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New transportation ministry guidelines may mean no tolls on Sea to Sky Highway



New guidelines from the Transportation Ministry appear to have ruled out tolls on the Sea to Sky Highway.

"We are pleased with the announcement as this means the ministry has been very responsive to the community input," Whistler’s acting-mayor, Caroline Lamont, said Wednesday just after the announcement.

"The decision appears to be consistent with what the communities in the Sea to Sky had requested.

"Particularly that no tolling be imposed on routes that don’t have reasonable alternatives."

The 11-point government guideline policy states: "Tolls will be implemented only if a reasonable untolled alternative us available.

"The public has a right to a basic level of toll-free access."

The municipality will be meeting with officials in the transportation ministry May 5 to clarify any outstanding issues, said Lamont.

Last month the province once again raised the spectre of tolls on the Sea to Sky Highway.

The announcement was part of the spending outlined in the Liberal budget, which proposed a $2.4 billion plan for transportation infrastructure over the next three years.

It was not welcome news in the resort.

The municipality, Tourism Whistler, and the Whistler Chamber of Commerce immediately began to circulate a letter to encourage businesses and others to voice their opposition to tolls on the highway by writing to the minister of transportation, Judith Reid, and local MLA Ted Nebbeling.

Tourism Whistler, council, and the chamber have said they would only support tolls on Highway 99 if they were part of a province-wide strategy.

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