GAS rises again 

Garibaldi at Squamish resort proposal re-enters environmental assessment process

By Clare Ogilvie

It’s been more than a decade in the making.

But next week Sea to Sky residents will be able to find out all about the latest incarnation of plans to develop a ski resort at Brohm Ridge, and have an opportunity to comment on it.

The first open house on Garibaldi at Squamish Inc.’s (GAS) plans will be held June 19th at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Squamish residents can find out more at a meeting at the Sea to Sky Hotel on June 20, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.

“Our objective is to be a destination all season resort with a full complement of summer activities such as golf, hiking, biking, and winter activities,” said Mike Esler, president and CEO of GAS.

The open houses are part of the application process that goes through the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts.

The vision for the project is a year round destination resort at Brohm Ridge with 25 ski lifts covering a vertical drop of 1,215 metres. The lifts would service between 1,000 and 1,200 hectares on 124 ski trails.

  There would also be two world-class golf courses and 5,739 housing units, with a total bed unit count of 22,478. The housing would be comprised of 1,717 hotel units, 1,717 resort condos, 825 townhouses and 1,480 single-family lots.

It’s likely the development will take 15 to 20 years to reach full development said Esler.

A golf course and some housing may be available by 2010 and it’s hoped that skiing would start in the 2011-2012 season.

Esler believes the resort can help the province reach its goals of doubling tourism.

“We really fit in with their plan,” he said, adding that having such a large development so close to Whistler is not cause for concern.

Esler pointed to the clustering of ski resorts all over North America to make his point that Garibaldi at Squamish can draw more visitors to the area.

And he said the Garibaldi development has some important differences, such as the fact that it is a mountainside village concept not a valley- based one.

“(We) did a limited snow depth study on April 12 of 2007 and we had approximately seven feet of snow in our village,” said Esler. He added that the mountainside location means that views down Howe Sound would be visible from the new village.

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