Sea To Sky Gondola Project Receives Overwhelming Public Support at SLRD Public Hearing
Hearing provides avenue for public input; proponents continue to work through exhaustive official approval process
SQUAMISH, BC– The Sea to Sky Gondola project received a major boost last night at a public hearing, when voices of support rang out one after another for the project that is designed to deliver economic and recreational benefits to Squamish. The public hearing was hosted in Britannia Beach by the Squamish Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) to gather input on the project’s application to rezone the top terminal area of the gondola, located within SLRD land.
With over 70 names on the speaker list from the Sea to Sky Corridor and the Lower Mainland, at least 75% spoke in favour of the project. “We have been clear from the beginning that this is a community project, and that was evident here tonight,” said Trevor Dunn of the Sea to Sky Gondola Corporation. “We really want to thank everyone who came out to express their opinions. We have been willing to speak with anyone and everyone who has been willing to share their feedback with us and listen to our ideas. We have hosted close to 100 such meetings and information nights since the project was announced last summer. Tonight was a strong indication that those efforts have been well received.”
This latest show of community support follows last November’s District of Squamish public hearing where 37 out of 40 people spoke in support with only three in opposition, leading to a unanimous vote by the Squamish Mayor and Council to rezone the base terminal area in support of the project. The Squamish Chief Newspaper has also conducted online polls, with the most recent demonstrating over 70% in support for the project.
“I don’t want this project to fail, our community will suffer,” commented one individual. Others voiced their support for the accessibility that this gondola will provide, enhancing the Park and surrounding area through greater appreciation and education. Some noted that without this project the upper alpine areas in the vicinity of the gondola will simply be logged again creating even more impacts to the area. Many recognized the economic crossroads that Squamish is currently at, and see the gondola project as an opportunity to help further develop the tourism pillar in the community. “It’s a new paradigm for Squamish,” said another supporter.
Jared Sissons representing Tourism Squamish, one of the many community groups represented, said, “on behalf of hotels, restaurants and attractions in the area, we would like to voice our unanimous support for this project which we believe will be a fantastic addition to tourism and help promote Squamish as a destination in its own right.”
Jayson Faulkner, a Whistler based outdoor conservation advocate with 25 years of experience working with government on backcountry recreation and conservation projects spoke to the process. “Some critics are suggesting that the public process is flawed – especially as it pertains to BC Parks,” he said. “I can tell you from experience that the Park process is an exceptionally vigorous one.”
David Greenfield, Dunn’s business partner in the project, had an opportunity to address the hearing prior to public comments. “This has been a very tough process to date, and it should be. We’ve done countless studies and put pages and pages of documents together. We’ve dotted every i and crossed every t; we’re not looking for shortcuts. It’s now in the hands of the experts to determine whether this is the type of project that fits within their framework, and with a bit more hard work ahead, we could have this gondola open by our target date of July 2013.”
The SLRD is expected to vote on third reading of the bylaws in the next month.
The community is invited to review the project and its proposed timelines at www.seatoskygondola.com .
About the Proponents:
David Greenfield and Trevor Dunn are partners in the newly created Sea to Sky Gondola Corporation. Greenfield and Dunn have overseen the complete life cycle of countless world-class, large-scale projects. They are cognizant of the many real-world thresholds that community developments and initiatives must pass through to become successful. They understand the physical, economic and operational questions that are critical to a project’s foundation. This comprehensive understanding is vital for the development of a truly viable and great project.
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