John Whistler provides background and comment on yet another massive road-and-bridge project proposed by the Province.
Multi-modal Accessibility was one of the criteria that scored poorly in the evaluation of the Sunshine Coast Fixed Link options. It can be expected a fixed link will reduce transportation options and there will be a greater dependence on the use of private cars.
Existing long distance public transit options from Vancouver to Powell River have deteriorated over the years and now consist of just one scheduled round trip a day. This is a part of the long-term trend where inter-city bus services have deteriorated throughout the province and North America. The fixed-link options would have the impact of creating a long-distance transit route from what is now served by local transit for the southern coast.
Either of the Langdale fixed link options would be a significant blow to the Sunshine Coast Regional Transit System (SCRT) as it would eliminate the most important stop – the Langdale Ferry Terminal. This would likely result in a reduction in services.
The SCRT currently serves approximately 20,000 people covering the area south of Halfmoon Bay. The SCRT schedule is integrated with the BC Ferries schedule and includes an express bus to and from Sechelt. When combined with the Translink 257 Horseshoe Bay Express bus, public transit is competitive and equal to driving from a time perspective between Downtown Vancouver and Sechelt. As such, this service is popular with people who travel for the day for work or shopping or other reasons.
Day trippers will have no other choice but to drive with a fixed link, at extra costs and these types of trips would likely decrease.
The termination of the Langdale Ferry Terminal and impacts to the SCRT service would also negatively impact other mobility options. Many of the taxi trips on the Sunshine Coast start or end at the Langdale Ferry Terminal or other stops on the SCRT. The loss of the ferry terminal or a reduction in SCRT services will impact taxi revenues and would likely decrease their service levels. In a worse-case scenario, taxi services become uneconomical and some operators would close down.
The Sunshine Coast Car Coop started in 2014 and now has five vehicles. Car coops benefit from the ability to offer many vehicles and from the network effect by combining with good public transit, taxis and other mobility options. The loss of the Langdale Ferry service and deterioration in SCRT or taxi services will likely limit the coop’s ability to grow.
Cycling would also be negatively impacted from the termination of the BC Ferry service. At this time, combining cycling and public transit is facilitated as both SCRT and Translink busses have bike racks. While it is expected that the fixed-link options would be built to current highway standards with cycling facilities, they would not be practical for local trips and likely would only be used for long-distance cycling purposes.
The cycling tourism potential from the fixed-link options are worse when compared to existing BC Ferry services for the Langdale run. Cycling tourism potential would be improved for the Powell River Bridge link and for cycling camping on the Powell River Road link, recognizing that the big economic benefit from cycling tourism are from those that use hotels and local restaurants.
The impacts to different transportation modes from a fixed link are disturbing as this will significantly impact people that have no other transportation options – in particular, youth, seniors and people with low income.


  1. The comment on Sechelt commuters and cyclists and concern for them raises a bugbear with me. BC Ferries gets a 257 essentially highway service bus to and from Vancouver under the aegis of West Vancouver Blue Bus which, in reality, mainly services both Vancouver Island residents and those of the Sunshine Coast. West Vancouver residents get high transit taxes, no subsidy for the 257 by the ferries/province and for those of us near but not near enough to Horseshoe Bay only a half hour crowded bus service on the 250 Blue Bus. Why is there no subsidy from BC Ferries to TransLink while the non-residents get a fast service paid for by TransLink taxpayers? Even the oft raised suggestion of moving the Lions Bay shuttle bus from the nonstop Upper Levels highway route from Caulfeild Village to Horseshoe Bay and instead to Westport Road and Marine Drive to service three schools, a shopping centre, Gleneagles community centre, restaurants, marina and golf course gets silence from TransLink. It would supplement a bare 250 service in this area. Where is the concern for the hundreds of students, senior citizens and working people rather than a grandiose electioneering ploy for the Sunshine Coast?. I don’t think it is a serious proposition and agree that the ferries should stay and the often talked about passenger ferries from Vancouver harbour to Gibsons/Langdale be offered instead.But why be practical instead of grandiose.

  2. I’m not a big fan of the fixed line, but if it were built, wouldn’t that provide for a faster transit link between Sunshine Coast and Vancouver?
    Another option might be to provide foot passenger/bike ferry service from Gibsons to downtown Vancouver. Much more pleasant than driving and possibly faster given existing motor vehicle congestion.

  3. Presumably the car ferry service to Langdale would stop altogether with a bridge.
    A passenger ferry service to Sechelt as the only major town would make sense to Vancouver, perhaps with a pit stop in Gibsons.
    Land values will triple. It will be a major construction and tourism boom.
    We need to develop BC close to Vancouver as we have tons of empty hinterland still that is undeveloped for generations. We are so blessed.
    But most likely the FN and eco-freaks will kill – or severely delay – this bridge anyway, like they did with Lionsgate which is a far higher priority extension/widening for 10 times the folks.
    I’ll check back here in 2040 on progress.

    1. Thomas, please let me know where all the cars are going to end up when you increase the capacity of the Lions Gate Bridge for 10x as many vehicles. Or are you talking about rail or a huge cycling bridge for bikes and e-bikes?

      1. Who said 10x ? Perhaps 2-3x woudl suffice or better yet: a rail link, ideally a north shore loop via LionsGate’s and Second narrow’s triple decker (one for cars at $10/crossing or $20 at rush hour, 7 lanes, one below for rail and one above for peds & bikes)

  4. crime will go up with a fixed link. just as it did in Calgary and many other city suburbs when train service was extended to said suburbs.

    1. Perhaps the crime rate fostered by public transit should be compared to the crime accommodated by cars. It’s rather difficult to carry a stolen big screen TV on C-Train.

    1. Yeah. Sailing boats even better. Or let’s all leave. So much better for the environment, too !
      Note the diesel fumes, btw.
      Air thick with coal and soot from wood burning stoves 100 years ago in downtown Vancouver. That was better ?

    2. Hilarious. A quaint painting of the Princess Joan, in Nanaimo, built in the 1930s, obsolete & decommisioned maybe in the 1950s, when the pop of Metro was probably half a milion. Let’s get retro and bring back tuberculosis! A particular community in the region has recently managed to bring back record rates of gonorrhea & infectious syphilis.
      Relevance to discussion? Zero.

    3. So, historical precedence is to be dismissed then? I beg your pardon.
      Passenger ferries have off-the-chart relevance to this topic from any angle in comparison to a $7.5 billion mega highway (cost, urban impact, environmental ….).
      Here’s a modern version of the above historic service:

  5. Well presumably the link would have a standard width paved shoulder, so it would be possible (although maybe not pleasant) to cycle from Vancouver to the SC. The project would have no impact on the cycling within the SC, which, as I recall, is atrocious as there are currently little or no shoulders on the existing SC coast “highways” (which are currently little more than paved logging roads).
    Also presumably bus services like the SC Connector would move over to the new link when it was built, so there would be no impact there. I’m not sure what effect the link would have on local bus services, but my guess would be that they would have to be expanded simply because there are more people around.

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