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Sea to Sky upgrade delays less than Culliton Creek



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"I think what is important is to maintain the traffic regimes…and make sure we’re building a quality product," said Milburn.

He also stressed there were challenges with noise mitigation and well as protecting habitat in the area.

The municipality is already meeting with the Ministry of Transportation on a monthly basis to ensure the resort’s concerns are addressed within the construction model.

Among the municipality’s major concerns is that the province recognizes the uniqueness of the resort community, especially as an economic generator, but also that construction minimizes impacts to the natural environment and air quality.

Wendy Horan, president of the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, was also at the open house.

Though she impressed by the amount of preliminary ecological due diligence done on the variety of habitat species along the highway, she said her major concern is in the next steps.

"Hopefully, the future contractors brought in to accomplish the expansion will ensure that their footprints are minimized and that the legwork accomplished by the initial surveys will be noted and respected," she said after the meeting.

"The consultants have stood by a ‘no net habitat loss’ policy but we shall see how the final economics affects this. I hope that the environment will not suffer greatly in this endeavour. We will be keeping our eyes on it."

AWARE won’t be the only group keeping up-to-date on the EAO process. A Vancouver non-profit group called Better Environmentally Sound Transportation, or BEST, has been following the development of the Sea to Sky Highway project since last fall. Though the government has conducted several impact studies, BEST says there are more alternatives to be considered.

"We think that they clearly haven’t given adequate consideration to the alternatives," said Kevin Washbrook, a consultant with BEST.

"So way before any discussion about the alignments or grade separations or all that kind of stuff, we think they haven’t looked sufficiently at supply options and demand options."

BEST argues the government should be giving more consideration to alternative transit like ferries, buses and train travel. In addition they should be looking at how to better manage the demand for travel in the corridor by implementing things like a public transit commuter service between Squamish and Whistler, as well as encouraging people to car pool or work from home.

"I think if you put all these little things together you’re going to get a more satisfactory result than if you try and just put all your eggs in one basket like a highway," said Washbrook.