By Loreth Beswetherick
A $400,000 Ministry of Transportation and Highways study designed to produce a 25-year vision for transportation in the Sea to Sky Corridor is kicking into high gear.
Ministry spokesman Dan Mayberry said preliminary data gathering was started last year, key work is now underway and the study should be wrapped up by March 2000.
The study will look not only at the highway needs but also at potential rail, bus and marine links.
"In the past we have always focused solely on the road but this time we are looking at a multi-modal study," said Mayberry.
"Last year we did a bit of preliminary work to find out how many people go there, what their destinations are — is it Squamish, Whistler or beyond; how much traffic there is and how the peak seasons play out — is it summer and winter half and half... that sort of thing."
He said the key question is how are corridor transportation demands going to be met in the first 25 years of the new Millennium.
He said it is a "happy coincidence that the study ties in with the timing of the Vancouver/Whistler 2010 Winter Olympic bid.
"The bid didn't prompt the study but the study will help the bid committee and the government understand the transportation options," said Mayberry. "This information should be of use to the Olympic organizers."
People involved in the Olympic bid have said that a long-term transportation strategy for the corridor and the Lower Mainland would be part of an Olympic legacy.
Stakeholders — including the corridor municipalities, highway safety groups, First Nations and the Whistler Resort Association — should all be aware, at least remotely, that the study is being conducted, said Mayberry. "So, in March, when this thing is rolled up, we will have some pretty good data and we plan on sharing that with everybody at the time."
Once the study is wrapped up, projects and potential partnerships with organizations like BC Rail and BC Ferries will be identified and funding will be discussed.