The proponents of the controversial Garibaldi at Squamish (GAS) resort proposal, which has been dormant for the past two-plus years, appear ready to again raise the project's profile in Squamish.
An “informal update” on the project — which has been out of the spotlight since June 2010, when B.C.'s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) ordered environmental certification for the project on hold pending receipt of more complete information — is planned next Thursday (Nov. 22) at the Squamish Adventure Centre, according to a notice posted on the Squamish Speaks Facebook forum on Friday (Nov. 16).
The presentation, scheduled to last three hours, aims to serve as an update “about the project and the current status of the environmental assessment process,” the notice stated.
The GAS proposal has been in the public eye off and on in its various forms for the past two-plus decades. At its heart is a proposed ski resort on Brohm Ridge, just outside the Garibaldi Provincial Park boundary.
Different iterations of the project have been put forward, all including a significant residential component and other amenities including a commercial component and one or more golf courses.
The 1997 GAS proposal put forward by Wolfgang Richter included a 2,580-hectare footprint, on which the proponents planned to build 13,000 bed units (both overnight accommodation and single- and multi-family housing units) and a daily skier capacity of 12,000.
A more recent proposal envisioned a four-season resort on 3,238 hectares of Crown land with almost 22,000 bed units of accommodation — about two-thirds the size of Whistler — two golf courses and a ski area with 25 lifts.
In June 2010, then-Environment Minister Barry Penner announced that the EAO had put the environmental certification process for the latter project on hold pending receipt of additional information related to the project's potential adverse environmental impact.
That decision to put the assessment process on hold was made jointly by Penner and Kevin Krueger, then B.C.'s minister off tourism, arts and culture. Impact on the area's watercourses was cited as a key area of concern. At the time, the proponents were given until June 2013 to provide the requested information.
“I have a particular concern around the potential impact to fish and other aquatic species in Brohm Creek,” Penner said at the time. “Minister Krueger also expressed specific concerns about public safety given that a number of dams were proposed above some of the residential facilities.”
Before the B.C. government announced that decision, both the District of Squamish council of the day and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District board had voiced opposition to the project in its current form.
In March 2012, the B.C. government approved an environmental certificate for the controversial Jumbo Glacier Alpine Resort near Invermere. Jumbo, which has some similarities to the GAS proposal, had been proposed for many years.
The Chief's attempts to reach GAS spokespersons David Negrin and Kevin Hoffman for details on what's planned at the Nov. 22 meeting were unsuccessful.
Admission to the meeting, slated to run from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., is free, but those wishing to attend are asked to register by visiting garibaldiatsquamish.eventbrite.ca/