Local residents were planning to be on hand March 27 in the BC Legislature as local MLA Nicholas Simons presented a petition with over 6,000 signatures calling for major improvements to Highway 101. The petition urges the provincial government to consider a highway bypass route and other upgrades to help resolve vehicle transportation issues facing the Lower Sunshine Coast.
Members of the Sunshine Coast 101 Committee who organized the petition were travelling to the provincial capital for the presentation. SCRD Chairperson Lori Pratt, who was scheduled to be in Victoria on business that day, also planned to be there.
The petition was to be presented during the afternoon Question Period.
Simons also arranged for a meeting between committee representatives and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Claire Trevena.
Committee representative Robin Merriott is hopeful that the Minister will take the petition’s message seriously. His view is that the volume of petition signatures, along with support from Sechelt council, the SCRD Board, the local Chamber of Commerce and from Mark Collins, president and chief executive officer of BC Ferries Corporation, make a compelling call for improvements to Highway 101.
“We contend that our area doesn’t really have a highway,” said Merriott. “What we have is a two-lane road serving as our main transportation route. In its current state, Highway 101 is simply inadequate for the volume of residential, commercial and visitor traffic that make use of it. The only vehicle crossing over Chapman Creek is a narrow bridge, built over 60 years ago. With no alternate routes available if the highway gets blocked, there are no options for travellers to access the area hospital or either ferry terminal.”
The committee, which formed out of the Davis Bay Parkway Society, is calling for the creation of a state- of-the-art highway to carry traffic efficiently from Langdale to Sechelt. It wants the province to commit to upgrades that will make Highway 101 a safe route for vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and transit services. The group is also advocating for the highway to bypass sections of the current route to avoid the popular Davis Bay Seawall area and areas that have intensive residential development.