Whistler highway needed upgrade

Dear editor,
Re: Connect the transportation dots (Record, Aug. 31).
As someone who lived in Whistler for a very long time, it amuses me every time a discussion about the state BC Ferries includes mention of the money that was spent upgrading Highway 99 to Whistler.

Dear editor,Re: Connect the transportation dots (Record, Aug. 31).As someone who lived in Whistler for a very long time, it amuses me every time a discussion about the state BC Ferries includes mention of the money that was spent upgrading Highway 99 to Whistler.Over the course of 20 years (1980-2000), the permanent population of Whistler increased from fewer than 1,000 to approximately 10,000. Its weekend population went from 5,000 to 50,000.This phenomenal and unprecedented pace of development created thousands of jobs regionally (Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton) and supported many more throughout the Lower Mainland for years. Yet during that entire time the only road improvement of any consequence that was made to Highway 99 was the seven-kilometre realignment in the Cheakamus Canyon at a cost of $7 million.It was high time the Province improved Highway 99. The Province owed the region a better road after collecting taxes from all of this concentrated economic activity for 20 years. One can only guess at the amount but I bet its in the billions. Today, Whistler, a tiny little valley two miles wide by seven miles long (roughly the size of Hornby Island) accounts for 10 per cent ($1 billion) of the total annual tourism revenue of the entire province). If that does not deserve a good and safe road, what does?When I was vacationing from Whistler to Vancouver Island in the late ’90s I was in awe, and frankly a bit jealous, while driving on the newly built Inland Highway. What a beautiful road! I didn’t begrudge the region for having a much better road built through it than it really needed given the traffic volumes between Parksville and Campbell River. I don’t remember anybody complaining when the Province paved the road up to Mount Washington. Do you?When I moved to the Island years ago I made the decision to live on an island. I don’t complain about the ferries. I don’t use them much.Francois Lepine,Courtenay

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