Water-level testing for a proposed all-season resort on Brohm Ridge has been extended by seven days.
On Wednesday (Feb. 13), Garibaldi at Squamish (GAS) proponents planned to start pumping water from one 134-foot-deep well in the Paradise Valley, said Chris Gillham, the project’s infrastructure consultant. Originally, testing was scheduled for three days, but at the request of B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office, it has been extended to 10, he said.
“[The Environment Assessment Office] thought the 10-day test was appropriate because then you will see the impact, if any, on the Cheakamus River,” Gillham said.
The testing is a part of the 22,000-bed-unit, 25-ski-lift proposal’s latest effort to secure a water source and ultimately environmental certification for the four-season alpine resort. Three years ago, GAS hit a snag when the province ordered the development’s environmental certification process put on hold pending receipt of further information — a water source being the major component. GAS backers have until this June to provide the requested data.
Proponents don’t expect to run into problems, Gillham said. Mathematical models have demonstrated that drawing water at approximately 70 litres per second from the well may drop the flow of the Cheakamus River by 1.2 per cent. Water from the testing will be discharged into the river, affecting less than 5 per cent of its volume, Gillham said.
The news adds to distrust forming between GAS proponents and homeowners adjacent to the testing site, local environmentalist John Buchanan said. His concerns regarding the test haven’t changed, he said. Buchanan said he hopes drawing that much water doesn’t negatively affect nearby creeks and neighbouring wells.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” he said.
A third-party hydrogeologist retained by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office recommended that the proponent undertake a 10-day aquifer pumping test, the Ministry of Environment stated in an email to The Chief.
It is up to the proponent to decide whether to follow that recommendation, the email stated.
“However, if the proponent opts for a shorter test and it is later determined that additional information is required, the proponent will be responsible for collecting the additional information at that time, which may result in delays in the environmental assessment process,” it stated.