…that this Garibaldi At Squamish (GAS) ski resort project SHOULD NOT be happening. That’s my two cents.
I’ve mentioned this before and I’m raising it again now only because it’s on my mind. The count down is on. We (the Squamish community) are supposed to get results this month of January 2010 from the Brohm Ridge Environmental Assessment, which obviously fails, (again) but if it passes this time, it’s only because there was more money than heart involved. And the researchers or the council or everybody sold out to this 8 billion dollar deal — and to me that would be the most disappointing thing of all.
Of course, I don’t have a problem with Skiing, I don’t have an issue with proper development either, I don’t have any issue’s with opening up the backcountry and creating jobs and I can’t say I’m against swinging the golf clubs around. I do have problems with artificial fertilizers and other chemicals, I do have a problem with river and fish destruction, ESPECIALLY in such a sensitive area like Brohm Ridge and I do have a problem with losing our precious swimming holes.
They sell us with PICTURES. They sell us with DREAMS. They sell us with SOLID real estate profits. But what are we really getting? What are we REALLY buying into when we let a project of this magnitude elbow its way through the system? We are investing in the destruction of our rivers, our oceans and our planet. AGAIN. Why must we live like this? Why do they need 22,846 bed units, two 18 hole golf courses, 25 ski lifts, and 4 trillion hotels? Has everyone gone completely insane? How hard is it to begin with a modest project, like they did in the old days, and if it proves to be successful, and harmless, expand on it?
Here’s an article I found online from the Vancouver Sun, please read it, and decide for yourself what you believe in…
“Proponents of the Garibaldi At Squamish project at Brohm Ridge north of town are pitching their development as a financial boon for the economy of the community and the province, offering thousands of jobs, tourism activity and an estimated $8 billion in construction activity and spinoffs.
However a new environmental study obtained by The Vancouver Sun indicates that the project would devastate the Brohm River — one of the most productive wild steelhead and salmon streams in B.C.
Steelhead are large, seagoing rainbow trout that are the most prized freshwater sport fish in the province, but they are at death’s door throughout their range in the Georgia Basin — even on streams supported by hatcheries — because of habitat destruction and poor ocean survival conditions.
Brohm River is described in the report as “unique” in its exceptional ability to support young steelhead before their migration to the ocean — five times as productive for fish as a typical B.C. south coast river.
A report commissioned by the B.C. Conservation Foundation, paid for with money from sport fishing license sales, says the Brohm’s remarkable stream chemistry is the key.
The Brohm, one of two main steelhead nurseries for the Squamish River system, enjoys a naturally high level of phosphorus because of the volcanic geology of the area. That chemical supports an ideal food chain for raising fish.
Only two other B.C. streams, the Upper Dean River and the Blackwater River, have similar chemistry and both of those rank among the top angling streams on the planet.
The Garibaldi At Squamish development is proposed for the stream’s headwaters at Brohm Ridge and includes extensive water management plans, including up to five dams, extractions of water for snowmaking, golf course irrigation and potable water supply, storm water and sewage discharge, plus resort development that includes hotels, condominiums and other homes with a combined 22,000 bed units.
The report, written by former B.C. government steelhead biologist Pat Slaney, says the project would need to bring water in from another source to augment local resources to “ensure that a water demand-fish flow crisis does not develop over time.” The report also suggests that fertilizer runoff from the golf courses, and chemicals used in snow-making, could unbalance the stream’s beneficial chemistry.
The project was first submitted to the province’s Environmental Assessment Office in 1997 and resubmitted in 2007.
The assessment is now on hiatus while the proponents develop more data on the hydrology of the area, and is not expected to resume until January 2009.
Craig Orr, executive director of Watershed Watch Salmon Society, said it is “ironic” that the proposal is being examined at a time when the government is promoting its new Living Water Smart program including conservation and protection of streams and lakes
He said the B.C. government must decide if it’s more concerned about preserving streams, or promoting development.
Jack Cooley of Squamish Streamkeepers said his group is actively working to restore previous damage to fish habitat in the Brohm.
Cooley called the development a “real-estate grab” and said the Streamkeepers oppose it.
Garibaldi At Squamish president and CEO Mike Esler described Slaney’s work as “pure speculation.”
He said the company believes its project can be a model for water conservation.
“We are going to be a very green resort, no question,” he said in an interview.
He said he “disagreed” that the project would adversely impact stream chemistry.
“We are all over this. We are going to make sure this is done right.”
For more interesting reading on the subject, PLEASE click here.