The Road to Fun and Growth

chrisBy Chris McMillan
Published: Jan 11, 2016


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.


  1. jean says:

    oh, you are one of us…. a progressive dreamer… do you know that about 4% of voters are controlling the BC agenda, ignoring the rest of us!! And worse then that, big business like “The Gas Company” and “Big Oil” and private run of the river power plants, with there secret deals by the present government in power, having rewarded the ones that kept to the 660 million Highway project, without any cost over run… promoted and approved by the the then controller of the BC government now sipping tea with our Queen in London. Having been allowed a postponement of profit taking, that would have otherwise cost them taxes to be payed, having to charge the real cost of the Highway, to make a profit for there effort. Now of course deferring those profits over many years with a secret formula, to withhold us poor dreamers the taxes of profit that they should have made on the Sea to Sky 99 …just to be once again benefiting from the smart accountants with there loop holes, to pay a minimum of taxes on those profits over 20 years and on and on.
    A new highway to Powell River and others, similar to the “Blue Ridge Parkway USA” down south….. as an example, would be a great Idea and with any smarts by the present rulers, one could even forgive the Government, if they would stop wasting time and money now, on the insane fossil fuel dream called LNG and switch and start with modern and clean ventures that we all deserve. Right in our neighbourhood could be a project on a smaller scale, on Paul Ridge behind our beautiful mountain, the Garibaldi back side called Diamond head . A one way street with designated only short stops to take pictures and catch a bit fresh mountain air, with a great mountain top retreat, with guided tours and properly administrated to the point, that there would be no destruction possible. This would bring in millions into a government coffer, without destroying anything and leaving an incredible amount of people happy, to promote Squamish for the next millennium.
    I am sad, that we can not vote some modern day “Phill,s” into the governement and let them full steam ahead, build like the road to Powell River and duplicate what the once progressive Socret government did for this province, opening up the interior for all .Many other opportunities are awaiting to be discovered, instead of all the fraudulent talk about the great future of fossil fuel and the fracking of it, all for an Asian developer and the share holders of a certain Gas line company, that until resent was not interested in the domestic market and only now with the hand writing on the wall, with Squamish as the 5th Solar City and the explosion of green and renewable successes world wide… (sad to say not here yet) maybe considering to change there past way in direction of destruction !!! Yes the carrot up front of the past, for a few equipment operators to have a job for a short wile, should a WLNG be pushed through against the will of the general public, against common sense is not right. By not going ahead trying to fill the pockets of the big guys only for a wile, realizing that times have changed dramatically lately, would be the right thing to do.

  2. Chris McMillan says:

    Please sign and share this petition if you support this project. It’s time for a “Real Change”.

    • Paul Russell says:

      Chris, please see my comments. Lets get in touch by email

    • Paul Russell says:

      Hi Chris
      Here is my economic feasibility study in brief for the road connecting Squamish to Port Mellon

      Overall cost—————————————————————-$350,000,000
      Yearly payment of a 20 year bond at 3.9 %——————–$25,000,000
      Yearly number of cars and trucks———————————–600,000
      Annual loss on ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale—–$6,500,000
      Average toll charge for trucks and cars———————————–$31
      ($25,000,000-$6,500,000 = 18,500,000/600,000 = $31)

      I have ruled out the Anvil Island alternative as it would cost at least $4.2 billion based on the current longest suspension bridge costs (Ahashi-Kaikyo) and the Jarvis Inlet alternative which would not serve Sechelt and involves a 6 KM tunnel.

      When we get together I would like to discuss these issues in detail


  3. Paul Russell says:

    In April 2014, I prepared a proposal for a road connecting Squamish to Port Mellon along the Howe Sound Northshore and sent a copy to the Ministry of Transport (MOT).
    In response to this, MOT has issued an RFP for the feasibility study covering three alternatives-a road up the Squamish Valley to Powell River via Jervis Inlet, a bridge connection from Highway 99 to the Northshore of Howe Sound via Anvil island and finally a road and bridge connection from Squamish along the North Shore of Howe Sound to port Mellon.
    I believe that the only feasible connection is the latter.

    • Chris McMillan says:

      Please send me a message Paul. I would love to discuss this further and maybe we can meet in person. I’m certainly open to options but I believe that now is the time for change.

      • Paul Russell says:

        Yes, I would like to meet with you. I live in Squamish on Hospital Hill. I am visiting my step daughter in Seattle until 20 Jan. I will give you a call when I get back. My telephone number is 604 815 4405


      • Paul Russell says:

        Hi Chris
        This is an addition to my comment on the Jervis Inlet alternative. The proposed road from Squamish to Powell River via end of Jervis Inlet is 200 km. Based on the cost to make most of the Sea to Sky highway into a 4 lane road costing $6 M per km, the cost for the road connection from Squamish to Powell River would be $1.2 B plus the cost to build a 6 km tunnel at a cost of 60 M for a total cost of $1.26B. With a Powell River population of 13,000, this works out to $97,000 per man, woman and child–rather expensive!
        Eventually, I would like to see this done since as you have noted, it would open up the northern coast

    • Louise Fribance says:

      That would be great for the Lower Sunshine Coast people, but what about the Upper Sunshine Coast people who have to take 2 ferries to get to the Lower Mainland? I believe the Road from Powell River to Squamish and the Port Mellon Road are the two best options to satisfy the needs of ALL Sunshine Coast residents. But the Squamish Powell River road has much more vision and future than just solving a ferry problem. It opens up the Central Part of British columbia West-East corridor for new settlement and progress.

  4. lance says:

    Every time I see this proposal flash back to the Dogwood Trek 1970
    local kids sponsored by both Powell river and Squamish chamber of commerce
    tried the Jervis Inlet route-tough sledding
    I remember walking over glaciers in the middle of August
    lot more road built now but you still have to get over the hump