New boundaries approved for Garibaldi Park 

Local ParkWatch group to evaluate options for Flute

On May 30, the provincial government amended the boundaries of Garibaldi Provincial Park as part of an omnibus bill that included amendments to a variety of Acts.

The new boundaries are the result of a land-swap agreement between B.C. Parks and Whistler-Blackcomb. Whistler-Blackcomb gained 87 hectares in the Flute peak basin, which will allow the resort to open the area up to guests and install lifts. They claim that the area, which is the ideal location for the base of a lift, was left in the park by mistake when the company’s land tenure was redrawn in 1987.

In exchange, B.C. Parks will gain 113 hectares of land further down the mountain in the Fitzsimmons area, which includes a section of the Singing Pass Trail.

Sea to Sky ParkWatch, a local affiliate of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, was taken by surprise by the announced land swap, and by the speed in which it was approved by government. They are concerned because the swap occurred without any public discussion or studies to determine if the swap would have any environmental impact.

Bob Brett, a member of ParkWatch, also believes there has to have been a reason in 1987 for the way the park boundaries were redrawn. "Maybe it was for avalanche control within Symphony Bowl. Maybe Parks didn’t think they were giving permission to put up a lift. Fifteen years is a long time, so we don’t know," he says.

With the park boundaries already amended in the Legislature, Brett isn’t sure what courses of action are left for ParkWatch. Members had a meeting on June 5 to discuss the options that are available.

The group will also discuss the possibility of approaching Whistler-Blackcomb.

"Whistler-Blackcomb is an environmentally aware company, they’ve shown that time and time again, and we will appeal to the mountains to see if there’s a solution that addresses our concerns," says Brett.

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