Originally Posted by Aroundtheworld
With the Massey Bridge, Site C Dam and now this, I find it hard to fathom how the province is so bent on building costly infrastructure we don't need (or at least not at this scale). Are construction companies really that big a special interest group from them?
"We don't need" - Says who?
For the sake of argument, electricity demands will never just top out and go down, especially when the City of Vancouver makes asinine decisions about what energy sources to use for heating. Hydroelectric energy is also 10 times more expensive than thermal (eg coal/natural gas.) In fact all the energy demands on the Pacific Northwest energy grid can be directly tied to political meddling in California to discontinue use of thermal energy generation there because it has a net air-quality improvement for everyone who lives east. There are alternative energy sources (especially Geothermal) that don't generate carbon, but they do still generate green house gases (eg water vapor is the byproduct of all energy sources except wind and photovoltaic solar.) Hydroelectric dams impair fish and other wildlife ecosystems, but they are the most cost effective "green" energy because they can be built anywhere there is a valley that can be plugged. But they are not infinitely renewable (see the Hoover Dam) and need to be stopped and recharged if drained too quickly, which necessitates customers use other more expensive energy sources.
Since all of Vancouver's energy generation comes from inland BC, the real risk of having Burrard Thermal shutdown is that in the event of a major emergency where the transmission lines to Vancouver are cut, there is no alternative source for Metro Vancouver. The Inter-ties can't pull all of Vancouver's energy through Bonneville. In the likely event of a Major Earthquake, chances are those lines will not be available either.
Massey is about goods movement, good or bad, unless the province wants to tell CN and CP not to push goods through Port Metro, that will top out when all the ports reach their capacity. This is why Deltaport is expanding to support 55% more traffic. Centerm is also expanding by about the same, that's the one at Waterfront.
Which brings us to what could be the ultimate reason for building out infrastructure along the sunshine coast. Ultimately it will result in a fixed link to Vancouver Island. That's clearly always been the end-game since that idea gets floated every year by politicians. That is about goods movement as well. However the current plans only go to Powell River, where the only other Ferry route to the Island is. So let's say that this fixed link gets us to Powell River. That's a 90 minute ferry ride, currently serviced by only one ferry, every 3 hours or so. So if vehicle and goods traffic is moved to Powell River, that clears up congestion at Horseshoe Bay/Nanaimo.
If you've ever taken the ferry at Horseshoe Bay or Nanaimo by car, chances are you've been in a line that has backed up onto the highway or through downtown Nanaimo.
One might ask what's the logistical point of all of this however, wouldn't more energy/fuel be burned with vehicles going to Powell River instead of Tsawwassen? Wouldn't it be more expensive? Well the ferry doesn't operate 24 hours. So the only real immediate improvement is emergency services on the Sunshine coast. What would make more sense is a fixed rail link to Vancouver Island's North/West coast, as that would bypass having to navigate the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the first place. You have to think 30 years ahead.
What you see here is the common theme of goods movement and emergency/safety improvements. If goods arrived at the Island in the first place, they wouldn't have to be trucked back to the Island from Vancouver via the ferry. Building this infrastructure just to get to Powell River alone doesn't make any sense since there is no time improvement versus the small capacity ferries.