A New Link, New Possibilities?
Talk of a fixed link to the Coast dominated the real estate landscape last year as many Lower Mainland purchasers became aware of the Coast and what was an oversupply in a soft market and began speculating on the upside of the market. This interest and excitement led to the strong numbers we saw in 2016 and it's my prediction we will see more of the same going into the Spring and a Provincial election.
Will Discussions Continue?
There are quite a number of good reasons for the Province to continue the discussion, none which have much bearing on providing local residents improved service! They are (in no particular order):
- BC loves a major infrastructure project and the employment and economics that go with them
- Higher than a typical bridge toll will ensure that a bridge is sustainable and profitable over the long term, as opposed to the huge and constant drain the BC Ferries has on provincial coffers
- A link would focus Horseshoe Bay terminal on Vancouver Island runs which are the most profitable for the system and Province. Horseshoe Bay is currently near capacity and reducing the demands for a Sunshine Coast ferry opens it up to more valuable use
- Property transfer taxes have become a huge boon to the provincial funding and a fixed link opens up a tremendous amount of new property and speculation to the Lower Mainland which we know is under huge national and international pressure
- By talking about a bridge, the Province avoids having to make any further substantial infrastructure spending on existing service. And what government doesn't like to defer decisions it really doesn't want to make?
So these are all big business, and the Province would be remiss not to consider the tangible future (economic) benefits of such a project. It's my prediction that we will shortly hear that a bridge to the Sunshine Coast is "feasible". Then let the politics begin!
But do We Really Want the Change?
There is little doubt that a fixed link will open up huge economic opportunities for the coast, and at the same time there is little doubt that it would change the nature of our Coast forever. Further, none of this has taken into consideration environmental impacts to our coastal area. Expect a long and raucous ride once the wheels get turning. There will be a lot of pros and cons to be argued!
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