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A project report by proponents of the proposed Garibaldi at Squamish ski area, which was due this month, won’t be finished until later this summer. But Garibaldi Alpen Chairman Wolfgang Richter says his target is still to win provincial approval of the project this year and start construction in the spring of 2000. Richter said the delay in the project report is only to ensure the report is complete when it is submitted. "We’re confident the matter will be dealt with expeditiously when the report is received," he said this week. A year ago Garibaldi negotiated the May deadline date with the Environmental Assessment office, ensuring that there would be a deadline for provincial reviews of the project. Other proposed ski areas have been stuck in the Environmental Assessment process with no deadline, which has allowed various government departments to ask for more and more studies. Just before Christmas Richter received a letter from Premier Glen Clark which said in part, "I encourage you to continue your master planning exercise and assure you that we hope to approve this project for construction at the earliest opportunity in 1999, according to the time frame you have negotiated with the Environmental Assessment Office." Clark concluded his letter with the statement: "Please advise me if there is anything else my Cabinet colleagues or I can do to assist your efforts to bring this vital project to fruition in 1999." When Garibaldi’s project report is submitted to the Environmental Assessment office this summer it will provide plans and studies for a number of issues, including: o sewage management and water supply issues o impacts on Garibaldi Provincial Park next door o impacts on regional growth o traffic management o and socio-economic and project viability "We’re not in that holy state of grace yet where we have the asset approved, but there doesn’t appear to be any show stoppers," Richter said. Garibaldi has had positive talks with Forestry representatives and with the Parks ministry regarding the ski area and Garibaldi Provincial Park. "Parks is stretched, they only have so many resources," Richter said. "We can help police the park." In the meantime, Richter said discussions are taking place with interested financial backers. "The people we’ve narrowed it down to are excited. It’s a California group, and they’re enamoured with B.C." And Richter can see positives from the private university proponents’ decision regarding location of the facility, even though they chose not to locate on Garibaldi at Squamish’s site. "Anything that’s good for the community is good for us," Richter said. "Our goal is also to build the community as much as the mountain. The university is going to dramatically change the town. We’re proud we had something to do with getting the university people to look at Squamish."

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