Garibaldi Alpen down to ‘final-final’ deadline 

Decision on proposed ski resort at Brohm Ridge expected in new year

Proponents of the Garibaldi at Squamish ski resort submitted their final proposal package to the B.C. Assets and Lands Corporation last week, but it will likely be some time in the new year before the fate of the project is decided.

"A final-final deadline has been set," BCAL’s Charles Littledale said last week.

"If they don’t have it this time I don’t think we’ll see it."

"I’m encouraged by the discussions but I wouldn’t bet on it," Littledale concluded.

The "final-final" deadline is likely the last opportunity for Garibaldi’ at Squamish principal Wolfgang Richter, who has dreamed of developing a ski resort on the slopes of Brohm Ridge since he first explored the area in March of 1978. At that time he was sent to Brohm Ridge by an uncle, who had been asked to find an investor to take over Adi Bauer’s earlier failed attempt to build a ski resort on the flanks of Mount Garibaldi, north of Squamish.

In 1996 Richter’s Garibaldi Alpen group won the exclusive rights to proceed with planning a four-season resort on Brohm Ridge. In February of 1997 he signed an interim four-year agreement with the province to explore resort development. During that period Garibaldi Alpen was expected to come up with a detailed plan that showed how and when the resort could meet the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act and the Commercial Alpine Ski Policy.

After initial review of Garibaldi Alpen’s report, the Environmental Assessment office determined there were outstanding issues that needed to be resolved and the project would proceed to the second stage of the Environmental Assessment process. Garibaldi Alpen was asked to file a detailed impact assessment, or project report, to address issues such as sewage management and water supply, impacts on Garibaldi Provincial Park, impacts on regional growth, traffic management and socio-economic and project viability.

Further work was done but Garibaldi Alpen ran into financial troubles. An office in Squamish was closed last year and money is needed for further studies. Richter is believed to have spent much of the last year negotiating financing and development partnerships.

Meanwhile, the four-year interim agreement expired last Feb. 28. BCAL granted Richter a 60-day extension, to April 30. On the afternoon of April 30 Richter submitted a report to BCAL, but the corporation sought a legal opinion on the submission.

Among Richter’s problems was a law suit filed by First Capital Investment for $1.2 million loaned to Garibaldi Alpen.

This past summer BCAL asked for a complete package from Richter – details on financing, real estate development, resort construction and marketing, as well as the outstanding environmental studies. BCAL also sought information about each of the companies and individuals that Richter proposed be involved in the resort development – should it meet the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act and the Commercial Alpine Ski Policy – before it would make a decision on the application.

A variety of circumstances have delayed Garibaldi Alpen putting the package together. For example, Littledale was scheduled to meet with the financier in mid-September but that meeting was postponed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The package was finally submitted late last week. Littledale predicted it will take BCAL some time to review the information and make a decision on whether Garibaldi Alpen retains exclusive rights to develop the area or forfeits those rights.

If BCAL decides Garibaldi Alpen is no longer in the picture it could entertain other applications, either to develop the area or for tenure to use Brohm Ridge for a commercial backcountry operation.

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