Down to the wire 

Decision on ski resort expected in June

It’s all or nothing now for the Garibaldi at Squamish ski resort proposal. The group behind the project, Garibaldi Alpen, has had its exclusive rights to proceed with planing a four-season resort on Brohm Ridge suspended until the end of June.

"Basically that puts everything in a holding pattern," said Charles Littledale of the B.C. Assets and Lands Corporation. "That basically gives BCAL enough time to review all of the information and go back to Garibaldi with a decision. We felt this was fair for them and fair for us and all of those involved," he said. "There is quite an extensive creditor list and other interests so that is where it stands."

Garibaldi Alpen principal Wolfgang Richter said he has no complaints and he is confident his proposal will get the go-ahead to proceed. "I am very content with BCAL and its evaluation of our situation. We are in concert with them."

Richter won exclusive rights to proceed with planing a four-season resort on the slopes of Brohm Ridge in 1997. Under the subsequent interim agreement with the province, he had four years to come up with a plan that details how and when the Environmental Assessment and Commercial Alpine Ski Policy requirements will be met.

He also had to show that he has the financial wherewithal to follow through on the project.

That interim agreement expired Feb. 28 this year but BCAL granted Richter a 60-day extension, to April 30.

In the late afternoon hours of April 30 Richter submitted a package to BCAL. Littledale said the package was complicated from a legal perspective. He was hoping to have a legal decision by Thursday, May 10.

"But our lawyer basically raised more questions than answers. It’s becoming more complex than I expected," said Littedale. "So we have notified Garibaldi Alpen that we need more time to review it."

Among the issues to be weighed by the province is the law suit faced by the Garibaldi Alpen group.

First Capital Investment is suing for just over $1.2 million for monies loaned the group but Richter said he hopes to settle out of court. This is the second suit filed by First Capital. The first, said Richter, was settled amicably. "It’s all under control." He added the latest suit was a minor issue in the bigger scheme of the resort proposal.

"BCAL needs to take a closer look at the proposed agreement and the (proposal) for dealing with credit liabilities and the relationship of all of that to their proposed project plan," noted Littledale.

"They (Garibaldi Alpen) basically built around the Environmental Assessment requirements plus BCAL’s requirements under the Commercial Alpine Ski Policy," Littedale said of the proposal.

He said the Crown now needs to take a good look at how the two sets of requirements interrelate and "to see if we are comfortable with the viability of the plan and also the viability of the whole project."

Richter said he has proven viability on several occasion. One of his bigger challenges, however, has been in finding the right financial partners.

He said he is not yet ready to disclose who his backers are. "It would be inappropriate at this stage."

Richter said BCAL’s timing is good. A nod to proceed by the end of June will allow him to use the summer months to get onto the mountain and do more planning. Ideally, he hopes to see something in the ground by 2003.

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