Editor’s note: This is a letter to Chris Hamilton, executive project director for the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office in Victoria. It was copied to The Chief for publication.
We are writing to you to express our concerns about the Garibaldi at Squamish (GAS) project proposed for the Brohm Lake/Ridge area north of the town of Squamish.
We have reviewed the proponent’s response to your request for additional information and are disappointed in the lack of specific detail provided, particularly with respect to the long-term impact on the environment.
We object to the GAS project for a number of specific reasons as outlined below:
• The very steep gravel terrain has to be contoured to suit housing development and these disturbances and movement of massive volumes of material will result in large increases in the sediment carried downstream by the Brohm River.
• For the supply of water to support households, the proponent proposes to withdraw water, 70 litres/second, from Paradise Valley. The proponent’s studies indicated that the treated sewage would be discharged east of Highway 99 and south of Brohm Lake, essentially to the Brohm River. The flow of treated sewage discharge and nitrogen enriched golf course runoff would, at times, constitute 20 per cent of the Brohm River water flow of 370 litres/second (calculated based on the proponent’s studies) during the late summer months.
• The so-named Brohm River is really a small pristine mountain stream crucial for fish habitat, particularly the breeding of Steelhead trout. The high flow of sewage discharge, the resultant increase in water temperature and the additional sediment load will dramatically change the ecology of the stream and devastate the Steelhead trout population.
The proponent’s own studies acknowledge this fact: “The development of the Garibaldi at Squamish (GAS) project as proposed will potentially alter the process mechanisms by which both water and sediment are delivered to the stream…”
• The area proposed for development is environmentally sensitive since it is part of, or adjacent to, prime habitat for deer, grizzly bear, wolverines, mountain goats and spotted owls. The proponent has not included a plan for the safeguarding the natural habit of these animals and birds.
• The area proposed for development is very steep and rugged and is not considered to be geologically stable. Recontouring the landscape will only increase the risks for further slides and the ultimate destruction of the wildlife habitat.
• The project would seriously limit the Brohm and Cat Lake recreational areas. Their use by the general public for picnicking, swimming, hiking, biking, snowmobiling and backcountry skiing would be severely curtailed by the development to the detriment of the citizens of British Columbia for the benefit of a few developers.
Preserving this unique environmentally sensitive Crown land for the future enjoyment of our children, and theirs, would be a wonderful legacy of which we could all be proud.
For these reasons, we urge you, your colleagues and the Ministry of the Environment to reject the subject proposal for the resort development at Garibaldi at Squamish.
We urge you and your minister to visit the area personally to gain an appreciation of the steep and rugged terrain, the beauty of these mountain lakes and the mountain stream that is named Brohm River.
David and Gerd Moore