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Brohm Ridge ski resort construction could begin in four years: GAS

Expect to hear more about the proposed Garibaldi at Squamish resort project as it enters the consultation phase

The proponents behind a ski resort for Brohm Ridge say everything is up for discussion as they move into consultation for their master plan – including the name.

“We’re now coming to city council and the community, on how we can make our plan better so it meets the community need,” said Jim Chu, vice president of the Aquilini Investment Group, on Tuesday at an information session before District council.

“Even the mountain name is up for grabs,” he said.

The proposed resort would be located 15 kilometres north of Squamish and covers an area of 2,759 hectares. The current plan includes two villages and multiple chair lifts, and proponents said 80 per cent of the site will remain greenspace.

In the winter, it would have groomed ski runs, while summer would focus on mountain biking and hiking.

Garibaldi at Squamish Inc. received environmental approval from the provincial government on January 29, 2016, along with 40 legally-binding conditions the company must meet.

A number of those conditions involve protecting rivers, salmon spawning habitat and human-bear conflict. The conditions also require limiting withdrawal from the Paradise Valley aquifer and providing at least 10 per cent of resort bed units for employee housing.

“Getting the environmental approval was a huge step forward,” said Rod MacLeod, Garibaldi At Squamish’s vice president of planning.

MacLeod said the developer will now be seeking feedback from the community for the master plan. He said, optimistically, construction on the resort could begin in four years. A number of steps need to be taken before then.

The proponents are now crafting a master plan that will need to be approved by the Mountain Resort Branch of the Ministry of Forests.

The project has the support of the Squamish Nation, but in the past it has faced opposition from the District of Squamish, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

Critics of the project have raised concerns about increased highway traffic, difficult weather conditions, affordable housing and water supply. An earlier version included two golf courses and construction near Brohm Lake, which have been eliminated.

On Tuesday night, councillors still had concerns about water usage and highway traffic.

Another major decision yet to be made is who will govern the resort – by default it would fall under the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, but the District of Squamish could choose to expand its borders to include the project.

The current plan, according to documents presented on Tuesday, would unfold over a 20-year time period. Phase One of the project build-out would create 5,946 beds, while the fourth and final phase would grow the resort into 21,920 beds.

Right now the amount of marked ski trails is estimated to be 622 hectares, making it a much smaller resort than Whistler Blackcomb, but several times larger than Grouse. Most of the terrain is concentrated at an intermediate level, according to the documents presented on Tuesday, with some in the beginner and expert range.