The proponent behind Garibaldi at Squamish (G@S), the year-round resort development proposed for Cat Lake and Brohm Ridge, has agreed to help fund the District of Squamish as it continues to develop a position on the proposal — this after the environmental assessment process has again been held up.
“It’s holding all of us up,” said Mike Esler, company president and CEO, of the time spent formulating an official line.
Meanwhile, a public information session Squamish council had previously scheduled for May has been moved to June, apparently because of the hold up in provincial circles. In the interim, the proponent has agreed to supply the District of Squamish with a physical impact and socio-economic study, two reports district staff called essential to formulating a recommendation.
At council’s request, G@S will host a public information meeting in advance of the district forum.
Esler also pledged to open an information office in Squamish.
“The objective of everyone in the room is to educate the public,” Esler said. “We would love an open house. We would like to set it up properly.”
According to Esler, it was not immediately clear why the environmental assessment process hit a snag. “I think you felt you had to weigh in because you thought the environmental assessment process was basically over. So did we.”
A spokesperson from the province’s environmental assessment office said more information is needed in the form of an impact study.
The deadline for public input passed in early April. Though it was held up for a few months, the period for public input comprised a total of 180 days. Government officials were supposed to prepare a report for elected representatives by May 8, and a ministerial ruling was due within 45 days of that time. A full certificate could be issued, as could one that calls for increased assessment, a scenario that may or may not involve further public input.
While around in various incarnations since the 1970s, the G@S proposal — which now includes 25 ski lifts, two golf courses and thousands of residential units stretching some nine kilometers north of Cat Lake — has been intensely controversial, with relentless opposition coming from such groups as the Save Garibaldi Group and the Squamish Environmental Conservation Society.