The mayor of Powell River says a fixed-connection from his community to the Lower Mainland would help the town grow because people wouldn't have to deal with problem ferries anymore.

The B.C. government announced a $250,000 feasibility study into a possible highway link from the Vancouver area to the Sunshine Coast Wednesday. The Sunshine Coast, which includes the communities of Gibsons, Sechelt and Powell River, is currently accessible only by ferry or air.

Powell River is slowly growing, but the lack of a road-connection deters people from coming to the town, said mayor Dave Formosa.

"Even a connection into the lower coast would be great — anything to eliminate the ferry problems we're having."

Residents in the area have complained about increasingly unreliable ferry service in recent years, including an incident in January 2016 where a ferry and its replacement broke down.

People have argued about building a fixed-connection between the Sea-to-Sky area to the Sunshine Coast for decades, but Formosa says he has heard more positive feedback from other mayors along the coast in recent years.  

Powell River residents are receptive to the idea," he said.

"I think people are prepared to pay a toll. I know Power River folks will be."

The study will consider four possible connections, including bridge connections along the coast, or a highway link around Jervis Inlet according to Minister of Transportation Todd Stone.

To listen to the full audio, click the link labelled: Highway to Powell River means no more ferry problems mayor says.