: improve the local roads that run parallel to the highway and leave the 99 as a two-lane route. The people who want to travel at 80 km-h can do that on the highway and the locals who allowed themselves enough time to get from point A to point B can travel on the slower and less-direct local roads.
Doing this is going to open a can of worms that was closed the last time Squamish's Official Community Plan (OCP) was reviewed. The last OCP update introduced us to the idea of putting a bridge across the Mamquam River north of the existing highway bridge. The vision called for Loggers Lane to connect with the new bridge to the south and a new road would be built north to Mamquam Road. The main reason this wasn't a popular future option was the fact that it can only be done if the Squamish Valley Golf and Country Club gives up some its district-owned land at its western edge.
The idea isn't a popular one because the golf course a valuable local asset.
But we've seen from the recent accidents that radical steps have to be taken and it is time to look at all the options to optimize safety.
We're growing quickly and the whole world is coming all at once. Those who are going to be affected by change need to start thinking about the future now because there aren't enough tears in this community if we're going to be losing eight lives a week on the highway.