Seeking local support for Third Crossing

Might Kamloops be the terminus for a new route to the Sunshine Coast?

  • Jan. 7, 2016 3:00 p.m.
Map shows suggested proposed route for Third Crossing linking the Lower Mainland and Interior.

Map shows suggested proposed route for Third Crossing linking the Lower Mainland and Interior.

Adam Williams – Kamloops This Week

Might Kamloops be the terminus for a new route to the Sunshine Coast?

That’s what Gary Fribance and the Third Crossing Society are hoping for after a government-issued request for proposals (RFP) has renewed talk of another route linking the Lower Mainland and Interior with the province’s coast.

The RFP, issued on Nov. 26, is seeking a consultant to lead the process of examining possible routes to the Sunshine Coast, soliciting and processing feedback from communities and interested parties while examining the business case of the project.

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA and Minister of Transportation Todd Stone said the province is in the early stages of what would be a “multi-billion-dollar project.

“What we do know is there’s a tremendous amount of untapped potential on the Sunshine Coast from an economic perspective that, if it were more convenient and more efficient to get to and from the Sunshine Coast, that economic potential could be unleashed,” he told KTW.

The RFP closed on Dec. 21 and had a budget of $250,000.

It lists four previously identified routes, including a Powell River to Highway 99 road link, a Port Mellon and Squamish road link, a Port Mellon and Highway 99 bridge link and an Earls Cove to Saltery Bay bridge.

Once a consulting firm is selected, it will have until late summer to submit the first draft of its report, with the final version following three to four months later.

It’s the link between Powell River and Highway 99 that Fribance, president of the Third Crossing Society, favours.

“Our proposed road would access us to both the Interior and the Lower Mainland,” he said.

The link would connect to Highway 99 south of Whistler and would allow travellers to access the Interior via Whistler, Pemberton, Lillooet, Cache Creek and, eventually, Kamloops.

“Transportation has always been a key to expanding economies,” Fribance said, citing the boon in Kamloops following the enhancement of the Fraser Canyon and construction of the Coquihalla Highway.

“I think our area and the north and central part of Vancouver Island have suffered with the demise of the forestry industry,” he said. “So have the Cariboo logging communities and so on.

“We’ve got an opportunity for significant economic growth by improving the transportation issues.”

The economic concerns aren’t exclusive to Powell River.