Archive:Brohm Ridge Ski Development

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The Garibaldi at Squamish (GAS) resort is back on the table, and is undergoing a joint Environmental Assessment and Master Plan review. The public comment period for the review begins June 21st 2007 and ends Aug 5 2007.

Submissions by the proponent are available on the EAO Homepage for the GAS Project for review. Please feel free to read these and submit comments to the EAO office by email. Hard copies of the proposal and consultant's reports are also available at the Squamish Library.

The Process

  • Two reviews are being conducted together. One is the environmental assessment, which looks at the environmental impacts of the project. The other review is the resort master plan, which looks at the suitability of the resort design (suitable ski terrain, balanced resort capacity, etc.). The environmental review is conducted by the Environmental Assessment Office and the master plan review is conducted by the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Arts. The review leaders are Graeham McLaren (EAO), Terry Pratt (MTSA) and Bill Hunter (MTSA)
  • A 180 day review periods started on June 7th, 2007. EAO and MTSA will aim to complete their report in this time frame.
  • A 45 day public comment period begins June 21, 2007, and ends August 5th, 2007. Comments may be submitted through the EAO website above. All comments received will be applied to both the environmental and master plan portions of the review.
  • The EAO cannot stop a project, only attach conditions to make the environmental impact of the project acceptable. However, these conditions may make the project economically unviable. EAO can force the resort to reduce it's size, stay out of sensitive areas, etc.
  • After the EAO submits their report to the government, cabinet will have 45 days to make a decision on the project.

How to make a diference

Everyone is strongly encouraged to read and make comments on the proposal. The more comments are received about a particular issue, the more pressure there is on the proponent and the review panel to do something about it. Do comment on issues that matter to you, and not necesarily on all of the issues, so that you don't want to come across as too much of a whiner.

In your email or letter, do mention your affiliation with the VOC and the Federation of Mountain Clubs. The VOC and FMCBC will be submitting comments and the club comments will carry more weight if lots of members point out their affiliation in their own personal comments. If there is lots of public support on a particular issue, the FMCBC may be able to participate in negotiations on behalf of it's members.

All letters should be sent to the following address:

Graeme McLaren
Project Assessment Director
Environmental Assessment Office
PO Box 9426 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria BC, V8W 9V1
Fax: (250) 356-6448

and emails: [email protected]

VOC letter April 3, 2008


Issues

This section outlines some issues of concern to VOC members about the project.

Impacts to Garibaldi Park

  • GAS has proposed a 65m wide undeveloped crown land buffer strip between the resort and the park.
  • The ski area will be immediately adjacent to Garibaldi Park. Past experience with this situation and Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains has resulted in significant encroachment by the ski area into the park. The legislature can change the park boundary at will, and in the recent past they have done so without any public consulation or debate. The current GAS master plan does not call for any intrusion into the park, but this is not adequate protection. In the future, the owner(s) of GAS may lobby the government to change the park boundary and then apply to change their resort master plan to put ski lifts in areas that are presently part of Garibaldi Park. In order to prevent this scenario, a legally binding provision should be made to prevent the ski area from ever expanding into land that is now part of the park. Such an agreement must be legally binding even under a change of ownership of the resort, or in the event the the resort goes bankrupt. Options for achieving this restriction include:
    • Placing a covenant on the land the resort is situated on
    • Placing a covenant on proposed 65m buffer strip of land between the resort boundary and the park
    • Transferring ownership of the proposed 65m buffer strip to a non profit 3rd party such as the nature conservancy
    • Writing restrictions into the master plan agreement.
  • Consultant reports play down the attractiveness of ski terrain in the warren glacier area. This is excellent moderately difficult ski touring terrain, and lift assisted access from the resort will make it very popular. In particular, many skiers will cross the Garibaldi Neve traverse in one day, starting from the ski area and finishing at Diamond Head parking lot. The total distance and cumulative elevation gain for this tour are only 24km and 750m once lift Q is in place. Also, many skier will climb and ski from the summit of Mt. Garibaldi as a day trip throughout the winter.
  • Access to the Burton Hut will be considerably easier, requiring only 11km of skiing and 300m of cumulative elevation gain from the top of lift Q.
  • Consultant reports estimate that 5000 skiers per year will enter Garibaldi Park, with a maximum daily use of 100 skiers. This figure seems like a reasonable estimate, but it is considered fairly heavy use in backcountry skiing terms. This estimate is not consistent with other parts of the document that predict low backcountry skier use.
  • Backcountry skiers often return to the ski area after the closure of the lifts. This may be problematic if backcountry returnees arrive at Lift P after it has closed. From the bottom of lift P, the uphill slopes are very steep so the most attractive option is skiing out down S Culliton Creek through Garibaldi Park to near the base of the resort. This scenario needs to be considered because of it's potential impact on Garibaldi Park, for it's operational safety concern, and for it's impact on parking requirements. A pedestrian bridge over the creek downstream of the park would help ease some of the concerns here.

Back Country Access

  • GAS has proposed a backcountry access corridor along a ski run. However, the description is quite vague. At Mt. Seymour the ski area operator has been reluctant to provide a reasonable backcountry access corridor, and their operating permit only has vague requirements.
  • The following guidelines are suggested for a backcountry access corridor:
    • The corridor should be seperate from downhill ski runs. Mt. Seymour has identified skiing up a downhill ski run as an operational safety hazard.
    • The corridor should be used by skiers going uphill and snowshoers going either direction. Backcountry skiers returning from the backcountry should be allowed to use a regular ski run, whether or not they have purchased a single ride backcountry access lift ticket.
    • The corridor should start from the highest regularly plowed road possible. This will ensure that backcountry users park in the designated area and do not try to get an extra elevation boost by parking in higher parts of the resort where they may be less welcome.
  • Parking needs for backcountry users have not been adequately addressed in the master plan proposal. 4 categories need to be considered Day use vs. Overnight use and lift access vs. self propelled access. For all categories, returning to the ski area after the lifts close (including to lift P) is a possibility.
  • Under what circumstances will backcountry skiers exiting Garibaldi Park be allowed to use lift P to regain the ridge crest?
  • Vol 9, chapter 12-3 proposes that skier seeking single ride lift tickets must submit an application to the resort 24 hours in advance, and that this is the same procedure used at Whistler. However, this is factually incorrect as single ride lift tickets can be obtained at whistler without prior notification.

Brohm Lake Interpretive Forest

  • Under the proposed development plan, the Brohm Lake Interpretive Forest will pretty much become a golf course and / or residential housing.
  • Cat Lake recreation site will also be blown away for a golf course. Are two golf courses necessary for the resort? There are already 2 golf courses in Squamish, 3 in Whistler and 1 proposed in the lower Callaghan valley between Squamish and Whistler.

Black Tusk Snowmobile Club

The BTSC cabin of Brohm Ridge will be displaced by the resort. Any compensation for BTSC must be negotiated through the Winter Backcountry Sharing Forum to ensure that backcountry skiers don't get shafted as a result of the settlement between BTSC and GAS.