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As well, the 21 st annual B.C. Corvette Club Car Show rolled into Whistler as planned on Saturday. Many took the alternate route to Whistler, reportedly enjoying the road and the views — the driving time was anywhere from six to nine hours from Vancouver, depending on traffic.
“As soon as I heard the highway was closed, I though perhaps the club members wouldn’t want to drive the extra time to get to Whistler,” said organizer Vic Nighscales. “But I did a couple of surveys of the participants, and the vast majority wanted to be there and keep the event going. Whistler is a special destination for us, and this event is something that’s very special to our members because of Whistler. The enthusiasm just knocked me out of my chair.”
In Whistler, the slide caused temporary shortages on Wednesday evening, as residents snapped up groceries and items like bottled water, and filled up their gas tanks. However the shortages were only temporary, as shipments of food and fuel continued as usual from the northern route as early as Thursday afternoon.
From a public safety perspective, only a handful of people were airlifted from the Whistler Health Care Centre to Vancouver during the closure.
“There were a few flown out (four as of Friday), but they would have been flown out regardless of the slide, so there was no impact at all,” said Anna Marie D’Angelo, public affairs officer for the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. “B.C. Ambulance set up a water taxi if it was needed, and a lot of people were still able to get in and out in various ways so there were no problems.”
Several water taxi services emerged to transport visitors from Squamish to Horsehose Bay, including Squamish Tugs, members of the yacht club, and Whistler-based Canadian Snowmobile Adventures.
Allan Crawford, owner of CSA, started to run a water taxi using a boat they purchased in order to offer sea kayaking tours next summer. They ran their first trip on Wednesday, July 30 with three trips a day scheduled through the weekend.
Within hours of getting their first calls, Crawford had arranged CSA’s first trip, and by Thursday they had a schedule in place for customers. Prices ranged from $80 to $200.
Crebo says there is no way to guarantee against future slides, but that regular geotechnical assessments are made to spot potential problems. Next summer, Crebo says a large-scale assessment and maintenance is planned for the entire length of highway.