Concerns persist surrounding Garibaldi at Squamish resort proposal

Southwest BC

For 15 years, the FMCBC has expressed concern over the Garibaldi at Squamish (GAS) ski resort project, maintaining that if accepted, Squamish could lose the very reasons people are attracted to the area. The proposed $3.5 million resort at Brohm Ridge includes hotels, resort condos, extensive ski runs, and a projected 1.9 million annual visits to GAS. The FMCBC contends that this level of development will negatively impact non-motorized backcountry winter recreation and summer front country recreation, not to mention devastate the pristine wilderness for which the area is known.

At the direction of the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) last year, GAS has submitted a supplemental application, which removes two golf courses from the plan but persistently ignores our concerns regarding the significant impact on non-motorized recreation in the area. The FMCBC submitted two letters to the EAO last week — one reiterating our concerns with the supplemental application and another addressing the misrepresentation of their consultation with us in said application. Summarized below are our objections; the letters in their entirety are posted here and here.

–  Although the supplemental application shows minor adjustments to some portions of the project area boundary, the proposed buffers of 25 and 50 meters are insufficient to address the concerns of the non-motorized backcountry community.

–  Once established, we are concerned that the resort will want to expand their tenure area into Garibaldi Park as we saw when the borders of Garibaldi were re-drawn to accommodate the Whistler Backcomb Ski Resort expansion.

–  We are concerned that the sharing accord adopted by various winter backcountry recreation groups under the Sea-to-Sky Land Resource Management Plan will be compromised as snowmobilers become displaced by the development. This could lead to user group conflicts and would inevitably result in the loss of a non-motorized recreation area along the Sea-to-Sky corridor.

–  Resort development along the western side of Garibaldi Park will improve access to an undeveloped area lacking the facilities to accommodate an influx in visitors and has the potential to cause serious environmental damage to the park.

–  In GAS’s Executive Summary of their supplementary application, the FMCBC and two of our member clubs (the BC Mountaineering Club and the Varsity Outdoor Club) are erroneously listed as having been consulted. Neither the FMCBC or these member clubs have been consulted on the supplemental application and we feel the level of stakeholder engagement has been represented by GAS.

The deadline for public comments on the most recent proposal was last week, but we encourage members who are concerned about this project to send us their comments and/or send their own letter directly to the Environmental Assessment Office (see our letter for contact details). A decision on granting the proposal for an Environmental Certificate is expected this fall.

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