You can now see Eagleridge Bluff – what’s left of it – at a hundred kilometres an hour. As you depart the Upper Levels Highway through West Vancouver and start the turn on to the Sea-to-Sky Highway, don’t blink.
The bluff was the site of the a major protest (sit-ins! camp-outs! arrests!) back in 2006 when the Minister of Highways, Kevin Falcon, rejected the option of a tunnel under the bluffs for what he claimed was the cheaper, safer option of a cut.
The Minister, of course, prevailed, and the highway now takes an exquisitely graded curve through the centre of the much-blasted bluff.
For something under a billion dollars, we now have a finely engineered four-lane, high-speed route to Squamish and beyond – a wonderful testament to the art and engineering of the 20th-century road builder.
The upgraded highway really is a pleasure to drive. One can take in the views without the anxiety of a head-on crash with some exhausted, bleery skier from Whistler.
The scale of the roadway, however, is so grand that the view I saw from the bluff, pre-dynamite, is missed because of the sweep of the curve going south.
You can grab a look of English Bay, Point Grey and the islands in Georgia Straight with a fast turn of the head to the right.
It’s all so ironic. Justified for the Olympics – the most sustainable ever! – the Sea-to-Sky is an expensive gesture for a world fast departing: one where there was an endless supply of cheap and secure oil, where carbon had no apparent consequence, and the car was the only realistic form of transportation.
One good consequence, though. One of the leaders of the protest – Trish Panz – went on to win a seat on the West Vancouver Council in the subsequent election.