The following letter was written to Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and an edited version shared with Coast Reporter.
As you know, our society has spent a great deal of time over the last few years analyzing the opportunities and challenges of delivering a real highway for the Southern Sunshine Coast. We are disappointed that our input was not sought prior to drafting your alternative route study. It seems you do not want real, constructive, verifiable input from people here on the Coast (except perhaps the shíshálh people.) If you had reached out, our expertise would have enabled you to focus on the core issues rather than providing so many frankly irrelevant or unworkable options and in some cases including inaccurate data and comments.
Some of our members attended the information session on June 23 but found it unsatisfactory. Questions asked via the Q&A function could not be seen by the public and some of those attending have since complained that their questions were not answered by your team. Further, a great deal of time was taken revisiting the content of the document that you circulated previously. Such is unnecessary as people attending will have read the document.
On a related issue, we find it curious that your online survey deadline is set for July 28 – one day before the BC Day weekend (likely the busiest traffic period of the year). We suggest that continuing the survey until a week after Labour Day will ensure you get the benefit of people’s input based on current information.
We stand ready to meet with senior members of your team at your earliest convenience.
Robin Merriott, for Sunshine Coast Highway Society