British Columbia

A bridge between Gibsons and Vancouver? Mayor has 'mixed feelings'

Wayne Rowe says many people choose to move to his quiet seaside town because it's away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Wayne Rowe says many people move to his quiet seaside town to get away from the city

The town of Gibsons is divided over the potential for a highway or bridge connecting it to the Lower Mainland. (Google streetview)

The mayor of Gibsons says his constituents have "mixed feelings" about a potential fixed link between his quiet seaside town and Vancouver.

Wayne Rowe will be meeting with MLA Jordan Sturdy on Thursday to share his residents' views on the possibility of a road or bridge connecting B.C.'s Sunshine Coast to the Lower Mainland.

"There's lots of people who have moved to this area specifically to have a quieter or more rural lifestyle," Rowe told CBC Radio One's The Early Edition.

But, he said there are also those who feel differently after going through years of ups and downs in economic cycles.

The mayor of Gibsons, Wayne Rowe, says if a fixed link connected his town with the Lower Mainland, there would be "no question" that link would change the size and culture of his town. (Town of Gibsons)

"There are others who ... look forward to something that could increase the economic potential of this area."

The Sunshine Coast — which houses the communities of Gibsons, Sechelt and Powell River — is on the B.C. mainland, but cut off from the Vancouver area by deep inlets — and accessible only by ferry or air, but not by road.

In February, the provincial government launched a $250,000 feasibility study — something Rowe said he was "pleased" to see.

Rowe pointed to concerns with ferry service as part of the increasing desire to consider alternative connections.

"That's the frustration that's been mounting over the years," said Rowe. "Especially in the summertime, you could easily be sitting at a ferry line-up for close to four hours ... because they're full and you have to wait for the next one."

He recognized that if an alternative connection was built, it would drastically change the population and culture of the area.

"There's not too many directions for the Vancouver Metropolis to expand so I certainly [see] why they'd be looking at this as something in the future."

Over the last three months, he said he has seen a growing number of people moving to Gibsons. They range from those looking to cash in on Vancouver home sales to young professionals seeking more affordable houses.

With files from the CBC's The Early Edition

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Mayor of Gibsons on possible fixed link to his town


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