We need an Olympics, not an election

A newly-released Ministry of Transportation report shows there was a dramatic 66 per cent drop in the number of crashes on the Sea to Sky Highway in the year since a $600-million upgrade was done ahead of the 2010 Olympics.

From 2001 to 2009, the route averaged 215 crashes annually; there were 73 in 2010 — a busy Olympics year. This was due to improvements including new passing lanes, widened shoulders, more dividers, added lanes, better markings and more. Meanwhile, this weekend between Golden and Revelstoke there was another head-on, killing one and injuring four others.

The white-knuckle wagon trail through Rogers Pass that passes itself off as part of Canada’s national coast to coast highway needs upgrades badly — and that means funding participation from the federal government.

Sure, there have been big upgrades projects ongoing, but the route needs more done, and more done now. We’ve had stopgap and must-do projects, but where’s the vision? Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see a federal Parliamentary candidate who could articulate a vision for our stretch of the route? How about a concrete proposal that takes into account world’s-best safety practices, the latest in technology, and the projected challenges that climate change will bring to our avalanche and mudslide-swept track through imposing valleys and mountains?

Can we have a phased, multi-year plan that starts with low-hanging fruit to save lives right away, then ramps up to deal with serious long-term infrastructure needs? How about winning some votes with a solid dollar commitments from a federal leader?

Do we need it? You bet we do. Ask our mayor, ask our chamber of commerce, ask our tourism sector, our transportation sector, or just ask any local. Better yet, ask any unwitting urbanite who just risked their life hazarding the often treacherous deathtrap in winter on all-season tires.