Whistler’s Answers: February 17, 1983

In the 1980s the Whistler Question began posing a question to three to six people and publishing their responses under “Whistler’s Answers” (not to be confused with the Whistler Answer).  Each week, we’ll be sharing one question and the answers given back in 1983.  Please note, all names/answers/occupations/neighbourhoods represent information given to the Question at the time of publishing and do not necessarily reflect the person today.

Some context for this week’s question: An alternative route between Vancouver and the Garibaldi area through the Capilano Watershed was first proposed back in 1929, prior to the construction of Highway 99. In the early 1980s, a transportation committee with representatives from throughout the Howe Sound corridor, brought the idea back as an alternative to upgrading the existing route. Public opinion was divided over where the alternate route could be located, with some arguing the Capilano Watershed route would not change anything for Whistler, some arguing the proposal would interfere with a major fresh water source for Vancouver, and more arguing that the cost would be too high. At the time, the Duffy Lake Road was not open during the winter, though some proposed creating a circle route that would go from Whistler up through Lillooet and back to Vancouver.

Question: Are you in favour of the alternative route to Whistler going through Capilano Watershed?

Jon Paine – Structural Engineer – Emerald Estates

I think they should open the road that already goes through the watershed for use as an emergency route then improve it for long term access. It is a lot shorter and cheaper to build than the Harrison Mills route. I wonder how they will deal with plowing though if the route is just to be used for emergencies.

Mike Cleven – Musician – Emerald Estates

The loop would be the more useful route as visitors can then go straight north from Seattle and avoid tie-ups in Vancouver. It would also cut off a lot of time in the drive from Calgary. It’s fine if it has to be gravel at first. We might as well ram it through and concentrate on a more holistic plan, one which will open all kinds of recreation opportunities, for the long run. I just don’t like the idea of using our watershed.

Art Reid – Professional Engineer – North Vancouver

Sure, I think it’s okay to use the watershed route. They can control traffic once it’s built and during the building of the road crews could be very careful not to disturb the balance. To me the longer circuit route just doesn’t make sense – it’s not an attractive alternative to the present route. That distance has to be kept under 100 miles.

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