17 Major Changes to the All-Season Mountain Resort Proposal on Brohm Ridge
It is no secret this resort proposal has been around for many years, and over the years, there have been many changes in response to public feedback, particularly ideas and suggestions from the Squamish community, including members of the Squamish Nation.
The resort will provide year round jobs for a growing Squamish population, greatly expand the recreation opportunities available for both residents and tourists alike, and generate good tax revenue for the province, and for the district if it is part of the District of Squamish. We are always looking for ways to improve the proposal before submitting our final master plan.
Some of these changes are quite recent. Others were made a few years ago, but we are still meeting community members who are not aware of them.
Here is an update on many of the most recent and major changes we have made as a result of Squamish community feedback and presenting our Conceptual Master Plan to the community..
1) The Resort is no longer near Cat Lake and Brohm Lake. These lakes will remain on public lands and under the jurisdiction of the local government and Squamish Nation. The Resort will be open to talking about adding amenities such as more parking as we build the resort.
2) The Resort Footprint has been reduced by about half. Previous proposals have included over 4900 Hectares, but our current proposal will, should we get to Phase IV in 2040 or later, only cover a total of 2,759 Hectares, About 54% of that area will remain natural forest and Alpine.
3) The Resort will be an All-Season resort. The resort is now planned as an all-season resort where summer activities such as mountain biking and hiking are just as important as skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and shoulder season activities will be planned in from the start.
4) There will be no Golf Courses.
As mentioned, Mountain Biking and Hiking will be the primary summer Activities.
5) We will make a substantial investment in mountain biking trails and infrastructure, through the Master Planning process which will include much more public input. There will be a wide variety of free cross country and downhill trails, including beginner/intermediate friendly trails around the resort, as well as paid lift access trails at higher elevations. This will be a unique opportunity for Squamish trail builders to be part of the plan from the beginning instead of retro-fitting around previously built lifts and areas.
6) The Village has been moved up to a higher elevation. Our main village will be at 1100 metres, over 400 metres higher than Whistler Village and well within the "Snow Zone".
7) Squamish Nation is an Equity Partner. They will be part of the ownership of the resort and share in decision making. They also have a member of the Board of Directors, and will be part of the training and job opportunities program for youth
8) The Resort will have a new name. We are working with our equity partners, the Squamish Nation, to come up with a new name that reflects their heritage on the land.
9) We have improved the Skiing & Snowboarding with the addition of reconfigured lifts. In particular, we have opened up more steep north-facing skiing in the Culliton Drainage. The skiing here will be as steep and long as any lifts at Vail.
10) We are investigating on-mountain water sources. In order to minimize the impact and cost of our water use, we are looking for alternative or additional sources and monitoring them over the years for the impact they could have on sensitive fish and aquatic habitat in the area.
11) We will provide Substantial Staff Housing. We do not want to repeat the mistakes of other resorts, and to that end, we expect to provide more staff housing than is required by the provincial guidelines. Currently, 12.5% of our Bed Units will be built for staff and will range from rental units to opportunities to own similar to the Whistler Housing Authority model. Staff who commit to a career at the resort will have housing that they can afford at the resort.
12) Cat Lake Dirt Bike Trails will be preserved. We have reduced the size of the resort and the areas around Cat Lake where the Section 57 dirt bike areas are will be preserved for the dirt bike community. Should our construction impact any trails, we will replace them with similar trails and in consultation with the SDBA.
13) We have committed to building the most sustainable resort in North America. We are excited about the potential to build from scratch with the best sustainability principles and to ensure we design the resort to accommodate new technologies as they become available. We will be working with sustainable building experts in Squamish and around the world to minimize our footprint and energy use, including targeting carbon neutral or even carbon positive buildings.
14) The resort will be designed and built according to Smart Growth principles, including compact, walkable villages, a wide range of housing options, mass transit options, and mixed land uses. Adoption of smart growth principles for resort housing and the village. If we apply ideas such as modular and off-site built housing, rooftop solar, and electric vehicle hubs, Squamish businesses can benefit and learn.
15) We will contribute to transportation solutions. Capacity on Highway 99 is a key issue in the corridor now and is increasingly so as the population grows and recreation in this area becomes more popular. The Resort is going to have to contribute to solutions if it is going to be successful. Condition 11 of our EAO certificate requires a transportation plan to be developed prior to the start of operations. In additions, we look forward to the opportunity to work with other stakeholders to contribute to solutions that are needed now and discussing how we can work with Squamish, the SLRD and the Ministry of Transportation to bring them about.
16) 84% of the accommodation will be ski-in/ski-out / Ride-in / Ride-out. In order to eliminate the need to bring a car to the resort, and to create walkable communities, 84% of the accommodation is currently planned to be next to ski runs and trails. It will also create an convenient and fun experience for visitors and residents alike.
17) We will work with snowmobilers to find them a new location. Unfortunately, when the resort is built, the area will no longer be safe for snowmobiling. We have committed to working with the Black Tusk Snow Mobile Club to help find them a new location and to contribute towards building amenities there.
Look forward to more changes.
We are currently discussing our draft master plan with the Squamish community and are getting amazing feedback. Our recent survey found that Squamish residents see night skiing, more expert ski runs, a wide variety of mountain bike trails, and great hiking trails as top priorities. A music amphitheatre is a top priority for the village. We thank the community for the great feedback and will be looking to incorporate some of these ideas into our final master plan.