Letter: On the topic of a Bridge

Wednesday, May 29 2019

A few years ago, the Transportation Ministry declared through a consultant’s report that it was financially unfeasible to build bridges to Gabriola, as the cost would be over $200 million.

After that report was issued, a group of islanders used MOTI data to consider the idea of having a bridge to replace our BC Ferries service. 

Using Transport BC bridge building cost values, it was then estimated that a bridge option would cost under $100 million and there would be a toll for debt retirement and maintenance. A key difference with this calculation was not having to build the bridge high enough to keep False Narrows as a commercial lane. Most, if not all, commercial traffic uses Dodd Narrows over False Narrows.

Bridges usually last for close to a 100 years if proper standards are met when built. The MOTI report compared bridge versus ferry within a 25-year period, absolutely favouring the ferry.

With no bridge, we continue to endure high ferry fares, ferry lineups, no transport service in the night hours, and that looks to persist another few years.

Then BC Ferries will spend millions on two new vessels (which should be good for around 30 years), as well as terminal upgrades; conservatively we believe this could mean over $100 million being spent on our route.

Folks might remember that when we had a Liberal Government our fares were set by the costs from our specific route. 

That should be considered a future risk because politics are unpredictable.

~ Erik Andersen