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Tricouni

Mountain climber
Vancouver
Mar 24, 2012 - 10:20pm PT
I would have no real problem with a gondola if it didn't infringe on the parks. Goat Ridge from Britannia would be fine with me; the Britannia Creek drainage is totally screwed up as it is. The current proposal is not acceptable to me; I'm opposed to anything motorized that infringes on the parks.

I never knew the story of the gravel pit. Very disappointing.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 24, 2012 - 10:24pm PT
Just so that it's very clear, I'm not opposed to a tourist gondola at an appropriate location in the Squamish area. I am unalterably opposed to such developments in, beside or in the near vicinity of Stawamus Chief and Shannon Falls Provincial Parks. Neither is an appropriate location. That's regardless of whether or not a route to Goat Ridge is feasible.

In the interests of transparency, I ask anyone who posts to this thread who has a personal or business connection to Ground Effects [Sea to Sky Gondola Corp.] or its principals, or indeed any of the other parties, to state it.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 24, 2012 - 10:27pm PT
The 20m clear cut through the adjoining parks to accommodate the tram is a recent wonder in disclosure.

Bait and switch isn't a sole domain of any one country. This being a private enterprise, I think it's going to die slowly and excruciatingly for the proponents. Squamish has always had a short window of nice conditions that schemes like this might flourish in.

It took 21 years for a ski resort proposal near Invermere to get the go ahead in BC due to environmental issues (Grizzly Bears picking off skiers) and the still unresolved First Nations of the area freedom to be unextinguished concerning treaty capitulation to what 's on offer.

Injuns and Grizzly Bears are potent political allies in the Koots. Bad math on the coast with weather tangents makes me think this is an already dead proposal.

I do think a cool restaurant/bar with a great patio on top of the Malamute was a lost opportunity that the Squamish Band did capitalized on with the casino at the North end of the Chief.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Mar 24, 2012 - 10:51pm PT
I'm not sure why the present developers didn't look at Goat Ridge as an option. More expensive, yeah ( I'm taking Bruce K's word for it ) but with many more possibilities.

The area the proposal is for at the present time blows dead goats. I'm not sure of The View from up there.....seems to me yer gonna get a good look at a whole lotta second growth loggin' slash. Isn't Goat Ridge higher and with more views to the south?

I"m not against the idea of a tourist tram but I wouldn't invest in this Dung Heap.

And NO to development in any of our parks. This land is simply too hard won.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 24, 2012 - 11:45pm PT
Jim, I hope that you're right about the proposal fizzling, but wouldn't want to take any chances. It has been allowed to develop some momentum, and there may be agendas at work that we don't know about. It'd been nagging me for a while, and I finally decided to contribute to the debate. It's the least I could do. I don't know if I could face myself in the mirror if I didn't at least try.

Here's a photo of the gravel pit from the highway, taken early in 2005, after TLC acquired the land. Shannon Falls to the right, the Chief just off photo to the left.
photo not found
Missing photo ID#242136
I should be in Squamish tomorrow, and will try to get more photos.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 24, 2012 - 11:58pm PT
OK, here's more photos of the gravel pit, looking toward the Chief. also from early 2005. The edge of the campground, and the trail, are in the forest just back from the top of the berm, and to the right. The trail goes up Olesen Creek, the 'gash'.
photo not found
Missing photo ID#242138
photo not found
Missing photo ID#242139
I never did figure out why the Squamish Adventure Centre wasn't built there - it would have been a perfect location.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Mar 25, 2012 - 12:04am PT
and there may be agendas at work that we don't know about.

Such as?

I can see someone wanting to build a tram up that hill, presumably with a restaurant/bar at the top, because they think tourists will swarm up the thing and make them rich. Probably a dumb idea and they'll go broke, but it's no stretch to think that someone would believe it was a great idea. But what kind of hidden agenda might they have that would be using the tram as a front?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 25, 2012 - 12:13am PT
Government agendas. Developers, for example from Whistler, have been known to be well-connected to the provincial government. Perhaps the government, which is looking rather shaky (election next spring) thinks it's "..be nice to our developer friends.." month.

There may be no shortage of developers who'd like to take more land out of Garibaldi Park, and would welcome a precedent at Squamish.

(Edited, at Jim's suggestion.)
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Mar 25, 2012 - 12:18am PT
Governments, especially local ones, are always friendly to developers. That's hardly a "hidden agenda". That's just politics as usual.

I thought you were going to go all Klimmer on us and start talking about some Black Ops listening post to pick up messages from aliens. Or that the Lizard People were getting concerned about their Overlord Of Earth going crazy and trying to have a heart installed in his body, and building a sanctuary to move him to. But all you've got is developers greasing a few palms. Lame.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 25, 2012 - 12:28am PT
The FMCBC (Federation of Mountaineering Clubs,British Columbia) were a group that thought they could ride in on white ponies from Vancouver and prescribe the utopian path forward to the little people who held property in the Smoke Bluffs. That went well...

If you want to have your voice be an influence,pay attention to the people who live there.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 25, 2012 - 02:04am PT
Thanks, Jim - a good point. IIRC, Squamish Council has voted in favour of the proposal, as has the chamber of commerce. I don't know what support the proposal has generally in Squamish - I guess we'll see. But it's an important piece of the puzzle.

I have no idea what Bruce and Ghost are talking about.
tooth

Trad climber
B.C.
Mar 25, 2012 - 10:45am PT
Thanks MH. What ever happened with my vote for you for MEC?
ArmandoWyo

climber
Wyoming
Mar 25, 2012 - 11:40am PT
Anders,
What a tragic story - or dare I say, a monumental f**k up. Deja vu all over again for you folks in BC.
And for you personally, it must hit home and sting, not just geographically but psychologically and emotionally.
First, as access activists, you must mount another campaign to stop almost the same gondola, in same place, in fact, from the same piece of land that was bought following the awesome previous campaign. Recall that a decade ago, I told you that in a wry way a threatened gondola up the Chief was gift to BC climbers. I could not imagine anything better to unify locals and beat down the usual put down that organizing climbers was like herding cats. And you folks took full advantage and did a great job to stop the gondola - and seemingly stopped it for good by buying the land.
And as a lawyer, you need to do it again because of breathtakingly bad lawyering! Drafting a covenant, following a massive campaign and fundraising to prevent a gondola, and then limiting it to prohibit only a gondola that goes up face of the Chief or ends in the parks. Kind of invites a gondola that doesn’t go up face or end in parks doesn’t it? If the covenant had been written by a non-lawyer, don’t you think it was have just said, No Gondola! Then maybe a good lawyer would add, or any other aerial conveyance.
Of course, this isn’t just about you, but I share your pain brother.
Armando
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 25, 2012 - 12:01pm PT
I think they should grab ten percent of the flow from shannon falls and make the hydro needed to run the gondola. The pipe could be eight inch black plastic, so it wouldn't even be visible, and the power building at the base could be set up for the public to check out all the makings of electricity. It could be the first "green" gondola. That ten percent of the flow would enter back into the creek at the bottom, after spinning the generator, and all would be as normal.
During times of heavy (water) flow and low gondola use, the excess juice could be sold to B.C. Hydro. And then during times of extremely low flow, power can be bought back from Hydro to subsidise the operation. It will probably balance out and all those plastic cabins can climb up the mountain, happily knowing they're being propelled by the water falling down the same mountainside.
Scrubber

climber
Straight outta Squampton
Mar 25, 2012 - 12:08pm PT
I'm just playing devil's advocate for a moment so don't slay me too fiercely.

I'm a little confused as to why this opposition to the proposal is being brought up now, instead of a year ago when the proponent had multiple open-houses with the public and at least appeared interested in garnering public opinion as to it's suitability and exact route. Much to their surprise, the folks who turned up were far more concerned that it take the route of least visibility from the Chief Backside trail, but not concerned at all about it's visibility from the downtown and Nexan beach areas.

I admit, that while I was pretty neutral on the proposal before, I had no idea about the strip of land having to be removed from the park. This is not cool. I'm really not sure why this has to happen at all. Could the class designation of that strip of BC Parks land not just be changed? I think the proposal calls for one or two towers to be installed within the park land, plus the clearing of the strip of land for laying the tow cable. This area of the park sees very little public use due to the challenging topography. It therefore probably has significant wildlife value.

I personally am planning on looking deeper into the "removing of the strip of land from the park" before I join any sides. Thanks to those above for providing additional information on this proposal.

Kris
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 25, 2012 - 12:23pm PT
Ya, I'm with the Scrubber.... where were all you Moaners a year ago?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 25, 2012 - 11:55pm PT
Just back from a day's climbing - sorry for the delay.

I believe I read somewhere that they plan to build five (?) towers within what is now the Parks. More than two, anyway. Not sure about the rezoning issue - I suspect the developers would prefer as clean a break as they can get, maybe others too.

And yes, my apologies that I was not more proactive on this. I took it that those who ought to have provided the needed vision and leadership would do so, and was busy with all the usual things. And trusted that TLC had taken care of it. (Of course, this is more than just a climbers' access issue.) Well, better late than never - I've had several positive responses to what I said. Hopefully everyone had more sense than to be inside on a nice weekend reading forums and e-mails, and it'll be interesting to see what sort of response there is over the next few days.

Just eyeballing it today, it looks quite feasible to build a gondola from Britannia, starting perhaps from a shelf above and northeast of the town. A location about 2 km south of the Papoose also looks possible - on the "uphill" side of the power lines, a fairly large flattish area. Just north of where Gonzales Creek crosses the highway. Photos another time.

Somebody said there should be a FaceBook page for this, which may make sense, as long as discussion is kept rational. Does anyone have the time and skill needed to create and look after one?

Voting in the MEC election ends this coming Thursday. We won't know the results for several weeks, and the AGM is in late April.
gf

climber
Mar 26, 2012 - 12:21am PT
I am not anti-development. I do feel though that the current chief and shannon falls park are attractive in the non motorized state and attract large numbers of users. I am afraid I can't support the current gondola proposal.
I do hope that the current or future developers consider something closer to goat ridge. I believe this has much greater potential for annual users since it would allow mountain biking descent trails to be developed right to the hi way.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 26, 2012 - 12:23am PT
Projects and policy have an always evolving financial relationship as things progress in British Columbia.

The gondola may be a good thing in the end but the devil is in the details as a famous German architect once opined.

Could the enthusiasts of this cable to heaven produce one example of a project of this sort successfully coming in on budget and not drawing on the public's money to achieve a pyrrhic victory?

Tami's point about the concrete totems of lost opportunity in other matters should be a good example for not giving in to sentiment. A good idea can stand on it's own.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Mar 26, 2012 - 01:01am PT
Hamish I dont' make it to Squamish very often. Hafta wait fer shizz to come down the pipe here to Kits. You gotta start flushin' harder !!!!
Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Mar 26, 2012 - 02:09am PT
C.A.V.E.

Citizens Against Virtually Everything

Is the gondola proposal worse than all the hydro wires we look at every day?
Is it worse than the Ashlu power project and the chronic rash of IPPs afflicting the province?
How about annexing enough of Garibaldi Park to build the Blackcomb Ski Area or building a hut system in the Spearhead?
Then there's that pesky Highway 99.
Clear cuts? Most of the area around the Chief and the entire Squamish Valley has been clear cut at some time.

I'm not suggesting the gondola proposal is the best idea or necessarily a complete disaster. I live in Squamish and have been known to spend some time on the Chief and am not convinced the gondola is the nefarious contrivance some would make it out to be. Let's make sure we're not just choosing convenient targets.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 26, 2012 - 02:23am PT
Let's have a clear eyed understanding about what's on offer. The developers are only interested in the money made through enterprise. That's business but it's also an agenda that doesn't hold any other value as equal.

If the gondola proposal can stand on it's own merits, great.

Grouse Mountain gondola, with municipal bus access and 20 minute drive from a city of 2 million people to it's year round restaurant,amusements and captive Grizzly Bears still completely depends on it's ski operations to make a go of it.

My gut says this thing is like the cure all of buying into a monorail train.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 26, 2012 - 10:04am PT
I realize all the gov't contracts which come in over budget, and that's "all" of them, bleed the taxpayer for more funds to complete.
If this is a private venture, won't they have to come up with their own monies if they fall short? It'll be their shareholders going to the bank, won't it?

I'm with the Chief here. I think Anders photo really sums it up.
Massive power lines everywhere, gravel pits, cut-banks, endless vehicles doing mach-shnell, planes, trains, choppers, 37 full-size bus loads of tourists at shannon falls daily. I've never seen anyone doing anything in those old cut-blocks up top and I've yet to see any tourists picknicking in that gravel pit...

Just my opinion, that's all.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 26, 2012 - 12:19pm PT
I guess who comes up with money in the event of a short fall depends on the total scope of the project and how much investors are willing or able to risk.

One project in Vancouver comes to mind that started as a private venture and finished as bailed out by government. The 2010 Olympic Village condominiums were covered by the City of Vancouver which took an enormous risk seeing it through after the developer defaulted.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 26, 2012 - 02:00pm PT
Whether the proponents' business plan is economically realistic is an interesting question. No doubt what is presented publicly is rosy, of course - all developers' plans are. Assuming that the predictions are realistic, they can still be derailed by larger economic, resource or geopolitical developments. The upshot, though, is that if the thing fails during or after construction, it'll leave a mess, and the public will pick up the bill for doing what can be done to clean it up. I sure hope the public wouldn't pay to get the thing finished and operating - talk about adding insult to injury.

It seems a marginal location, and and a marginal plan. The gondola at Grouse, established for 50 years, and with a much larger market, is marginal - and they operate year round, with much more extensive activities.

Perry and Hamish are right - the Squamish Valley, and Squamish-Whistler area, is home of some poorly thought out developments. Piecemeal over the last century. Which suggests that maybe it's time to think and plan a bit more, before starting the next one.

And yes, the developers' object is to make money, and only that, if possible through the free or near-free use of public land. Sure, they'll dress up their plan in whatever makes it attractive - "green" operations, access for the disabled, etc etc. But their goal is to make money. All they're presenting at this point is a plan. What they'll actually do if they get started may be another matter.

Bruce also has a good point - the Jumbo resort development was approved by the provincial government last week. Not that it'll be starting any time soon, as no doubt the local First Nation will have them in court PDQ.

"C.A.V.E."? "Moaners"? Sorry, guys - let's keep it polite. I made it very clear I'm not against a gondola per se in the Squamish area, only against one being built in or near the Parks. And I clearly set out my reasons for that. Plus (with help from gf) made what seems a realistic proposal for an alternate, perhaps better, location.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 26, 2012 - 02:39pm PT
I'm sorry if anyone got offended by my "moaners" remark. That's not my intention at all. These people are my friends and it's perfectly fine not to agree on everything. I've come to the conclusion that many folks down in the city have only heard about this project recently. It is great to see how much everyone cares about this area and what developments take place. I know you can read the Squamish Chief newspaper on line every week and perhaps this would fit in well with time spent on supertopo. This thing has been in the paper for months and months.
Financially speaking, I'm not sure how they figure they'll make money at it; I just didn't really think that was our question to ask. I would never invest a penny in the idea but I love the possibility of opening up some more terrain around here.
gf

climber
Mar 26, 2012 - 02:55pm PT
Okay-guilty-i'm one of those coffee drinking, cbc listening, NYT's reading city slickers who was rousted into posting my concerns about the potential removal of park lands after reading Mighty Hikers' brief. The damm thing is that I'm all for developing integrated recreation, including gondolas, in the Squamish area; it makes sense on a bunch of fronts, but I have serious reservations about pulling a piece of parkland for a development where i just can't see the numbers adding up. Is a set of abandoned towers any worse than power lines, gravel pits, cut blocks etc -nope-but is it desirable on the grounds of "well we've shat in our nest a bunch, so one more dump won't matter" I dunno.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 26, 2012 - 04:31pm PT
We'll probably never know the internal workings of the developers - business and financial plan, whether there are silent partners or other investors, whether they're proxies for someone else, and what they really plan to do in "phase 1", "phase 2", and any other phases they perhaps haven't mentioned. As Bruce says, if the thing is allowed to go ahead, the finances are their problem - except for the reasonable possibility that they'll create a mess. That is, by whatever they do not corresponding with what they say they'll do, for all the usual excuses, and so creating even larger impacts, or the development failing. There's a risk of loss in every investment, but in this one the public would bear the loss as much or more than the developers.

There is the broader question. As I've said, I'm opposed to development in provincial parks, perhaps with rare exceptions. In this case, whatever the exact noise, visual, clearcut and other impacts, the development is plain wrong. What's proposed would apparently require amendment of the Park Act. You'd think that BC Parks' role would be first to defend the parks. That is, to say to would be developers "No, you can't develop in parks. It's not permitted under the law." Then, if they persist, say "Talk to the politicians". And that B.C. Parks would then be tasked with an independent, transparent review and analysis of what is proposed, based on the status quo:

1. Development isn't permitted in parks.

2. Would-be developers have the onus of showing, beyond a reasonable doubt, that what they propose is to the clear benefit of the park(s) in question, and the public. With an independent, properly-resourced review by BC Parks.

3. If the developer can satisfy B.C. Parks on count #2, B.C. Parks running independent public open houses, and conducting on-line surveys, to determine what if any level of public support there is for what's proposed, from whom. All stakeholders should be actively consulted. In this case, you'd think that there'd be extensive information about the proposal on BC Parks' website, and that they would be holding public meetings in Squamish, Vancouver and even Whistler to gauge support.

As BC Parks apparently won't be doing these things, it seems reasonable to conclude that they've been gagged by their political masters, and prevented from performing their proper role under the Park Act. (As may also have happened in 2004.) The government, and perhaps others, may well prefer that this be handled as quietly as possible. As mentioned earlier, an FoI request might be quite revealing as to what's really happened behind the scenes.
Scrubber

climber
Straight outta Squampton
Mar 26, 2012 - 04:32pm PT
Here's a recent update from the "Sea to Sky Gondola" website:


An article in the March 15 edition of the Georgia Straight makes reference to “the proposed removal of parkland” from Stawamus Chief Provincial Park. We have been working very collaboratively with BC Parks for the last year to understand the social and environmental impacts and benefits of this project on the Parks. BC Parks has been advising us on the appropriate process to bring this amenity to Squamish. From the beginning, we have been clear that the Gondola will go through the Park and are now formalizing the applications BC Parks has asked us to complete to allow for the construction of the gondola towers. As outlined in the Georgia Straight article by South Coast regional manager for BC Parks Brandon Schultz, an application was submitted to reclassify a 20 -metre corridor from Class A parkland to a protected area that would allow for the construction of the gondola towers.

BC Parks will maintain managerial control over this area and the Sea to Sky Gondola will continue to be required to meet all of the management goals of the BC Parks and Stawamus Chief Provincial Park in this protected area.

The specific application noted above is part of a comprehensive regulatory approval process required under the BC Parks Assessment Policy and Impact Assessment process. Information on this process is available on the BC Parks website www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks. For those interested in viewing details of the current Sea to Sky Gondola application for a Boundary Line Adjustment, it is available by contacting us or via email. It is important to understand that this application is only part of the overall process with BC Parks. Further work and discussions are ongoing.

We have been collaborating extensively with the community of Squamish and specific stakeholders, such as the Climbers Access Society who were instrumental in the creation of the Park, to ensure that the project will bring a wide variety of benefits to locals and visitors alike. We are committed to bringing this project to fruition in accordance with the values of the community and our stakeholders, and are committed to continue this consultative process.

Judging from the BC Parks map available online, the gondola will be cutting across a section of the park which is roughly 1.1km wide. According to their plan drawings, it looks like their will be either two or three towers located within the park boundary. If they stick to the stated 20m wide cut for the path of the cable, given a 550m elevation gain to the park boundary, they will be clearing just shy of 2.5ha of land. (2.46ha) If you convert that to the wider estimates some folks think is more likely (80m) you'd be clearing slightly less than 10ha.

It's my understanding that if the proponents of this project are applying to have a 20m wide swath of land changed to protected area status, they won't be cutting beyond that without severe repercussions from BC Parks. It remains to be seen if they change the width of what they're asking for when the time comes to actually complete that stage of the process.

Food for thought.

K
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 26, 2012 - 08:27pm PT
an application was submitted to reclassify a 20-metre corridor from Class A parkland to a protected area that would allow for the construction of the gondola towers

They may attempt to dress it up as they wish, but it's rather oxymoronic to describe a 20+ m clearcut swathe through a park as "protected". Probably much wider than 20 m - surely there are tree people around who can comment on that? If you're building a gondola (or transmission line, or..), what's the minimum width of swathe you cut? Say the towers are (conservatively) 30 m high, with 30 - 40 m trees to either side, and windthrow potential from the new 'edge'?

The developers seem well advised in terms of presentation and marketing. But you can't dress up a sow's ear as a silk purse, no matter how hard you try. 20 m or 80 m? Two, five, or more towers? Slight rerouting? Exactly how visible, from where? Class A park or "protected area"? Details! Important details, but details. It would still be land taken from the Parks, and the trees would still be removed.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 26, 2012 - 08:54pm PT
Hey Anders, I'm thinking it's pretty rocky ground, and many of the trees up there are small. The nightmare-looking swath you're referring to might not be too bad.
coastal_climber

Trad climber
Squamish, BC
Mar 26, 2012 - 09:11pm PT
This sh#t needs to stay out of the park.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 26, 2012 - 10:17pm PT
Here are some images from the website.
photo not found
Missing photo ID#242385
This is where they say the gondola and station will be, in relation to the Chief and Shannon Falls. However carefully you locate the route, a whole bunch of trees are going to come down. If there's any chance of trees falling on the gondola or towers, they'll be removed.

photo not found
Missing photo ID#242386
And a profile view. Pretty hard to miss it - although they might have used a more realistic colour to show the line, the towers and tree removal don't seem to be shown, plus the bottom is blocked.

There are more photos at http://www.seatoskygondola.com/?gallery=gallery Those depicting the gondola and its impacts may well understate matters. Overall, though, it's clear that the thing will be quite visible from many places. Again, in a sense a detail - the issue is whether it should be there at all, not whether it can be better designed and built.

Contact information for the developer:

info@seatoskygondola.com

Sea to Sky Gondola Corporation
201-1365 Pemberton Ave,
PO Box 1850
Squamish BC
V8B 0B3

For clarity, at some point the company behind the proposal became Sea to Sky Gondola Corp. It seems likely that the new company is related to Ground Effects, as the individuals involved seem to be the same. Earlier references to Ground Effects Developments Inc. should be taken to read Sea to Sky Gondola Corp., if it is material. The address for Sea to Sky is that of a law firm.

If you're writing letters, etc, refer to Sea to Sky Gondola Corp. The name of the company doesn't really matter - what it's proposing does. But best to be clear.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Mar 27, 2012 - 01:48am PT


I think goat ridge/brittania would be cool, the mtn biking season would be longer than Whistler so there would be traffic on low visibility days (common), it could make $$.......for some of the year. If it was for sightseeing only- near the chief, there will be probably be a lot of days where people won't want to spend their $$ to go up into the clouds. People like that downhill biking around here & if there was a cheaper option than Whistler i'm sure a lot of visitors would find more value to the Squamish area, in Whistler there are entire families that are on day trips or on downhill bike vacations in summer just like they are on ski vacations in the winter, July & August are now some of the busiest months for the Whistler businesses. If it has to go thru the park then the gondola base should start downtown at the undeveloped waterfront! Bring some traffic into the local economy. Otherwise i don't see much benefit that the Squamish area & residents will receive from the current plan. I actually don't see much benefit for the developers either. I guess all we can do here is speculate, it seems like more information is still needed & a lot of work will probably have to be done to make an alternative like the Goat ridge proposal- even if sanctioned here- realistic.


Thanks for the links & numbers in the opening post, as well as the information & points of view from everyone. A lot of info here was recent to me & i have been trying to follow the development as far as what's been in the local media.


Premier Christy Clark: premier@gov.bc.ca or (604) 775-1003



Can you really just call the premier??!!



Yep, vague resemblance to the monorail.





hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 27, 2012 - 10:38am PT
Sorry guys but it looks great to me. Looks like about 4-6 hrs. of hiking that can be avoided with a seasons pass to the tram.
If I could ride up that capsule, with my bike hanging off it, and ride around up there for awhile before heading over to join a trail which lands you back down in Britannia, I'd feel pretty fortunate.
I'm not sure "stealing land from the park" is the best wording. It's more like an easement.
I know MH will be up there on the west facing deck, beer in hand, looking through the telescope to see if anyones on penny lane.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 27, 2012 - 11:59am PT
Should it be built at the proposed location, I would as a matter of principle never use it.

No one has suggested that the land would be "stolen". However it's presented, the land would be permanently taken from the parks for other uses. You can say it's an "easement", or a "rezoning", but the reality is that a swathe of land would be cut from the parks.

The number for the premier is from the government's website. Somehow I don't think that Ms. Clark answers it.
Cloudraker

Sport climber
San Diego, CA
Mar 27, 2012 - 12:19pm PT
Other than maybe some forest stands near the base and in the subalpine, Isn't it all second growth shite up there? What's the big deal? Let them build the damn thing.

Why does it seem like British Columbians stand in the way of EVERY proposed development?
gf

climber
Mar 27, 2012 - 12:47pm PT
Yeah, like cloudraker says -you can't stop progress :/
The issue I have is not the damm gondola, the inevitable development at the base etc etc but the principle of taking land out of CLASS A parks -this has and will be a dangerous precedent; we need to think carefully about this as a society. If that means some uneconomic proposal to transport me and my bike up the hill never happens, well thats cool if it preserves the sacrosanct designation of class A parks.
gf

climber
Mar 27, 2012 - 12:48pm PT
Hey MH
While we're talking principles -let me loan you a map and compass so you can travel overland rather than use the 1% hiway, opps i mean hiway 99
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 27, 2012 - 01:16pm PT
Well, it doesn't seem that anyone here is opposed to every development. Many are opposed to a gondola within provincial parks, some less so. No one has said that they're opposed to a gondola in a better location - Goat Ridge, or perhaps elsewhere in the Squamish area.

Had the gravel pit/land been properly protected in the first place, this wouldn't even be a subject for discussion. All those who united against the 2004 proposal wanted the possibility of inappropriate development there off the table, permanently, and money was found to buy the gravel pit to that end. Indeed, recreation and conservation interests in effect paid so that the land couldn't be developed.

With regard to a Goat Ridge location, the proponents and supporters may come up with one or more of the following responses/excuses, without necessarily doing a genuine examination of that option:

1. It's not in the District of Squamish proper, and therefore the District wouldn't directly benefit from taxes on it.
2. Most of the workers would probably live in Squamish, and so have a little farther to go to work.
3. The needed land isn't available at the base, for whatever reason. Although the area has been largely dormant for decades.
4. There's no suitable base location in Britannia - size, access, other developments, whatever.
5. There's no location along the highway north from Murrin Park that would work, due to topography, intervening power lines, whatever.
6. The developer would have to start again - or perhaps more accurately, start by doing what it ought to have done in the first place.
7. A Britannia - Goat Ridge route wouldn't work, for some technical reason. It may be somewhat longer. The top area is fairly close to and possibly could be at the far end of the overgrown logging roads in upper Shannon Creek - one fork went almost to the ridge.

The underlying motives, though, may be simpler:

1. We, and perhaps our friends in government, have made up our minds, and don't want to bother considering other options, even if they might be better.
2. We've already spent money developing our proposal, and acquiring the land. Not our problem.
3. Whether or not they admit it, they want as high a profile and as visible an operation as they can get, in the middle of as much other activity as possible.

We may never know exactly what happened, when. But it seems quite likely that the developers right from the start wanted a location in the middle of the Parks, and have been focused on that only. And as mentioned, the issue is whether there should be development in provincial parks generally, and those Parks in particular, especially given the history. It appears that a Goat Ridge gondola is a viable alternative - but as with the details of what might be built, how and where, that's secondary. Sure, if the public and governments are dumb enough to let the proposal go ahead, then it may be time to talk about the hows, whys and wherefores. That's not the question. The question is whether it should be allowed at all.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Mar 27, 2012 - 01:28pm PT
If we had a bc parks act with any amount of back bone, precedents woudn't be such a bugaboo.

Hell, if we had a fisheries act, environmental protection legislation etc etc with any back bone we could probably tar and feather both the liberals and conservatives


The way I see it too. IT's not about "being against all development" ; it's about sound & sustainable development. And as Greg writes about leaving class A parks alone.

There have been some stupid decisions made about development in BC which has given us charming things like the fish farms or stupid things like Yaletown being build without public schools ( it has one elementary school now ). And many of us remember Brohm Ridge and the mess left behind there right in yer back yard Squamish !

Small wonder there is a knee jerk reaction.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 27, 2012 - 03:08pm PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#242439
Here is an excellent photo of the Chief and area, taken by Ed Cooper from the top of the Papoose. I believe the photo is from some years ago, but you can see clearly the gravel pit, and the area where the lower part of the proposed gondola would go.
WBraun

climber
Mar 27, 2012 - 03:19pm PT
The gondola should go straight up the middle of the Chief.

They should build a McDonald's and a huge shopping mall at the top.

Then it would good.

If you're gonna do sumthin, do it right and grand!!!!!
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 27, 2012 - 03:59pm PT
Thanks, Werner - you're right. The death of 1,000 cuts just prolongs the agony. Let's get it over with.

The gondolas will be from Yosemite Lodge to the north rim, from Happy Isles to Glacier Point, and (of course) from El Cap Meadow to El Capitan. All will feature restaurants, gift shops, mountain biking, native displays, hiking, circus rides for the kids, and other attractions which have great popular support, with all the right pacifiers. It may be necessary to change the National Parks Act to let it all happen, but hey, that's only paper from those easterners anyway. The Valley's pretty much all developed already, isn't it? There won't be any direct impact on climbers, as the Lodge gondola won't start right at Camp 4, it'll only pass overhead, and no climbing routes will be affected. So it's not really a climbers' problem, is it?
WBraun

climber
Mar 27, 2012 - 04:14pm PT
lol .....
bmacd

Boulder climber
100% Canadian
Mar 27, 2012 - 04:43pm PT
This sh#t show should be installed farther south and make use of the abandonded Woodfiber ferry complex
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 27, 2012 - 05:17pm PT
The easement they're seeking totals less than 0.4% of that park.
Silver

Big Wall climber
Nor Nev
Mar 27, 2012 - 05:49pm PT
How rad would it be to top out on the capitan and have a $18.00 cheeseburger with a $8.00 milk shake, $6.00 garlic fries, and then ride a $20.00 tram ticket back to your car.


Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 27, 2012 - 06:56pm PT
The easement they're seeking totals less than 0.4% of that park.

Kind of a key 0.4%, I'd say, and probably rather more, once the dust settles. Like being a little bit pregnant. And calling it an easement instead of a deletion is unconvincing - trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. (Not that I have anything against pigs.)
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 27, 2012 - 07:14pm PT
Well I had to try, as it sounded a little friendlier.
adrian korosec

climber
Mar 27, 2012 - 08:18pm PT
Sounds like a gondola would be a great idea.

A nice hut on top serving gulasch, wine, and other treats would be fantastic.

Kalimon

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Mar 27, 2012 - 10:02pm PT
What's wrong with gondolas? They have them all over Europe. The free of charge gondola between Telluride and the Mountain Village, CO saves tons of carbon emissions every year.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 27, 2012 - 10:22pm PT
Thanks, Adrian. Have you been to/climbed at Squamish, or do you live there?

Kalimon: Does everywhere need to be like Europe? The mountains of Europe seem rather over-developed, and people come here from Europe specifically to experience something less developed.

As some know from their in-boxes, I sent the message in the original post quite widely. In fact, to over 300 individuals and groups - essentially, every Squamish climber for whom I had an e-mail address, world-wide, every climbers' and conservation group that might be interested, and a lot of people in B.C. Parks and other government bodies. Including a lot living or based in Squamish, and a number known to be in favour of the proposal. Quite a number asked if they could forward the message, and I said sure. It appears it has gone quite widely, and some of the replies were from groups or individuals I hadn't heard of or met.

I've gotten about 30 replies. In my experience, a 10% reply rate to such a message is quite effective. (Most replies agreed with me, and opposed a gondola in or near the Parks.) I suspect the message has generated considerably more interest, though. I wonder how many messages the politicians are getting, how many hits forum discussions are generating, and so forth?

Don't forget to write, with your thoughts on the proposal:

• Premier Christy Clark: premier@gov.bc.ca or (604) 775-1003
• Terry Lake, Minister of Environment: env.minister@gov.bc.ca or (250) 387-1187
• Joan McIntyre, MLA: joan.mcintyre.mla@leg.bc.ca or (604) 981-0045
• Chief Ian Campbell, Squamish Nation: chief_ian_campbell@squamish.net or (604) 982-8646
• Mayor Rob Kirkham: rkirkham@squamish.ca or (604) 892-5217
• Chair Susan Gimse, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District: sgimse@telus.net or (604) 894-6371
• Sea to Sky Gondola Corp.: info@seatoskygondola.com

State your views, the reasons you have them, why you’re interested in this issue, who you are, and where you live. Remind them that government’s job is to protect and manage parks, in the public interest.

You can also write to:

• Vancouver Sun: sunletters@vancouversun.com
• Squamish Chief (newspaper) dburke@squamishchief.com
• Globe & Mail letters@globeandmail.ca
• Georgia Straight letters@straight.com
• Vancouver Province provletters@theprovince.com

For those interested, there's some additional discussion at:

http://squamishclimbing.com/squamish_climbing_bb/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3402
http://squamishclimbing.com/squamish_climbing_bb/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3765
http://squamishclimbing.com/squamish_climbing_bb/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3406
Tricouni

Mountain climber
Vancouver
Mar 27, 2012 - 10:53pm PT
I'm not opposed to development, and I'm not opposed to gondolas (in the right areas). I'm opposed to this particular proposal, because it involves whittling away at a Class A Park. To quote the recent BC Parks Annual Report,

Class A parks are Crown lands dedicated to the preservation of their natural environment for the inspiration, use and enjoyment of the public. Development in Class A parks is limited to that which is necessary for the maintenance of its recreational values. Activities such as grazing, hay cutting and other uses (except commercial logging, mining or hydro electric development) that existed at the time the park was established may be allowed to continue in certain parks.

It seems clear that this proposal falls outside what's permitted in a Class A park. To those that say "they only want to take out 0.4% of the land area", I say that's happened all too often in the past. It's analogous to what happened with the Agricultural Land Reserve, where bit after bit of the prime farmland was taken out of the ALR, a bit at a time, so that we wind up with far less agricultural land and hundreds of acres after hundreds of acres of sprawling suburbs. I don't want that to happen here.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Mar 27, 2012 - 10:58pm PT
I'm not intending any malice here at all but M.H. should probably start using the 2nd narrows bridge for all his Squamish trips. That 3 lane paved easement through the center of Stanley Park must've been a little controversial at the time.

If I remember correctly, that 3-lane bridge, the Lions Gate Bridge, was built by the Guinness company (the ones that make beer). Yes. A private company. And they built it because they owned a bunch of land across the inlet -- the British Properties -- that they thought would be a whole lot easier to sell if people could get to it without a boat.

I have no idea whose palms they had to grease to get a right-of-way through Stanley Park, or indeed if they had to grease any palms. But if there is a complaint about that bridge now, it's that it isn't wide enough. Not that it should never have been built.

So maybe there's a lesson here. Maybe Squamish should sell a bunch of land way up on that hill to... hmmm... New Belgium Brewing? And then they'll build the gondola so that people will be able to justify purchasing lots up there, and...

...and they'll also build a brew pub!

Which renders all other arguments moot.
Rolfr

Social climber
North Vancouver BC
Mar 27, 2012 - 11:37pm PT
"Well, it doesn't seem that anyone here is opposed to every development." quote MH

But, there is a vocal enough opposition, that some leverage and advantage may be gained for the local climbing community. After a film crew chopped some bolts, on one of my non de script routes in the Bluffs( for filming convenience), the SAS managed to negotiate that a Certified Squamish guide must oversee any filming in future.

The question should now be, what advantage can we bargain into the Gondola Proposal. If the opponents to the gondola feel, that it infringes on their enjoyment/experience,what concessions do you want, so it enhances your wilderness experience?

This issue has been polarized, into perceived black and white positions, the outdoor/climbing community verses economic development . There must be some attainable middle ground.

The last opposition to a gondola was during a time of economic growth, now with an economic downturn, I doubt whether the average Squamish resident will oppose the development. That may be the crux of the whole issue, as climbers we see route, trail, climbing , DEVELOPMENT as acceptable in our community, but fail to see what is "acceptable development," to the general public.

I agree, alternate location proposals should be considered, but drawing a line in the sand , yes or no, will only get you drowned when the tide turns against you.

mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 27, 2012 - 11:44pm PT
Wouldn't Waddington have a much larger economic impact. Just trollin, but just sayin. It would create a lot of climber type jobs. Who's turning down $150k a year to harg up ther for a year or two?
Kalimon

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Mar 27, 2012 - 11:47pm PT
What's with the the gravel pit in the "Class A" park?
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 27, 2012 - 11:48pm PT
Hey lets do Denali too!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 27, 2012 - 11:53pm PT
Where else?

Half dome definately needs a second set of cables..... that moves.

Cerro Torre would be good.

Superpin with a really good zip line.

Grand Canyon with Grand Foam pit for base practice.

Not every dream needs to be realized.

mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 27, 2012 - 11:56pm PT
Bruce Kay, apperently they say it is kind of hard to get there and sometimes the weather isn't very good. Can we put a pipeline in with it too.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 28, 2012 - 12:01am PT
You guys are definately thinking too small Waddington is really the ticket. How long would the cable need to be?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 28, 2012 - 12:17am PT
While the cat's away...

Bruce, Ghost: I've worked in the resource industries some, and know a bit about development. Plus a bit about economics. There's no need for red herrings on those scores. Yes, maybe we'd do things differently now than were done in the past. And yes, balanced development is important, and we all depend on a healthy economy. And the Chief and area has high natural values, but is not a wilderness. None of which makes what is proposed at Squamish right.

Kalimon: The history and development of the area is somewhat complex. It's probably simplest to say that the gravel pit was left an orphan in 1995, when the park was finally created. An inholding, identified as needed to protect the values of the parks.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 28, 2012 - 12:18am PT
when I first went to the 'Bugs in 1984 we were worried about being hit by a speeding logging truck on the way in... but once there it was a wonderful alpine experience...

returning in 1996 we found a better road, no logging trucks, but once in the incessant wop-wop-wop of helicopters taking hikers into the back country so they could hike on out...

I'm sure it was great for the local economy, and a convenience for those hikers who could afford the ride, but it wasn't the same place as in '84, something was truly lost in the interim due to "development."

I don't know about Canadian Parks, but certainly there should be wild places where people's every desire isn't catered to, places where people aren't the highest priority... there are few enough of those places left, certainly it is not a tragedy to preserve them for future generations.

Rolfr

Social climber
North Vancouver BC
Mar 28, 2012 - 12:33am PT
A slippery slope Ed. I remember caving in North Vancouver island in the 70's and the local logging community had the same lament. "places where people aren't the highest priority" meaning us, the new spelunkers.

Scrubber

climber
Straight outta Squampton
Mar 28, 2012 - 12:42am PT
Not to condone the reclassification of Class A park land to protected area status, but here's an idea. What if it were part of a land swap? If the province could be persuaded to add an equal or greater parcel of land adjacent to the parks to them as Class A park land, would that be a palatable alternative? Would the park as a whole come out ahead by gaining more land?

Maybe the developer could be given the option to purchase some comparable parcel of adjacent land to donate to Shannon Falls or Stawamus Chief Provincial Park.

I know this probably sounds like: "Oh goody, as a developer I can just buy my way into a park by purchasing some crappy parcel of land in the back 40 and donating it to the park in exchange for this prime piece of road-front real estate".

There may be something to be gained by pressuring the powers that be in this direction. If the project does go ahead, we may as well fight to get everything we can for the parks out of the deal, such as more land, trail development, park infrastructure, maintenance, etc.

K
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 28, 2012 - 01:51am PT
Kris, there doesn't seem much evidence that that would work, mainly because the government seems to see its role as facilitator, rather than negotiator let alone gatekeeper or protector. The lack of any public role for B.C. Parks speaks for itself. They'd be best able to independently and publicly assess development and other proposals, in the public interest. Certainly better than the politicians, or the self-interested positions of the developers.

It's tempting to conclude that the lack of a public role for B.C. Parks in assessing the proposal (or for that matter the one in 2004), and conducting independent meetings to discuss it, amounts to a gag by the politicians. It certainly doesn't seem to conform with the proper role of a government agency managing public property, or the spirit if not letter of the Park Act and the Protected Areas of B.C. Act.

Again, an FoI request might reveal some interesting things about how this has been handled within governments, and their dealings with the developer. Perhaps they're working their shredders and delete buttons as we speak...
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 28, 2012 - 10:22am PT
I'd like to think all the concerned citizens writing in do indeed have a current "wilderness" backside trail experience. I recall hiking up the chief in the 70's and it was quiet, very quiet.
I've also hiked up there over the last couple of years and I was blown away with the number of hikers. I think this is great for everyone, and eventually a whole lot better for our medical system, as people need to get their heart rates up. There are hundreds and hundreds of people, sometimes solid lines of 'em, hiking that trail on a daily basis (during busy times). Doesn't really seem to me to still be that "wilderness" experience it was in the old days.
This doesn't have much to do with the population of Squamish, it has everything to do with the two million people down the street half an hour to the south. Vancouver is one of the nicest cities in the world and is pushing outwards. People want to blast out of the anthill and breathe some fresh air.
The Gondola Guys don't want to build a casino or Wal-Mart up there, they're talking hiking trails and bike trails.

Perhaps, as a trade for the easement, Parks could require the Gondola Guys to build a new trail, off to the south a bit. This could take some of the heat off the backside trail and be an uber-workout for all those grouse-grinders.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 28, 2012 - 11:47am PT
It's interesting how all those hikers on the Chief manage to get up, and down - without a gondola. It suggests that the real issue is a lack of trails, not a lack of gondolas. Certainly it's helped that BC Parks has finally gotten some budget to work on the existing trails, although of course not everyone may agree with the results. But isn't the real need for more trails?

Times certainly have changed, though. I remember "helping" my father with The Vancouver Province public hikes on the Chief, in spring 1965 or 1966. (Before he broke his leg while on a search with the Mountain Rescue Group, in summer 1966.) There were four hikes every spring, sponsored by the Mountain Access Committee and The Province, including Hollyburn, The Chief, Diamond Head, and another. Widely publicized. For the Chief hikes, we strung handlines (probably MRG ropes...) at steep bits.

But then if it weren't for those darn people writing guidebooks and magazine articles, teaching others to climb, and stuff like that, maybe things would be different. Well, they aren't.

A plan for the Squamish, Shannon Creek, and Goat Ridge area something along the following lines makes sense:

 Finish rebuilding the existing hikers' trails on the Chief and Slhanay, using native materials where possible, and as little in the way of ladders, chains etc as possible.
 A new parking area at the start of the Slhanay trails.
 A new trail up the old mountaineers' route to the saddle between the Chief and Slhanay, connnecting into the existing trails, with perhaps a restored link back to the Shannon Creek road.
 A new trail from the Slhanay parking area, paralleling the Stawamus River road back to the Apron.
 A good wheelchair-accessible trail, close to either the current main tourist parking, or Shannon Falls. Accessible for free - no need to buy expensive gondola tickets, which are often beyond the means of the disabled and their caregivers.
 Expanded parking in the gravel pit, once it is (finally) obtained by B.C. Parks, perhaps some RV type camping there, maybe some low-impact services and concessions.
 Restoring the Shannon Creek road, with mountain bike access from it to the upper Shannon Creek basin, with a network of bike trails there, and hiker/mountaineer access thence to Habrich and Sky Pilot. (This could also provide access to an upper gondola terminal on Goat Ridge.)
 If deemed appropriate after needed planning, a gondola on upper Goat Ridge.
 Restoring the hiking trails on Goat Ridge, from Murrin Park to Petgill Lake to a gondola terminal, and up.
 If they fit, mountain bike trails on Goat Ridge, below the gondola.
 If geography allows (unclear), new hiking trails linking from the Chief through upper Shannon Creek to Goat Ridge.
 Whatever trails make sense on the Britannia Creek side of the gondola.
 Lastly, a foot/bicycle trail linking the Chief all the way to Murrin Park.
 Maybe even consider whether a "via ferrata" ladder system ought to be built on the Chief, if so where, and to the accepted standards for such things. Perhaps there's some appropriate location, if it's done properly.

That's a plan that fits better with the area, and would prevent a mistake that would be regretted for a long time.

Horse trading with the developers seems a lose/win strategy. You'd be conceding from the outset the key issue, which is high-impact deletions from Class A parks. No matter what bells and whistles they throw in, and whatever deals they privately do, it's still a gondola in the middle of parks that are there for other reasons.
gf

climber
Mar 28, 2012 - 11:52am PT
What is this "Slhanay" of which you (double)speak?
bearbreeder

climber
Mar 28, 2012 - 11:56am PT
theres no more a wilderness experience on the backside than on the grouse grind IMO ...

when you have stairs, metal ladders, gravel pits, power lines, the noise of a highway, etc ... its basically an urban workout

personally i dont quite care if they build it or not ... as long as it doesnt close off crags ...

what i do find most interesting is the visceral reaction of "outdoorsy" folks that i know who slam gondolas ... none of these people could tell me where the top and base terminal stations are going, many have never climbed or even hike the chief, and many come to squamish maybe a day or two in the summer at most and contribute minimal amounts to the economy

theres a deep blind ideological hatred of gondolas ... there more important things to worry about, such as a certain new proposed ski resort for the rich, IMO

hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 28, 2012 - 11:57am PT


Those 13 items on M.H.'s list; ya, Parks will get right on that, as they're swimming in money these days...
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 28, 2012 - 12:22pm PT
Slhanay is the (relatively) new name for the crag that was formerly known as the "Squaw". I don't know if it's an official CPCGN name, but the name Slhanay was given to it several years ago, by the Squamish Nation. IIRC, the Access Society first suggested the renaming about ten years ago.

bearbreeder is right - Jumbo Glacier may be a bigger issue. (http://www.keepitwild.ca/); Perhaps there's some linkage, though. That proposal seems likely to be tied up in the courts for years to come though, like the Enbridge pipeline. The First Nations have constitutional rights which governments can't easily override.

The "plan" I fleshed out above might take five or ten years to create, and is simply provided to show that there really are alternatives. You don't have to be a developer or government to have some vision for the area, and it seems realistic. Squamish and the Chief at one end, Britannia and a gondola at the other, appropriate recreation in between.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Mar 28, 2012 - 02:06pm PT
I echo bearbreeders comments. I'm really quite mystified at the intransigent negativism.

Ditto. Climbing and hiking on the Chief is such a noisy, crowded, urban experience now that the addition of the gondola will make zero difference. It may even make things better, if it provides access to new crags and bike terrain up high.

It seems to me that the real issue is the "is it okay to allow land in the park to be used for commercial purposes" question. And on that question, there is a basic division here on ST between those who say "NEVER!!!" and those who say "It depends."

The former remind me of religious fanatics whose arguments take the form of "Because it says so in the Bible."

As a staunch supporter of the whole concept of public parks, I would hate to see the system become little more than a concession-granting, pocket-lining scheme for developers and politicians. On the other hand, to simply say "Because the Bible says so" is to lose all credibility in the discussion of individual cases -- both this current one and those that are sure to arise in the future.

Someone upthread brought up the subject of requiring compensation by the developer for access to park land. Others have pointed out that this particular gondola may offer benefits to current users of the park (i.e. us climbers). Local residents seem to be in favor.

If you want to have any chance of convincing these folks that they are mistaken, you will need to step down from the pulpit and act like you understand that you are not smarter then them, better than them, possessed of wisdom that they are denied...
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 28, 2012 - 03:25pm PT
Whoever you are, Mr. Ghost, YOU are my hero, currently. I wish I could write like that.
Bruce Kay seems to be picking all the right words as well. Nicely written.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Mar 28, 2012 - 03:29pm PT
Whoever you are, Mr. Ghost, YOU are my hero, currently. I wish I could write like that.

And I wish I could climb like you climb.

David Harris (former Vancouver resident and Squamish climber, now living in Seattle)
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 28, 2012 - 03:53pm PT
Sorry, Dave - I don't quite follow. You seem to be saying that:

1. It's a matter of the rule of law, that is applying the Park Act, a provincial statute, to protect parks. A statute which on paper is black and white. A job for the provincial government, which has duties to consult, consider all the issues, interests and perspectives, etc.

2. It's a matter for local opinion to decide. The opinion of those live in a cave under a boulder at the Chief, i.e. "locals", is the deciding factor.

3. Other citizens shouldn't express their views, or suggest alternatives, and that it's somehow patronizing if they do.

I don't get it.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Mar 28, 2012 - 03:56pm PT
I don't get it.

I know.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 28, 2012 - 03:58pm PT
Well I used to live in a cave but now I'm in a house, made outta 2 x 6s. Trees, actually. Probably even B.C. trees, god forbid.
I'm not saying it's up to the locals only, just happy to offer my opinion.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 28, 2012 - 04:06pm PT
Well, I've had a little experience, and even some success, helping to organize climbers and others for various worthwhile objects. So possibly I have some idea what I'm doing. Still, I'd welcome concrete suggestions on how to improve what I'm doing, bearing in mind real world constraints. Hopefully, in fact, the various organizations mentioned somewhere upthread will start to do their job and provide the needed leadership.
Hoser

climber
vancouver
Mar 28, 2012 - 04:15pm PT
It may even make things better, if it provides access to new crags and bike terrain up high.

So a gondola that opens up at 9am is going to allow you to ascend sky pilot?

Cypress and Seymour both provincial parks close their roads during non business hours to combat theft and vandalism, how do you think that will play out with the shannon creek road and our current access?

I am led to believe that these access roads will become non useable to the public, otherwise we could just drive up like we can pretty much do now.

Climbing and hiking on the Chief is such a noisy, crowded, urban experience now that the addition of the gondola will make zero difference.

So are many places, Joffre, Spearhead, Duffey, Skaha....if thats your argument where does it stop?
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 28, 2012 - 04:28pm PT
I don't think you've been able to drive up there for years. Dirtbike, perhaps.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 28, 2012 - 04:28pm PT
I'm basically feeling neutral about this with both sides having good points to their arguments. A couple of posts have spoken in favour of the gondola and then stated being adverse to Investing in this project.

This seems a little hard to reconcile. Any comments ?
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 28, 2012 - 04:35pm PT
You love your Tacoma; how many Toyota shares do you own?
Sorry Jim, not trying to be snappy.
I think it's really hard to start and successfully run a business in this province/country. Just cause I think someone has a good idea doesn't mean I'm handing over my $.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Mar 28, 2012 - 04:41pm PT
I'm basically feeling neutral about this with both sides having good points to their arguments.

My feeling, too. I know Anders thinks I've gone over to the Dark Side, and am pro-development, but that is not the case. My point is that there truly are arguments to be made both in favor of this particular development and against it, but that anybody who says "Whoever disagrees with me is wrong and evil" is not really making a point, but rather making an enemy.
Hoser

climber
vancouver
Mar 28, 2012 - 04:43pm PT
Hamish you can drive to the boulder blockade for the last few years and intermittently depending on who moves what you can make it to the memorial look out. Then of course sometime in the last 5 they turned the road beyond that into a single track.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 28, 2012 - 04:54pm PT
For anyone without a decent 4WD, the Shannon Creek Road been largely undriveable for a long time. I believe that's intentional, plus of course it would require significant maintenance to keep open. As others have mentioned, even with a serious 4WD, you may not get all that far.

Few gondola/lift companies seems to allow private vehicles on "their" roads. Hikers and often bikers are OK, but that's all. In this case, perhaps there'd be driveable public access to a point somewhere behind the Chief, higher than is usually the case now, but only foot or bicycle traffic after that. No idea what they'd do about the all terrain vehicle and motorcycle crowd.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 28, 2012 - 04:54pm PT
You should send in a photo of the vehicle that you drive up to that drainage. Just so everyone realizes how great that old road is...
Hoser

climber
vancouver
Mar 28, 2012 - 05:17pm PT
Are we talking about the same road to te memorial which is a few switch backs after the boulder blockade?

Its been fine for a long time, they log up there so the road just before the boulder blockade is 2wd. Then slightly rougher after and to the blockade.

Then after the blockade its pretty good till the memorial.

Here is what it looks like last year just after the boulder blockade



you dont need a 4x4 to make it to the blockade as of last summer.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 28, 2012 - 05:19pm PT
HAHAHA !

It feels like I invested heavily in a Toyota, is that the same thing ?

There's no escape from depreciation !
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 28, 2012 - 05:19pm PT
Well, I didn't have much luck trying to get my Matrix up there last summer. Not that I expected to. Stopped at the first steep/loose hill.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 28, 2012 - 05:24pm PT
I'm thinking we're comparing apples and oranges here. I meant vehicle, as in a heavy chunk of tin with 4 wheels. I see in your photo you're talking vehicle, as in, your bike. Sorry for the mis-communication.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Mar 28, 2012 - 05:49pm PT
David you have gone to the dark side. You do live in 'Murrica dontchya?

I haven't seen a lot of comments on this thread that are anti-development but plenty which are anti-that-location. Most folks coming out against the location cite the removal of park land as the problem.

Hamish has made some interesting arguments in favour of the development as presently stated by the company. But Anders has too.

Who is right ? Sadly I think time will tell when the thing is built up and it either prospers or falters with the remains becoming ugly artifacts....

But most certainly, the Jumbo Glacier uglyness which has reared it's head again is a deeper wilderness issue. I haven't had ANYBODY explain to me how that 1% resort is going to do anything but silverbelly down the river.......
Hoser

climber
vancouver
Mar 28, 2012 - 06:07pm PT
Hamish thats the road just after the boulder blockade, sometimes you can drive past it but this time the boulders were to big. Otherwise you can drive right to the blockade.

Bruce the memorial is at the lookout where the car full of teens went over the edge....presumably the whole reason for the boulder blockade in the first place.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 28, 2012 - 09:08pm PT
Squamish-Lillooet Regional District is meeting on Thursday April 19th, to discuss second reading of a rezoning bylaw for the proposed upper terminal. It’s at 7:00 PM at the Britannia Beach Community Centre, 70 Copper Drive. Proposed rezoning bylaws, or bylaws that would change the official community plan, go through three readings (at least), and I believe that at this one the public is permitted to speak. Could be interesting.
Scrubber

climber
Straight outta Squampton
Mar 28, 2012 - 10:34pm PT
A couple of posts have spoken in favour of the gondola and then stated being adverse to Investing in this project.

This seems a little hard to reconcile. Any comments ?

I stated that I was predominantly neutral on the proposal thus far, but that I wouldn't invest in it. What I meant was that, without seeing what their real plans and ideas are in their business plan, it's hard to believe that it could be viable. Therefore, my hard earned money/ retirement nest-egg would not be invested there. That's all.

These guys have more related development experience than probably all of us posting on this subject combined. They state that they had the opportunity, and were looking world wide for a location to develop this idea, but in the end chose this location. I can only presume they have some decent reasoning behind their plan.

I still don't like the removal of Class A park land, but I'm not sure I can sit entirely on one side of the fence or the other with what I know right now.

Kris
(kickin' the soapbox back to the center of the room now)
Stewart

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Mar 28, 2012 - 11:07pm PT
I am a survivor of the battle to protect the integrity of Strathcona Park (another "Class A" park). Here's an abbreviated history of what happened: after the "Parks Branch" was successfully lobbied by every cheap hustler in the mining business to open this area to development, the war began. I can't recall how many of my friends were arrested in the protests that erupted, but among the people who expressed their outrage at this desecration were more than a few second (and first) generation loggers and people who earned their living working in the mining industry, along with the "usual" environmentalists. They simply wanted their descendants to enjoy the same beauty that was available to them.

I feel that the core of the resistance to this (and the above)proposal is simple: Class "A" parks are expected to remain in the condition that existed when the boundaries were established, and remain that way in perpetuity. It is the responsibility of the Parks Branch to defend the integrity of such areas under their mandate. Period.

What's the crying need to add to the uglification of the Squamish Valley? Isn't it one of the core values of climbing to accept that great views are one of the many rewards of the effort required to reach them? I'm far too crappy a climber to haul myself up K2, but I have little doubt that the view from the top is magnificent. Maybe we should build a gondola over there as well, as I'm sure the locals could use the short-term employment, along with the minimum wage jobs generated from such a project.

Leave the place alone. If you're looking for a great view with no effort required and are among the lucky ones who can afford to pay for the ride, then perhaps you can drink in the view from Grouse Mountain or travel up to Whistler. Regardless, I am adamantly opposed to the rearrangement of Class "A" park boundaries to suit the needs of developers.

If the supporters of this project are so desperate to build a gondola, then build it somewhere else. There's not that much land under what passes for protection under the Parks Act.

Amen.

Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 28, 2012 - 11:54pm PT
They state that they had the opportunity, and were looking world wide for a location to develop this idea, but in the end chose this location.

It would be easy to say such a thing, perhaps in part to help market the idea. After all, if you say something is "world class" (one of the most overused adjectives on the planet), doesn't that puff it and everyone associated with it up?

What developers say, and what they have done and do, can be two different things. Sorry to be so skeptical, but I've met more than a few developers. It would be interesting to see what records they could produce of their alleged search - if any. It seems rather more likely that they knew of the 2004 proposal, often drove by Squamish and saw the site, and grabbed what they considered an opportunity. It's in Whistler's backyard. Why would they be looking elsewhere? And as they must have known that the site wasn't intended to be available for a gondola of any kind, you wonder what they knew about all that. You'd think that even the most determined developer, knowing that a) Squamish decisively rejected a similar project in 2004, b) the land was bought by an organization entrusted with ensuring it could never again pose a threat to the Parks, and c) that there was a restrictive covenant on the land to that end, wouldn't even bother.

Short of a court order, I doubt they'd disclose who their partners and investors (if any) are, whether they actually seriously considered other locations, how they came to acquire the gravel pit, their dealings with governments and The Land Conservancy, and related matters. (Although the governments might have to say, due to FoI, and TLC might want to.) If they ever claim they considered a Goat Ridge gondola but that it wasn't feasible, I'd ask for written proof, that is reports similar to those done for the location they now propose.

Developers = location + profit.
Rolfr

Social climber
North Vancouver BC
Mar 29, 2012 - 12:33am PT
Someone explain the difference to me, Cypress Provincial Park issuing a permit for a private company to run a ski lift on the mountain and the Gondola proposal in Squamish.

Please let's not argue over the nuances, the underlying principle of Private Public Partnership is well established in Provincial Parks . Taking a "Not In My Back Yard 'approach to the proposal, portraits , to the general public, that climbers are elitists, as stated in a previous post.

The amount of development climbers have done over the last 50 years at the Chief would also become a major issue, and public outcry, if it was proposed over a one to two year period. Let's get a reality check, before we, the kettle, start calling the pot black. Cutting 50 trees a year over 10 years, is still a 500 tree clearcut, and that is just a small example of our climbing ecological footprint.

As stated previously, I probably wouldn't invest in the proposal, based on the limited info available, but last time I looked, BC is still a free enterprise society , not a socialist regime where entrepreneurs have to disclose their business plan to the general public.
Let's focus on the issue, a 20ft wide easement for the towers, not their business plan.

If the business model fails, a good contingency plan would be , for the developer to set aside funds for the removal of infrastructure on parks land.

I may not agree with the Mighty Hiker, but I respect him for consistently getting off his ass and actually doing something.



hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 29, 2012 - 12:46am PT
I couldn't agree with you more. Including the part about Anders working his butt off. Total respect.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 29, 2012 - 12:48am PT
Thanks, guys!

Perhaps this thankless do-gooder stuff is just a pretext for my lameness as a climber.

They claim it'll be a 20 m, not 20 foot, cut - but I rather doubt it'll be only 20 m. No one has so far refuted my belief that they're likely to cut anything that's of sufficient height that it might touch the gondola cable, wires, or cars if it fell. The cut, except perhaps in areas (if any) where the gondola would be high off the ground, seems more likely to be 60 - 80 m. I wonder also who'll police what's actually done?

Much of Cypress Bowl was clearcut in 1966 - 69, supposedly to build a ski area. The company essentially highgraded everything it could, then went bankrupt. It was known as the the Cypress Bowl scandal. It wasn't actually created a park until 1973. The government, left with a mess, didn't have much choice but to establish a province-run downhill and cross country area. In the mid 1980s it was privatized, creating more problems.

In other words, at Cypress, clearcut logging preceded it being made a park, such as it is. Only in B.C. In the current case, the parks are well established, and the area where the gondola would go is good second growth at the bottom and top, and virgin (bluffy) timber in the middle.

Rolf, you're a north shore boy, you should know this stuff.

http://www.hollyburnheritagesociety.ca/s_5.asp (Lots of good information.)

As for what climbers do at the Chief. Well, first, it goes back to long before the Chief became a park. That doesn't necessarily make it right, or appropriate, of course. Second, BC Parks knows about it, and it's managed through the master plan, the rock climbing strategy, and so on. Last, it's in small increments, even allowing for the foolish excesses of a few climbers, and generally not visible to the public. It would take climbers decades to cut as much as the clearcut for the gondola (say 80 m x 1 km) would create. Not in the same ice rink.
Rolfr

Social climber
North Vancouver BC
Mar 29, 2012 - 01:18am PT
My favorite quote from the article

"In the gathering dark, skiers and partygoers would make their way from the ferry dock up the trail to the lodges and cabins of Hollyburn, lighting their way with bug lights and miner's carbide lamps. On Saturday , more folks would hike up the mountain for an afternoon of skiing before going to the lodge for the Saturday Night Dance."

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 29, 2012 - 01:28am PT
interesting discussion...

isn't the idea of publicly held land to provide access and use to the public,
and of privately held land to control access to and use of that land by private entities?

Publicly held lands are managed by the government, and are accountable to the public.
Privately held lands are managed by some corporation and are accountable to the owners and shareholders of that corporation.

A place like Squamish is fortunately public lands, but it didn't have to be that way... other very popular climbing areas, like the 'Gunks are on private land and managed privately. When I climbed there we could go over to Sky Top, now there are restrictions limiting climbing there... I'm not sure how extensive the negotiation of that closure proceeded between the Mountain House and the climbers... I have my guesses.

Climbers are not the only stakeholders at Squamish, but now all stakeholders have input in the decision making because of the public holdings... climbers will not have any representation as the park becomes more and more privately held.

You can't have both a developer developing and the public management of the park... there are inherent conflicts. The whole idea of the development underscores these conflicts, the location is popular, has a great view that can be potentially exploited for commercial purposes.

The park could also provide access to the public for non-commercial motives, too, and of course, you can go and enjoy the view now without having to compensate a commercial entity to do so. You've been doing that for 40 years or so, watching the area develop all the time.

I certainly don't have a dog in this fight, and I'll probably still climb at Squamish the few times I have in the future to do so even if there is a Gondola. But you should think what this all means to your climbing area... it is harder to undo this (like the gravel pit) once it is done.



Tami

Social climber
Canada
Mar 29, 2012 - 01:29am PT
Just for the record, my parents ( 89 & 91 this year ) are the brains behind Hollyburn Heritage Soc. They have enlisted some youngun'z to help with technological crazyness like the internet ( e.g. the HHS website )

My mother probably wrote the words that Rolf posted above.

The "Lodge" is Hollyburn Ski Camp also known as Hollyburn Ski Lodge.

hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 29, 2012 - 10:23am PT
Good morning M.H.. I really do think you're doing a great job here and I'm just a cave-dwelling Squamite trying to offer a bright side. I suppose part of my problem is that I'm not offended when I see a gondola. It's not a Tim Hortons, it's not a pipeline full of oil, it's not a mine, it's not even a logging block, really.
I realize you've got a hate-on for these Gondola guys but I believe you're stretching it a bit when you write here that the easement will be 80 meters wide. That's 250 feet, in old guy measuring. I would bet there is no way they need that much width.
When you ride the creekside gondola at Whistler (i know you don't because they took land from the parks 6 times) you can look at the trees out both windows. And they're not far at all. I'm thinking that swath is more like 60 feet. Twenty meters for the younger crowd. The majority of the ski runs up there aren't even 250 feet wide...no where close.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 29, 2012 - 12:53pm PT
Ummm, no hate on for gondolas or developers, at all. Both have their place, and I've benefited from both. I simply don't agree that this proposal is in an appropriate place.

The exact width of swathe they'd cut, as with the noise and visual impacts, is interesting and important, but a detail. You can take it as a given that if they build it, it will have significant impacts, and isn't likely to be as promised. Nothing new there.

The issue is whether or not it should be built at all. Some seem to have lost sight of that. Residents, climbers and others to be divided and ruled - they in effect have been piecemeal lured into thinking 'Well, whether or not it's built isn't really our problem, and the developers are promising to throw us some treats, which sound pretty good'. Instead of thinking "Hold on. Does this make any sense at all, whatever bells and whistles it might have?" The developers seem to have learned from 2004.

Perhaps it would be only a 20 m swathe. I doubt it. Let's see the engineering report. There are lifts and transmissions lines of all kinds, and the swathe width seems to vary. It's common sense that as a preventive measure you'd cut down anything tall enough that it might fall on the lines or towers, especially given that the swathe creates more potential for windthrow. And the trees are higher than 10 m. Lastly, who'll police it?

My involvement with climbing management and conservation at Squamish goes back to the mid 1980s. Complicated stuff.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 29, 2012 - 04:10pm PT
Ya, I'm with the guy that climbed the grand wall last weekend. They did the same technique with the peak to peak gondola in (hold my breath) whistler.
I'm sorry, M.H., for suggesting you don't like the gondola guys. Just seems you are quick to exaggerate their statements and projections.
They say a 60 foot easement, you print a 250 foot swath.
That's all.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 29, 2012 - 09:24pm PT
I sent my letter (e-mail) to the premier's office, and other government people, on Tuesday evening. There were a few auto-replies. The only real reply, from premier@gov.bc.ca, came this morning:
Thank you very much for your message. Your comments about the proposed Squamish Gondola Project are appreciated and we note you have shared them with the Minister of Environment. We want to assure you they will also be shared with the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, for inclusion in his ministry's related discussions as well.
As you know, we are encouraging public feedback on all provincial issues and, as such, it was good to hear from you.
Which is about what you'd expect. The more people who write, the better. The project still needs several approvals - unless, of course, the politicians have done a back room deal. It's quite possible - the provincial government has been acting more as facilitator than steward. But the more letters they get, the better.

I wouldn't want to get too side-tracked in the details of what the developers claim they'd do, and what they'd actually do. I've simply been making the point, perhaps with a bit of rhetoric, that given everything the developer's claims sometimes seem doubtful. Whether the gondola would be lurid red or camouflage green, whether the cleared strip would be 20 m or 60, whether it'd for the full length or only part, exactly just how visible it'd be from where, what promises may have been made to various groups, what associated things may or may not be built, and just how much noise impact it'd have are all details. They presume that it should and will happen, and that the developer will actually perform. The real issue for now is whether or not it should proceed at all. The big picture, the vision for the area.

In 2004, the developers wanted everything to be handled very quietly - hardly surprising. Sunshine is always the best in these situations. The current developers seem a bit cleverer, with their divide and conquer strategy, but again the lack of independent public meetings run by B.C. Parks in Squamish, Vancouver and perhaps elsewhere, to present information on the proposal and get public input, speaks for itself.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 30, 2012 - 10:27am PT
I'm thinking the Proponents have been following this site and a few others quite closely. How dumb do you think they are? Not.
They were probably just tickled to see their 60' easement turned into a 250' swath of destruction.
Lawyers.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 30, 2012 - 10:37am PT
Sorry, M.H., but you did write in that all us Squamish folk live under a rock, or in a cave. You'll have to pay a small price for that.
Besides, I know you love to debate.
I still think you're doing great work here.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Mar 30, 2012 - 12:34pm PT
MacBeth? No, whenever there's a guess about a Skakespeare quote you just say "Richard the Third." You say it sort of quietly and then go back to your book or whatever.

You won't always be right, But even if you're wrong, no one else is likely to know, so you score a lot of cool points.

Feh! I can't believe I'm back on this thread. That's what being stuck on the couch with a cold will do.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Mar 30, 2012 - 12:59pm PT
Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by Hamish Fraser.
All the lawyers that loured upon our house now in the deep bosom of the swath of trees buried........



Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 30, 2012 - 02:56pm PT
I'm sure that the developers and their friends watch these discussions carefully. SOP. And I have no doubt that they'd like little more than to get us all chasing red herrings, such as the exact width of the gondola swathe, whether the land would be removed outright from the parks or not, its exact location, noise, visibility, its colour, and on and on. The real issue is whether it ought to be built at all at that location.

There's some coverage of this in today's Squamish paper:

Regional District hearing on April 19th: http://www.squamishchief.com/article/20120330/SQUAMISH0101/303309957/-1/squamish/sea-to-sky-gondola-set-for-public-hearing

A pro-gondola column:
http://www.squamishchief.com/article/20120330/SQUAMISH0304/303309951/-1/squamish/all-aboard-squamish-s-gondola

An edited version of the letter that I sent the politicians and others:
http://www.squamishchief.com/article/20120330/SQUAMISH0303/303309953/-1/squamish/gondola-proposal-opposed

A reasonably balanced editorial:
http://www.squamishchief.com/article/20120330/SQUAMISH0302/303309961/-1/squamish/not-a-done-deal-yet
bearbreeder

climber
Mar 30, 2012 - 03:09pm PT
there was a question asked about pro-gondola people here ...

i dont think that there are so many pro-gondola people here so much as people who dont think it should be rejected out of hand

i actually agree more with the positive column posted above ... the gondola has been known for awhile ... also IMO many of the people i know who oppose it would do it regardless of where it was located, most of them cant tell me any details of the project, where its actually going (some think its on the chief), or anything else for that matter ... most of them hardly go out to squamish at all and theyre quite surprised when they find out there are powerlines/traffic noise/gravel pit right at the chief ...

with the exception of anders posts and letters, i dont see too much opposition to it at all so far, certainly not organized opposition ...

either way it doesnt really matter to me ... unless of course i get a sbucks and flush toilets for which im all for ;)

and captive bears .... must have captive bears at the top ....
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 30, 2012 - 04:24pm PT
Public opinion is only one factor in the decision, but there seems to be more latent concern about the location than you might think, judging by the messages I've received. Perhaps it just needed a catalyst. Anyway, we may never know - my experience in these situations is that even when you ask people to send you a copy of whatever they send to the politicians etc, they usually don't. It could be obtained through FoI, but that takes time.

FWIW, I'll be meeting some concerned residents of Squamish later today.

Someone named bearbreeder, advocating captive bears, such as were on Grouse? Hmmm. What about wolves? Sasquatches?
Stewart

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Mar 30, 2012 - 08:11pm PT
SAY - am I mistaken in assuming that the proposed gondola is within the established boundaries of a Class "A" park?

If not, what part of Class "A" status don't the supporters of this project understand?
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Mar 30, 2012 - 08:33pm PT
Hi Woz. Have a little flexibility.
They're not mining or drilling for oil up there.
Besides, looking down the road, that whole basin might be ripe for parkland. My guess is the futureoneons won't want to be looking at the yarder setting up and getting in the way of their view. And currently, that's how it's zoned up there.
Hope things are good in Courtenay.
Hoser

climber
vancouver
Mar 30, 2012 - 08:50pm PT
most of them hardly go out to squamish at all and theyre quite surprised when they find out there are powerlines/traffic noise/gravel pit right at the chief ...

Does that argument ever get tiring or what...yes I believe everyone is aware that at some point in time everything was logged and there was probably a logging road. That is not carte blanche for lets just trash it further. Its wait a second can we do this better....

We have a hut in sky pilot no one can get to cause the roads are locked and you need to be part of the BCMC to even get a key, we have roads and trails all over the place back there.

It would take a half a day to return shannon creek road back to drivable conditions and there would be all sorts of trails and bike descents for people to recreate in and head back to Squamish for a beer. Yet the best choice we have is a gondola and the prospect of being locked out even farther away from the Habrich trail head, fluffy kitten...

The whole thing is as ridiculous as the Whistler passenger train not running in Winter.
Scrubber

climber
Straight outta Squampton
Mar 31, 2012 - 12:49am PT
I had for gotten that last Spring the proponents of this project were invited to do a presentation to my wife's Tourism Product Development class at Capilano University. I asked her about the questions that she had her students prepare to grill those guys. (She does not go easy on anyone like that, trust me.)

Of course they're going to paint it through a bit of rose-colored view, But it did seem clear that they had done their homework. Here were some of the interesting points that seem relevant to things that have come up here:

1. The location is the only available one between Alice Lake, north of Squamish and Fury Creek that does not have any conflicts with high voltage power transmission lines. When BC Parks required them to explore other options within the area, they had already done so.

2.The Developers have been very open to speaking to anyone who has concerns, comments or suggestions regarding the project. Has anyone here who is 100% against the current location of this project, or the project in general, requested an audience with them? If so, what did you learn from the meeting?

In addition, it appears that the Developers now have First Nations support for the project. I don't know if this was an important step or a big hurdle. From other development proposals throughout BC in the past, it seems like having First Nations on your side is not a big bonus, however having them against you can be crippling.

Lastly, I have a slightly different understanding of the "support" by the Climber's Access Society of BC (CASBC) to this project. While it is quoted on the proponent's website that CASBC is behind the proposal, my understanding is that they only supported the development and maintenance of some new and old trail systems that the proponent agreed to help fund.
bearbreeder

climber
Mar 31, 2012 - 12:58am PT
to comment on the argument of the less than pristine nature of the chief getting tiring ... i dont personally think so ... a lot of people against the development that i know keep on insisting that a gondola ruins the wilderness experience ... i would argue that what you get is an urbanish park experience complete with the amenities ...

it seems to me that this thing is going ahead and that the best thing would be to get the most we can out of it ... ie insure that public access is maintained, public washrooms at the top and bottom, places to refill water (not like grouse where they took out the tap so that people buy their bottled water), showers at the base would be great as well ... and whatever trail and road improvements and access we can wrangle out of them ...

this seems to be very doable and a much more realistic option ... traffic in the area will just keep on increasing just like grouse and whistler, as will development ... get the maximum benefit we can out of it

thats just my opinion

as to captive bears ... ever notice how if there are bears on the highway, a whole bunch of cars pull over and snap pics ... wolves and sasquatches dont have that effect ;)



Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 31, 2012 - 08:36pm PT
An interesting meeting in Squamish last night. Sorry, Bruce - these things take a little time.)

En route, I stopped at Britannia and had as good a look around as I could. It seemed to me that there are sites there that would provide room for a gondola and related facilities. That is, reasonably flat areas with enough room, east of the major power lines. Whether a gondola would fit there (zoning, other users, access, traffic) would require planning, negotiation, maybe rezoning - all the usual things. What seemed to be the likelier sites are up to 1 km from Highway 99.

I also stopped at the pullout about 1 km south of the Papoose. There is a fairly flat area between that and the base of "Stony Creek Wall", which looked like it may allow enough room, and is just east of the powerlines. A gondola from there would go up quite steeply.

The location is the only available one between Alice Lake, north of Squamish and Fury Creek that does not have any conflicts with high voltage power transmission lines. When BC Parks required them to explore other options within the area, they had already done so.

I have little doubt that the proposed location is ideal for the developers, and suspect that they did not examine other options in any detail. It has all the physical attributes, and another location would require more effort - farther from the highway, not as flat, requiring more development work, etc etc. That is, possibly more investment of time and money. Although I'd still like to know the full restrictive covenant story.

Anyway, the issue isn't whether there are possible alternatives, or whether they were reasonably examined, or whether we can take the developer's word for it that they were. The issue is whether a gondola should be built in and through the parks, and land should be removed from Class A parks for that purpose, apparently without public review by BC Parks, independent public meetings for all who might reasonably be interested, or any real effort to involve anyone but local residents in the debate.

The developers have been very open to speaking to anyone who has concerns, comments or suggestions regarding the project. Has anyone here who is 100% against the current location of this project, or the project in general, requested an audience with them?

Why would they want to talk with me? I oppose the proposal, or removal of land from the parks. Their entire proposal, and indeed such process as there has been to date, is based on the presumption that somehow they can get land out of the parks, and that the needed approvals can be quietly obtained, without real scrutiny or process. What would we have to talk about?

If/when the proposal and deletion is approved, after a real public process involving all those interested in the area, might be time to talk about the bells and whistles, and effective enforcement mechanisms.

Somewhere upthread BK mentioned that in some places the proposed gondola might be well off the ground/away from cliffs, and so they might not clear the trees in that area. Which, of course, would make it more visible.

Speaking of which, does anyone know if the thing would be lit up at night? How would that look?

All of the messages I've received regarding this have been polite. Most opposed to a gondola, or at least in favour of a more public and thorough process. A few in favour, some undecided. Often simply thankful to get more information, which points up a problem. Only one negative/rude reply, a somewhat predictable one.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Mar 31, 2012 - 09:16pm PT
Why would they want to talk with me?

Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn't. But it does strike me as kind of odd that you've repeatedly impugned their motives and hinted that they have a "hidden agenda" without ever talking to them.

If you'd asked them your questions, and they'd refused answer you, or told you obvious lies, then I could see why you'd question their motives. But it sounds very much like you didn't want to talk to them because you'd already made up your mind that anything they said would be false -- because they are developers and therefore evil.

My best guess is that they are looking at an opportunity to make some money by putting a gondola in the location they've advertised, and they chose that location because they viewed it as the only one that would lead to a profit.

Whether or not they should be allowed to do this is a reasonable subject for debate, but your constant hinting that they are evil monsters is kind of tiresome.
Stewart

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Mar 31, 2012 - 10:47pm PT
Good to hear from you, Hamish. Hope all is well with you.

Unfortunately, I remain unconvinced that this is a good idea for anyone but the developer. Assuming that I am correct in my understanding that the area is within the confines of a Class "A" park, I see no reason for the need of a gondola within its boundaries. This proposal could very easily be seen as a precedent to justify further exploitation of the area.

These feelings have arisen from my involvement in the struggle to protect Strathcona Park. I (along with many others) spent countless hours attempting to defend the integrity of the boundaries of this area, and many law-abiding friends of mine walked away from that scrap with a criminal record as thanks for their efforts... we (sort of) won that scrap, but the battle continues to this very day with no end in sight. Feel free to check out the details for yourself - the history of the exploitation of Strathcona Park would be funny if it wasn't so disgusting.

Class "A" status means that if I find a pretty rock within its boundaries, I am committing an offence if I decide to take it home with me. Furthermore, it is my understanding that I would also be committing an offence against the Park Act if I decide to set up a tent anywhere in the area of the Chief outside the designated camping sites. However, the developers feel that it should be OK to rip up Goat Ridge so that only those who can afford the trip can enjoy the view. No dice.

Here's the compromises that I could accept (through gritted teeth):

 the ride is free.
 the land involved is traded for an equal (and pristine) area nearby that is acceptable to both the Nature Conservatory of British Columbia or a similar organization and the BCMC.
 an enforceable commitment from the B.C. government to retain the remaining land in an undeveloped state in perpetuity.
 the developer posts a non-refundable bond to ensure that the area is properly maintained and cleaned up if the project is abandoned at any stage of completion. This would include littering by gondola patrons.
 the developer will assume the costs of any additional search and rescue operations resulting from the influx of inexperienced visitors who would otherwise be unable to access the area.
 the developer will pick up any increased policing costs incurred as a result of the additional car thieves attracted to easy pickings in Squamish.
 a response plan for the admittedly unlikely prospects of an avalanche coming down the clearcut, or a fire caused by gondola operations.
 ALL jobs created by the gondola development go to the locals, and at a decent wage.

Maybe it's just me, but I feel that the attractions of Class "A" parks should be equally accessible to ALL Canadians regardless of their economic circumstances. The last I heard, they were still supposed to be considered citizens of this nation.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 1, 2012 - 12:28am PT
It's still unclear why I would privately consult with the developers, or vice versa, although I’m sure we’d have a nice chat. I oppose land being removed from Class A parks, to land being removed (directly or in effect) from these particular parks for the gondola, and to a gondola being built in or near those parks. If such removal is considered, it should only be after full and open process - public review by BC Parks, and public information/discussion/feedback meetings organized by BC Parks - by internet, and in Squamish, Vancouver and elsewhere. Which hasn't happened. The developers disagree with me, so what would be the purpose? They would say “We’re going to build this gondola, and let’s talk about the bells and whistles, and what we can do for you”. I’d say “No, I oppose a gondola being built there at all, or land being taken from Class A Parks, and to the process that's been followed.”

No doubt they're fine fellows (whoever might be behind the proposal), and we could talk about lots of fun stuff, like what's happening with the restrictive covenant, whether the swathe would be 20, 31 or 62 m wide, and continuous or discontinuous, whether they truly looked at alternatives, the noise and visual impacts, their various promises with regard to a variety of matters, how they'd live up to their promises, why I'm skeptical, why I oppose the proposal, and even what they'd in theory do to address my concerns. (You never really know what they'll do until after the fact, of course.) Perhaps I'd agree that I ought to have said something earlier, but had taken it that TLC and others were looking after it, and would apologize if in fact I'd said anything that was demonstrably incorrect. We could even discuss the pros and cons of locations outside the parks, or acceptable money-making activities that might be conducted within the gravel pit, if they wanted. I wouldn't mind such a meeting at all, and perhaps Bruce can introduce us.

That's not the point. Neither the developers, nor I, have the power to decide anything. It's up to the provincial government to fairly and publicly decide such issues, accordingly to the law and public interest, after proper public consultation. And that's not what's been happening. It is public land after all, in a provincial park. And somewhere in the fine print I read that it was for all the citizens of B.C., which I hope means we all have a right to be consulted by the decision-maker.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 1, 2012 - 12:57am PT
The process seems like the one we had in the US and the individual states until the early-1970s...

Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 1, 2012 - 01:20am PT
Camping is an integral part of the fun of a climbing vacation.
The proposal's proximity to the campground could have a bad effect at night concerning base and gondola car lighting. There's no way something like this would run only during the day.

When a commercial housing development is proposed, if there is no computer modelling of how its lighting and shadowing affects it's surrounding environment, the proposal is considered incomplete.

Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 1, 2012 - 01:40am PT
Wayno, don't be a hoser.

And aren't you home early from work?

ps Thanks for reading, and don't be shy about writing a letter. You've been to Squamish, and can put in your two cents if you want.
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 1, 2012 - 01:47am PT
To tell you the truth, Anders, after all that reading, I really don't have a strong enough opinion on the matter to write a letter. I see and have seen this kind of thing go down here in the states too many times. My life is complicated enough these days without having to get emotionally invested in a cause, but I wish you the best in your endeavor.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 1, 2012 - 10:32am PT
I'm thinking the trees are so thick in the campground, the happy campers won't even see any gondolas.
Do you get free lates when you're building those starbucks, Jim?
Seems wherever there's a starbucks going in, there's another one not too far away...
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 1, 2012 - 11:14am PT
Yes, once in a while we get a coffee on the house. A free coffee doesn't equal abandoning my objectivity though. I'm there to make money and that's as far as I'll invest myself in the politics or culture of any client. It's just business, right ?

The difference between what I do for work and what is public park land is the work is not a democracy. Like I said above, I think both sides have merit. I also think that just because something has merit it also needs scrutiny.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 1, 2012 - 11:19am PT
You're gunna lose the circulation in your feet from sittin on the fence for too long.

I think we're all in agreement it's a crying shame the gondola has to travel over the park. We'd love it if they could slide the project south a few klicks.
Just seems part of life that you can't always have your cake and eat it too.
Life is full of compromises.
You'd probably way rather be building a coffee shop on Lonsdale, where you live, but you're making one in Calgary.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 1, 2012 - 11:54am PT
OK, at this point I take a neutral stance because I honestly can see the persuasiveness of both sides.

The Chief is a public park for all Canadians and foreign visitors. It was mandated through political process by MLA's who were elected democratically.

I've built retail outlets for many different development and franchise organizations and they are naturally in it for the money. They also have to abide by civil laws concerning their ambitions and believe me they try as hard as possible to push the limits regardless of the green this or environmental that of their public persona.

So what's wrong with putting their feet to the fire ? If it's a good idea, it will stand on it's own.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 1, 2012 - 12:08pm PT
It will still be a park, just with a tram running over part of it. And if your whole push is the enjoyment of the park for Canadians and foriegn visitors, wouldn't you think more Canadians and more foriegn visitors will enjoy the park if the gondola proceeds? Call me crazy.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 1, 2012 - 12:14pm PT
Much of this debate relates to the importance of keeping an open mind, critically assessing the process and if needed the proposal, involving all those who should in the debate, and coming to an informed decision.

As Dave and Jim say, it's not the developer's fault - they're simply being and doing what developers do. It's in their nature.

However, the provincial government in particular created a badly flawed process for assessing the proposal, which almost seems designed to ensure it would be approved. The lack of public review of the proposal by B.C. Parks, and a largely local and often private process, speak for themselves. You'd think that the provincial government, approached about a proposal like this, would say:

1. A similar one was soundly rejected in 2004.

2. It's not at all consistent with the master plan for either park, or the Park Act.

3. Concerned parties bought the gravel pit and put a restrictive covenant on it to prevent this happening. Whether or not the covenant can be avoided, it's morally if not legally binding.

4. They're high profile, heavily used parks, of international stature. This isn't just a local issue.

5. Given this, if you want us to consider this, the proposal will have to go through extensive, independent public review. It will have to be approved by all the local governments, after public debate. All those who have an interest in the parks will need to be actively informed of what you propose, with real opportunities for independent public debate.

6. If B.C. Parks recommends against your proposal, after full review, tough. Likewise if it's rejected by one or other level of government, or the public. You pays your money, you takes your chances.

The provincial government has been acting more as facilitator than as trustee of the parks and the public interest, and that's wrong.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 1, 2012 - 12:22pm PT
No that ain't crazy Hamish. I lived for a while in Banff National Park with the Sulphur Mountain Gondola, Lake louise, Sunshine and Mt. Norquay ski areas. I enjoyed the use of all these amenities.

Banff National Park is huge though, and can absorb this infrastructure, the Chief is small.

Damned if those fence pickets aren't handy for scratching my 'roids !
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 1, 2012 - 12:35pm PT
We'll never know what happened behind closed doors. In 2004, we heard of the proposal in the spring. The proponent wanted it to be kept low key, and so no issue was made of it at the time. In August, it was subject of a CBC radio program, at which point the Access Society went public with concerns about the proposal and the process. It generated some news media interest, and considerable public interest. The provincial government, again disregarding the spirit if not the letter of the Park Act, said that before the proposal could be considered, it would have to be approved by the District of Squamish, the Olympics people, the Squamish Nation, and IIRC the regional district. A lot of people held meetings, talked about, wrote letters, politicked etc - I'm sure I don't know the half of it. Keeping track of what was happening, staying involved, and getting accurate information out on a regular basis, was a challenge.

It came to a head at a Squamish council meeting in late September. We suggested that the meeting was of some interest, and should be moved from council chambers to the high school (edit: Brennan Park Recreation Centre), which it was. About 200 were there. It wasn't a public meeting - all we could do was listen, without saying anything. However, we did have cheerful red buttons, which in a sense spoke for us. (See below.) Council discussed it to some extent. The developers were there, as were representatives of the Squamish Nation. (They liked the buttons.) At one point the developers were asked how their meeting with the Squamish Nation that day had gone. They answered so as to suggest that those discussions were continuing, although it appeared that many in the audience knew otherwise. The proposal had been rejected by the Squamish Nation. Council then voted to reject the proposal, and that was that, apart from some grumbling by the developers about suing the provincial government for their investment - which makes you wonder what the government might have said to them.

Afterward, MEC arranged a meeting with TLC, and committed $100,000 to start, for addressing problems in the Squamish area. We said the highest priority was getting the gravel pit off the market, and making sure it could never again be threatened with inappropriate development, such as another gondola - to the Chief or elsewhere.
photo not found
Missing photo ID#242968
Shows what people can accomplish if they work together.

Given the geography, the Chief and area will be subjected to repeated development proposals as time goes on. (In 2004, I advised people to hang onto their buttons, as they were bound to be useful in future.) It's easy to say, as in the present case a climber might "Oh, it's not really a climber problem, it's not on the Chief itself, they've promised to make some little changes to address our concerns, plus we like some of the other bells and whistles they promise. We can live with it." The broader issue is the death of 1,000 cuts - next time, it will be something which does have significant impacts on climbers, or some other park in the area. The government will say that the present case shows that they don't have to go through full public review and consultations, and the developer will say that this provides a precedent for it. It's better to stand up for our principles now, especially given a flawed process.
bearbreeder

climber
Apr 1, 2012 - 01:53pm PT
there should be consultations, thats a good thing of course ... but werent meetings held earlier where anyone was invited to ask questions, or were those simply potemkin village meetings? ... werent these questions asked at that time, or did the developers simply refuse to answer or sideline critics?

i think its presumptive to assume that most canadians or foreign visitors will be against a gondola ... as i stated earlier most of those i know who object really cant tell me anything about it ... they just hear the word "gondola" and start going crazy about "pristine" wilderness being "destroyed"

if there was a real issue impacting climbers, i would think that the SAS and CASBC would be opposed ... or the first nations would have something against it since its sacred to them

i guess im just not seeing the problem with the actual gondola itself ... the problem i do see is the developer start restricting access to the facilities or other amenities unless you are a paying customer .... which is why id like that hammered out ideally right now

to me its basically an urban park and the number of visitors will keep on increasing regardless

if there is real opposition then there should be no problem getting a signed petition going, a facebook page against it with a lot of likes, actual protests and demonstrations against the developer, people calling and writing their MLAs, and some of the aforementioned groups coming out publicly against it, etc ...

for an idea on how to get started ... heres the one for the stillwater bluffs which i support ... just follow the same process

http://www.change.org/petitions/island-timberlands-ltd-of-nanaimo-five-year-moratorium-on-any-logging-of-stillwater-bluffs

facebook ...

http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

current squamish MLA

http://joanmcintyremla.bc.ca/

contact info for yr current MLA

http://www.leg.bc.ca/mla/3-1-1.htm

etc ....

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 1, 2012 - 01:54pm PT
Canada National Parks Act (S.C. 2000, c. 32)
http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/N-14.01/

4. (1) The national parks of Canada are hereby dedicated to the people of Canada for their benefit, education and enjoyment, subject to this Act and the regulations, and the parks shall be maintained and made use of so as to leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

8. (1) The Minister is responsible for the administration, management and control of parks, including the administration of public lands in parks and, for that purpose, the Minister may use and occupy those lands.

Ecological integrity

(2) Maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity, through the protection of natural resources and natural processes, shall be the first priority of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of parks.

Park communities

9. Powers in relation to land use planning and development in park communities may not be exercised by a local government body, except as provided in the agreement referred to in section 35.

Pollution clean-up

32. (1) Where a substance that is capable of degrading the natural environment, injuring fauna, flora or cultural resources or endangering human health is discharged or deposited in a park, any person who has charge, management or control of the substance shall take reasonable measures to prevent any degradation of the natural environment and any danger to the fauna, flora or cultural resources or to persons that may result from the discharge or deposit.

Powers of superintendent and Minister

(2) If the superintendent of a park is of the opinion that a person is not taking the measures required by subsection (1), the superintendent may direct the person to take those measures and, if the person fails to do so, the Minister may direct those measures to be taken on behalf of Her Majesty in right of Canada.

Expenses of clean-up

(3) A person who fails to comply with a direction given by a superintendent under subsection (2) is liable for the expenses reasonably incurred by Her Majesty in right of Canada in taking the measures directed, and those expenses may be recovered from that person, with costs, in proceedings brought in the name of Her Majesty in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Preparation of community plan

Footnote *33. (1) A community plan for each park community shall be tabled in each House of Parliament as soon as possible after this section comes into force, accompanied in the case of the town of Banff by any zoning by-laws made under the agreement referred to in section 35.

*[Note: Section 33 in force February 19, 2001, see SI/2001-29.]

Contents of community plan

(2) A community plan for a park community must
(a) be consistent with the management plan for the park in which the park community is located;
(b) accord with any guidelines established by the Minister for appropriate activities within the park community;
(c) provide a strategy for the management of growth within the park community; and
(d) be consistent with principles of
(i) no net negative environmental impact, and
(ii) responsible environmental stewardship and heritage conservation.

Elements to be included

(3) A community plan, or the zoning by-laws referred to in subsection (1) and tabled with it, must include
(a) a description of the lands comprising the park community;
(b) a description of the lands comprising the commercial zones of the park community; and
(c) a measure of the maximum floor area permitted within the commercial zones of the park community.

Amendment of Schedule 4

(4) Subject to section 34, the Governor in Council may, by order, add the description of a park community, the description of its commercial zones and a measure of their maximum floor area referred to in subsection (3) to columns 2, 3 and 4, respectively, of Schedule 4, opposite the name of the community set out in column 1 of that Schedule, but any description or measure so added is not subject to amendment by the Governor in Council.

Leases, licences, etc.

(5) No lease or licence of occupation may be granted, and no permit, licence or other authorization may be issued, authorizing a commercial use of lands within a commercial zone of a park community if the maximum floor area for commercial zones specified for that park community in Schedule 4 would be exceeded as a result of that use.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 1, 2012 - 02:02pm PT
If I am not mistaken, the proposal regards a BC Provincial Park and not a national park...
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 1, 2012 - 02:09pm PT
http://www.canlii.org/en/bc/laws/stat/rsbc-1996-c-344/latest/rsbc-1996-c-344.html
Park Act, RSBC 1996, c 344

Restriction on alienation of interests

8 (1) An interest in land in a Class A or Class C park must not be granted, sold, leased, pre-empted or otherwise alienated or obtained or made the subject of a licence except as authorized by a valid and subsisting park use permit.

(2) A park use permit referred to in subsection (1) must not be issued unless, in the opinion of the minister, to do so is necessary to preserve or maintain the recreational values of the park involved.

(3) An interest in land in a Class B park must not be granted, sold, leased, pre-empted or otherwise alienated or obtained except as authorized by a valid and subsisting park use permit.

(4) A park use permit referred to in subsection (3) must not be issued unless, in the opinion of the minister, to do so is not detrimental to the recreational values of the park concerned.

(5) Crown land in a recreation area
(a) is reserved absolutely from sale, and title to that land is retained, in perpetuity, by the government, and
(b) is reserved from lease or other disposal under the Land Act, except as may be approved by the minister.

(6) An interest in land in a conservancy must not be granted, sold, leased, pre-empted or otherwise alienated or made the subject of a licence except as authorized by a valid and subsisting park use permit.


Natural resources protected

9 (1) A natural resource other than fish and wildlife taken, hunted or killed in accordance with the Wildlife Act and fish, game or wildlife stalked or pursued for observation or for photographic or study purposes, in a Class A or Class C park must not be granted, sold, removed, destroyed, damaged, disturbed or exploited except as authorized by a valid and subsisting park use permit.

(2) A park use permit referred to in subsection (1) must not be issued unless, in the opinion of the minister, it is necessary for the preservation or maintenance of the recreational values of the park involved.

(3) A natural resource other than fish and wildlife taken, hunted or killed in accordance with the Wildlife Act and fish, game or wildlife stalked or pursued for observation or for photographic or study purposes, in a Class B park must not be granted, sold, removed, destroyed, damaged, disturbed or exploited except as authorized by a valid and subsisting park use permit.

(4) A park use permit referred to in subsection (3) must not be issued unless, in the opinion of the minister, to do so is not detrimental to the recreational values of the park involved.

(5) A natural resource other than fish and wildlife taken, hunted or killed in accordance with the Wildlife Act and fish, game or wildlife stalked or pursued for observation or for photographic or study purposes, in a park of any class having an area of 2 023 ha or less or in a designated wildland area must not be granted, sold, removed, destroyed, damaged, disturbed or exploited.

(6) A natural resource other than fish and wildlife taken, hunted or killed in accordance with the Wildlife Act and fish, game or wildlife stalked or pursued for observation or for photographic or study purposes, in a recreation area must not be granted, sold, removed, destroyed, disturbed or damaged, exploited, developed, improved or utilized under any Act except as may be approved by the minister.

(6.1) A natural resource, other than fish and wildlife taken, hunted or killed in accordance with the Wildlife Act and fish, game or wildlife stalked or pursued for observation or for photographic or study purposes, in a conservancy must not be granted, sold, removed, destroyed, disturbed, damaged, exploited, developed, improved or utilized except as authorized by a valid and subsisting park use permit.

(7) A natural resource in a park of any class must not be granted, sold, removed, destroyed, disturbed, damaged or exploited unless, in the opinion of the minister, the development, improvement and use of the park in accordance with section 12 (3) will not be hindered by it.

(8) [Repealed 2004-22-61.]

(9) A natural resource in a conservancy must not be granted, sold, removed, destroyed, disturbed, damaged or exploited unless, in the opinion of the minister, the development, improvement and use of the conservancy in accordance with section 5 (3.1) will not be hindered by it.

(10) A park use permit must not be issued to authorize the following activities in a conservancy:
(a) commercial logging;
(b) mining;
(c) hydro electric power generation, other than local run-of-the-river projects;
(d) any other activity unless, in the opinion of the minister, the activity will not restrict, prevent or inhibit the development, improvement or use of the conservancy in accordance with section 5 (3.1).

(11) In subsection (10):
"commercial logging" means harvesting timber for the primary purpose of selling or trading the timber;

"local run-of-the-river projects", in relation to a conservancy, means run-of-the-river projects supplying power for use only

(a) in the conservancy, or
(b) by communities, including first nation communities, that do not otherwise have access to hydro electric power.


Resort and tourism development

9.1 Nothing in section 8 (2) or 9 (2) prevents the issuance of a park use permit for an activity related to resort or tourism development if, in the minister's opinion, the activity and the development are consistent with or complementary to the recreational values of the park involved.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 1, 2012 - 02:16pm PT
Thanks Ed.

It looks like there is a huge amount of discretionary power given to BC Parks and that citizen input is more likely to happen in the election process rather than the permit process...
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 1, 2012 - 09:45pm PT
There is another very important public policy aspect to this. Nature trusts and land conservancies, such as The Land Conservancy of B.C., do an enormous amount of useful work. They work with governments, landowners, citizens, donors and businesses to acquire and protect land that is important for conservation, heritage, and recreation values - for the public, and the long term. The public has benefited enormously from this.

The negotiations are often complex, but the conservancies' usual goal is to protect important land. They often do so by purchase or trade. Once they own the land, it is often transferred to a government, but with binding conditions (restrictive covenants) as to its future use. Sometimes the land ends up in a park, sometimes it's used for other things. Just like the Access Fund, they acquire the land, make sure it's protected, and eventually pass it on to someone able to manage it, usually a government. The conservancies' work is founded on restrictive covenants being ironclad - they count on government to enforce them.

The total budget of land conservancies in B.C. is in the tens of millions of dollars annually, and at any one time they probably own hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property. Climbers have benefited greatly from the work of TLC, at Skaha, the Malemute, and elsewhere, and Squamish generally has benefited from the work of land conservancies, not just on "climber" issues. The public of B.C. as a whole has benefited enormously from their work. Many climbers and members of the public made substantial donations to TLC to help with its work at Squamish, especially protecting the gravel pit.

The motto of TLC is "Special Places. Forever, For Everyone." Similarly to other conservancies, not just in B.C.

We're waiting for a copy of the restrictive covenant, to see what it actually says. However, it would be normal for it to name both TLC and BC Parks/the government. Both would have rights to enforce its terms. It apparently says something like: "You can't build a gondola from this site that goes through or ends in either of the Parks, or is on the Chief." If the reports are correct, the developer hopes to get around this by having a strip of land removed from the Parks, so that technically the gondola wouldn't contravene the covenant. Still, the intent of the covenant is very clear, and the government may be quite able to enforce it.

The message this all sends to developers is that if they can think of a way around the wording of a restrictive covenant, the provincial government may enable them to do so - instead of defending them. It's an appalling precedent. It sends a message to the public, and to land conservancies, that restrictive covenants may not be effective, and so is likely to negatively affect their work, and fundraising. After all, if conservancies can't guarantee that land really will be protected, and government won't fulfill its role as guarantor (whatever second thoughts some might later have), how can they do their work, and who will donate to them? That may in turn have serious implications, throughout B.C. And then there's the question as to why the provincial government, knowing how important restrictive covenants are to B.C. and its citizens, and to the work of land conservancies, seems to be creating a dangerous precedent by not doing all it can to enforce the spirit if not the letter of this one. It's nothing new for land protected by restrictive covenants to be under development pressure, and you have to stand up for your rights.

Bruce: You're right - the 2004 council meeting was at Brennan Park. I've been to so many high school functions there I get confused. But I'm certain that the public wasn't allowed to speak, as that's something I would remember.

(A reliable source advises that the article in the Georgia Straight was incomplete. TLC bought the gravel pit for $900,000, and nominally sold it for $2 million, but as part of a more complex transaction which didn't result in it actually pocketing $1.1 million.)
Stewart

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Apr 1, 2012 - 09:52pm PT
Hamish - thank you most sincerely for having the courtesy to respond to my concerns.

The bottom line of my objections centre upon the fact that there is absolutely no connection between the words "developer" and "philanthropist" or, for that matter, "environmentally responsible".

My concerns and comments regarding this proposal are, I feel, valid. I am also aware that there are many who feel that they are extreme, but they were stated with the desire to make these (and future) developments so difficult to proceed with that present and future politicians will be required to think long and hard before granting these kind of permits to one of their drinking buddies.

This is a political decision based upon the reality that this proposal arose because of the simple fact that this guy expects to make money out of ripping up a Class "A" park, and ALL Class "A" park boundaries will remain elastic for as long as politicians and government employees with their careers on the line continue to allow this kind of behaviour to continue. Each abuse of the sanctity of park boundaries establishes precedents to justify further development of land that is supposed to be protected for the enjoyment of future generations.

With respect, Hamish - where would you draw the line when it comes to the re-drawing of a park boundary? I could easily envision a scenario where this guy tears up Goat Ridge and either runs out of cash and/or decides it's not such a great idea after all and just walks away, leaving a godawful mess up there with nothing to show for it. I would be willing to bet that the developer would not be held personally (as in out of his own pocket) responsible for the cleanup costs.

Finally, I'm sorry, but WHY build the damn thing in the first place? As I stated in my first post, the beautiful scenery that can be viewed from up high has always been one of the unique rewards for the efforts (and often risks) of those who took the trouble to get up there on foot.

To quote Geoffrey (sp?) Winthrop Young, whose climbing career was submarined as a result of wounds received during World War I, "I hold the heights, I keep the dreams I won."
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 1, 2012 - 11:51pm PT
I got in a bit of trouble for my comment last week asking why the naysayers are joining the eight month old discussion so late in the game.
I know M.H. is no stranger to these differences of opinion and has always been actively involved in similiar discussions, to put it mildly.
Another "actively involved" group is the Climbers' Access Society of British Columbia. This group has been attending meetings with the Gondola Proponents for many months now, and making lots of progress.
Why does the former president, founder, and current member of the CASBC wait until the final hour to stomp his feet?
The very access society that you belong to, and founded, has been in discussions with these guys for months. And as an active member, are you still telling us you learned about this proposal last week?

Not trying to put you on the spot or anything; just wondering.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 2, 2012 - 12:39am PT
Thanks, HF.

1. I've been rather preoccupied by work, family matters and other things for some time - life. I won't say more.

2. Unless the provincial government has already made up its mind, which I hope it hasn't, citizens have a right to comment on the process and the proposal, and have that taken into consideration, right up until a decision is made. As there has been amongst other things inadequate (no) process to inform and involve people from outside the Squamish area, the governments can't complain if that input isn't at a time or in the form they might prefer.

I believe that I've raised some key issues, which need to be addressed. If no one else raised them earlier, that's unfortunate.

3. I wasn't aware of the restrictive covenant disaster until the Georgia Straight called me about it. (To judge from the article, neither was the executive director of TLC.) I took it that TLC had placed a binding restrictive covenant on the gravel pit to prevent any gondola being built, as agreed by all in 2004, and relied on them and the government to ensure it was enforced. I'm appalled that the government has not from the start carried out its responsibility to enforce the spirit and the letter of the covenant.

4. The Access Society has a focused mandate - it represents climbers regarding access issues. No doubt it's doing just fine at that, and I stay out of the way - I've done more than enough for climbers and access already. Still, they seem to have been haggling with the developer over details, when the bigger picture is the issue. This is about much more than climbers' interests.

Yes, in the best of all possible worlds I would have been aware of and involved earlier. If I've perturbed anyone by speaking out now, sorry about that - it wasn't intentional. Better late than never, I hope.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 2, 2012 - 02:00am PT
To put the governments/restrictive covenant issue another way, consider this. The Federation of Mountain Clubs of B.C., with support from many, bought key land in the middle of the Little Smoke Bluffs in the mid 1980s. It's now nominally worth millions, and managed as though it's part of the park, but still owned by the FMCBC. It greatly benefits all citizens of Squamish, and is much more than just for climbers. The FMCBC hasn't donated the land to the District of Squamish. It wants to be sure they have an enforceable restrictive covenant and zoning on the land, so that it's truly protected, and can only be used for park purposes. It won't transfer the land until there is, and there's no agreement. "Whether the FMCBC lands will be transferred to the District of Squamish will depend on how secure the climbing community feels with the park designation by-law." (http://mountainclubs.org/index.htm); Given what's happened with the gravel pit restrictive covenant, the FMCBC may not feel secure about this any time soon.

There's no risk that the land, while owned by the FMCBC, would be used for other purposes. But non-profits sometimes go broke. In which case the land would be sold to the highest bidder, which might be rather a problem.

Perhaps the governments have overlooked this possibility. The FMCBC might draw an adverse inference from what has happened, and retain title to its land, just to be on the safe side.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 2, 2012 - 10:34am PT
Hi Woz. You are a very good writer to which I'm no match.
Do keep in mind, however, the development you write about will be occuring way up top, well away from the park. That area up there is old cut-blocks, likely scheduled for more logging at some point. Also, the proponents aren't asking to re-draw the boundaries of the park, they're asking for a 20 meter easement.
I'm sorry but I'm out of time. I will answer all of your questions later, after work.
Cheers.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 2, 2012 - 07:42pm PT
Personally I think we've pretty much thrashed this one to death.

Wanna bet? This is SuperTopia, after all.

Anyway good luck with it Anders and I'm sure we'll need your energy in the future, maybe with whatever happens with Crumpit Woods.

I only came out of retirement due to the importance of this issue. Otherwise this stuff goes in the SEP field.
doser

Mountain climber
Vancouver BC
Apr 2, 2012 - 09:38pm PT
A day ago, I stumbled upon a posting on cascadeclimbers.com about this issue, which forced me to think it through and crystalize my opinion. For what it's worth, here's my take:

The Stawamus Chief Park is primarily a recreational mecca, and the gondola offers a plethora of new recreational opportunities, not to mention the just plain 'touristy' benefit of riding into the alpine, which will appeal to those less fit, or with children, etc.

The gondola does not impinge upon the Chief itself, as is obvious from earlier posted photos. Yes, there will be a swath cut beneath the tram (as there is beneath the Grouse Mtn Skyride, for instance), but the line lies several hundred metres south of the climbers campground, and nearly half a kilometre from Shannon Falls. The Chief trail comes close to the tram-line only when it traverses south of the campground, then it quickly climbs away from it as it follows Oleson Creek. The traverse trail from Oleson Crk to Shannon Falls will pass thru the swath, for sure, but 20m (or even 50m) is hardly an eyesore in a non-wilderness setting. There is one small (but pleasant) climbing area left of the tramway, above Oleson Crk, but it's in the trees and faces north and I don't think there will be any intervisibility at all.

As for the positives, I think anything that gets people into 'the mountains' is good, even if it's just a 'resort' setting. Those sorts of people tend to be more sensitive to 'our' issues when it comes down to logging or mining vs. recreation. The tram will re-open easy access to the superb rock on Habrich and the wonderful introductory mountaineering on Sky Pilot, both of which have been nearly lost to us in the past decade with the deterioration and closure of logging roads. Mountain bikers will be ecstatic, and I can imagine several challenging new downhill runs being developed. Hiking (including loops) on Goat Ridge and across to Petgill Lake will be attractive. I can imagine backcountry skiing in the basins north of Sky Pilot and Goat Ridge. Heck, I can even imagine walking DOWN to climb 'A Scottish Tale' when it freezes, then riding the gondola back to civilization.

I respect what people say about the importance of protecting our parks, but they are cultural and social creations, and as society changes I have no problem with 'evolution' of purposes and boundaries. By far the most popular parks in the Vancouver area are Mount Seymour and Cypress Bowl, both of which are heavily 'industrialized' with downhill skiing facilities, yet both of which offer excellent hiking and wilderness skiing opportunities - and both of which are 'remote' enough to kill people now and again. I love the time I spend on Seymour, for instance - one of my very favorite places!

So, overall, I see far more potential for postive outcomes than for problems, and I hope the gondola proposal receives the support necessary to have it go ahead.

Regards,
Don Serl
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 2, 2012 - 09:57pm PT
How did you get so sensible anyway ?

Nicely stated Don. My sentimentality for the past has been at war with my logic of the proposed benefits. I like things the way they are but honestly I couldn't bitch at renewed access to what once was available by vehicle.

Stewart, no one (I hope) walked that far from the Mamquam drainage to do the grainy peak of Habrich.
Scrubber

climber
Straight outta Squampton
Apr 2, 2012 - 10:18pm PT
Well said Don. I share many of those sentiments, but have not been able to bring them together so succinctly. Thanks for your views on the subject.

Kris
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Apr 2, 2012 - 10:53pm PT
Stewart, no one (I hope) walked that far from the Mamquam drainage to do the grainy peak of Habrich.

PC & I walked from the bridge at the bottom of the hill where the big bridge (used to?)crosses the Stawamus R . ( the one that flows below the Squaw...........uhhhh "slahanay" and the apron )
( my '75 Vega wasn't gonna manage those switchbacks ) when we climbed The Nose route on Habrich (we did that in a day & bivied on the landing at the base of Habrich intending to do another route the other day but got mosquitoed outta there)

Ahhhh.....mosquitos. mmmmmmmm..... :-0

Maybe call the gondola MOSQUITO TRAMWAY.

Hi Don !
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 2, 2012 - 11:23pm PT
Holy O'God Batman -- the end of the world is upon us! Serl has posted on Supertopo.

The Lion in Winter
The Lion in Winter
Credit: Ghost
gf

climber
Apr 3, 2012 - 12:03am PT
Slackers in foreground, lunch-tree shade behind them with East Lion in...
Slackers in foreground, lunch-tree shade behind them with East Lion in background
Credit: julian stoddard
Speaking of Lion(s) in winter, check this shot from a fun tour during the last sunny spell. Taken in Cypress Provincial Park which as Don (howdy captain!) has noted is festooned with a 3 lane hiway, chairlifts, swimming pools and movie stars. The difference in my mind is that the catalyst for this park development came about from a timber theft associated with an undelivered ski-resort and the need for the government of the day to fulfill their part of the bargin. The park plan for Cypress has always been multi-use. I don't believe a gondola was envisioned as part of the chief park when various groups banded together to make this a reality, the result of which is a nice potential arbitrage win for the current development group.
doser

Mountain climber
Vancouver BC
Apr 3, 2012 - 12:14am PT
wow! thanks for all the greetings, old friends. too bad we aren't tucked in some bar somewhere, yelling our differences at each other like the drunken louts we used to do such good jobs of impersonating now and again, 'back in the day'.

and now, to return to silence... carry on...
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Apr 3, 2012 - 12:16am PT
Yer a long ways in there Mister Foodeater. I mean in the photo. East of the east Lion? Wow. Good cookies :-)

But I agree. I'm not in favour of this gondola at Squamish.

Too much can go haywire with it to render it an inoperable pile of steel and abandoned buildings.

Everyone is allowed their opinion. I hope the gov't is convinced by a sound business plan and strong local support for the thing. It's not tourism what sustains these projects but locals using the thing for their own purpose.

Core authenticity and core users. Like Hamish F and Don S and Kris W and Jer F

:-)
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 3, 2012 - 12:23am PT
All posters here are authentic, core users, aren't they?

No doubt I'll be vilified if the gondola proposal is rejected or abandoned, or even if the government as a face-saver creates a somewhat more credible process that delays it. People like shooting messengers, apparently. When I stepped down from the Access Society four years ago, after 13+ years of effort, exactly one person (who sometimes posts here) took the trouble to send a message or call to thank me. Climbers are not the most graceful bunch at times.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 3, 2012 - 12:23am PT
You didn't just say, "BOAT RACE" ! did you ?
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 3, 2012 - 12:27am PT
Respect for Anders.
gf

climber
Apr 3, 2012 - 12:39am PT
Anders,
You've done some great work over the years for curent and future generations of climbers; allow me to thank you. To expand on your observation; often the messenger gets shot not for the message, but for the tone in which it is delivered. This point was made on more than one occasion to yours truly by a former colleague who was a mentor to me in climbing, work and life.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 3, 2012 - 12:45am PT
I'm about 14 posts late but wanted to thank Don for taking the time to sculpt his letter.
Outstanding.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 3, 2012 - 12:48am PT
Endless amounts of respect for Anders.
even if I have to keep him in line a little.
Tricouni

Mountain climber
Vancouver
Apr 3, 2012 - 02:48am PT
I've got a lot of respect for both Anders and Don, and I respect their opinions even when they don't agree with mine.

But, Don:


... As for the positives, I think anything that gets people into 'the mountains' is good, even if it's just a 'resort' setting.... Those sorts of people tend to be more sensitive to 'our' issues when it comes down to logging or mining vs. recreation.

By this logic, the now-going-ahead Icefield walkway (or whatever) in Jasper is good. And a road into the Black Tusk Meadows would be good because would certainly allow more people to see the beauty of that area, and we could educate them about the fragility of the alpine meadows, etc. etc.

Sorry, I don't buy it. If you want to get more people into the Shannon Creek back areas, refurbish and pave the road up there, put in a huge restaurant, interpretive centre, trails, whatever. Charge $5 to drive up the road; people will come. Put some bears up there, too. People love seeing bears! But the road option isn't as sexy or spectacular as a gondola, so maybe they won't come in as large numbers. You see, the attraction isn't the scenery; it's the perceived scariness or thrill or novelty of the gondola itself.

I respect what people say about the importance of protecting our parks, but they are cultural and social creations, and as society changes I have no problem with 'evolution' of purposes and boundaries. By far the most popular parks in the Vancouver area are Mount Seymour and Cypress Bowl, both of which are heavily 'industrialized' with downhill skiing facilities, yet both of which offer excellent hiking and wilderness skiing opportunities - and both of which are 'remote' enough to kill people now and again. I love the time I spend on Seymour, for instance - one of my very favorite places!

Yes, I like Seymour, too, and I might even support the forthcoming (so I've heard) proposal for a lift to the top of Pump Peak. And in some cases there's a case to be made for rejigging park boundaries - many of them are artificial and arbitrary (who comes up with these boundaries?). But, Don, where do you stop? We can reopen, say, the Tatshenshini debate (and the mine), because that way more people could enjoy the mountains, and it would certainly be good for the economy. If the boundaries are to be fluid, why not reopen the debate about the gondola to the top of the Chief: that would be good for the economy and would draw more people than the present proposal. Just take land out of the park!

I'm not convinced that the present gondola plan is financially viable, and to my way of thinking it's in a poor location. Run it up Goat Ridge. Run it up to a shoulder on Mt. Harvey, or Brunswick. Run it up to the top of Unneccessary for a fabulous view and for the opportunity to hike back to Cypress. I'd proably support any of those options. The main argument that I've heard in favour of the present, low-grade location is that it avoids hassles with powerlines and has plenty of flat land for parking. Please! Look at Europe: they've got gondolas and such in far less promising, steeper places than Lions Bay.

The problem with taking land out of parks is that you can't put it back. When it's gone, it's gone. A bit at a time, the parks get whittled away, all in the name of the economy, or jobs, or changing cultures, or getting more people into the wild.

(an incoherent rant, I realize, and far from the polished prose of Don, but it's late and, like MH, I feel strongly about this issue. And the coffee pot is empty....)


Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 3, 2012 - 10:17am PT
Another thought: If the sanctity of park land is the point from which you start, and end, your argument, that doesn't necessarily mean you must oppose the removal of any given piece. You could look at the net total instead.

So, if the government wants to remove a piece of land from park status, why not make adding an equivalent piece a condition of your approval? Then, you can look at this particular case and say: "Okay, take a chunk out of this park, and allow a gondola to be built, but in return, add an equivalent or bigger chunk of land elsewhere. Either elsewhere in this park, or elsewhere entirely.

If the real reason for your opposition to a gondola does in the area between Oleson Creek and Shannon Falls is that you really don't think a gondola there is a good idea (bad business plan, eyesore, stupid, whatever), then you can oppose it on those grounds.

However, if you really don't mind the idea of a gondola there, but oppose it because it would require land to be removed from the park, then you can say: "Well, if you want the gondola here, then put some new land into a park elsewhere."
gf

climber
Apr 3, 2012 - 10:24am PT
Thats' what we like about you ghost-we make you look reasonable.... :/
Please bear in mind though, that this isn't just any old pragmatic land swap, when this park was pieced together a few years back there was significant work done to avoid exactly what is now transpiring. Lets keep that in mind shall we?
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 3, 2012 - 10:26am PT
Ya, I'm with Casper.
The new Shannon Creek Basin Park, which Anders will procure.

Hi Jim. Must feel good to have the blood running back to your legs. Thank-you. If only I could write like the master (D.S.), I would've had you a week ago.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 3, 2012 - 11:18am PT
Let me make it clear, in case I haven't already, that I am neither for nor against this gondola.

It's been a decade now since I was a Squamish regular -- hell, I don't even live in Canada any more -- so my personal opinion wouldn't count for anything even if I had a personal opinion.

The only perspective I can add is that as an occasional visitor to Squamish now, I find it noisy, crowded, urban... Yeah, you can still probably get away from the noise if you climb something up in The Promised Land at 04:00, or in the Valley of Shaddai, but otherwise it's not exactly a wilderness experience any more, and a gondola wouldn't even be noticeable.

But that doesn't mean park land should just be given away without a care.

But, all that sh#t out of the way, we will be trying to get to Squamish a few times this summer, and it would be great to see some old acquaintances again.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 3, 2012 - 12:06pm PT
However, if you really don't mind the idea of a gondola there, but oppose it because it would require land to be removed from the park, then you can say: "Well, if you want the gondola here, then put some new land into a park elsewhere."

Well, I do mind the idea of a gondola there, and there are strong public policy reasons why it should not even be considered, including protecting hard-won parks, and the importance of conservation covenants being seen to be effective. Not to mention a process designed with one answer in mind.

The land swap idea may sometimes have some merit, but is often what philosophers call a false equivalency. Someone proposes a horse trade, and claims that proves they're being reasonable, but it turns out the horse they want won the Kentucky Derby, and the one they'll give you resembles Don Quixote's Rosinante.
Tricouni

Mountain climber
Vancouver
Apr 3, 2012 - 12:35pm PT
I'm sorry, I just don't see any net benefit to the community with this proposal. I see net potential loss if the thing fails and the community is left to clean up the resulting rotting towers, etc.
Rolfr

Social climber
North Vancouver BC
Apr 3, 2012 - 12:39pm PT
It appears that there isn't an overwhelming opposition to the concept of the Gondola and increased public access to back country wilderness, or losing part of the Provincial Park to private interests. Most of us agree on that, including me.

But! I don't think that, is the real issue, I think Anders finally nailed the crux of the issue on his last post.

"The provincial government has been acting more as facilitator than as trustee of the parks and the public interest, and that's wrong."

As much as I support the overall development, the process is flawed. My concern is that if no opposition is mounted to the issue as it currently proposed( even though we support the convenience of the Gondola), a precedent will be in place, to justify future developments in BC, that we may actually all, unanimously oppose.

I'am changing my position and crossing the floor to the Ander's camp.

Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 3, 2012 - 12:46pm PT
Not to mention a process designed with one answer in mind.

Well Anders, you live closer to the place than I do, and like I said, it doesn't bother me one way or the other, but be aware that what you are accusing them of (a process designed with one answer in mind) is exactly the approach you're taking, which can be summed up pretty much as "I've already made up my mind, so don't bother talking to me."

Why do you expect them to listen to you if you state in advance that you are not prepared to budge one millimeter from your position?

Maybe you don't care whether they (the govt) listen to you. Maybe you only want to influence some undecided folks to the point that they will raise their voices in support of yours, hoping that with enough voices the govt will be forced to change its position.

In that case, harangue on brother. But I doubt you'll achieve what you're hoping for.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 3, 2012 - 01:40pm PT
Well, there's more than one way to advance an argument, depending on audience and other factors. Some prefer logical, rational debate, others rhetoric, others respond in other ways. There has to be a mix, certainly founded on facts, principles and reason, but with the issue presented in different ways. That's democracy.

As for the process. Well, I asked a colleague who's familiar with the Squamish area and the Chief, and the issues. He is a facilitator of public participation processes, including designing them to ensure they're inclusive. He thought this process is flawed.

Looking at it another way, when the park was created, the process was quite inclusive. Its management has also been inclusive. People who lived in Squamish seemed more than happy at the resources that others brought to the fight against the gondola in 2004. But now, when they're proposing major change to a park that many of us of have actively contributed to for years, we're not included?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 3, 2012 - 02:52pm PT
So is that West Vancouver Bruce, Whistler Bruce, or Squamish Bruce who's talking?
gf

climber
Apr 3, 2012 - 03:33pm PT
Well we know one thing for sure -its west side anders as parks hall-room monitor :)
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 3, 2012 - 03:40pm PT
Thank you as well Hamish,

Feet are a good thing. Without them I'd be left with stumps and I'm not ready to stump for anyone yet...

*Chuckle* ! ! !
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 3, 2012 - 04:06pm PT
Hmm. Well, I certainly live on the west side, but renting a modest apartment in a location suited for taking care of family responsibilities surely isn't a negative. After all, I've lived in Squamish, not to mention on The Drive.

Oh well, it could be worse. I could be from West Vancouver.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Apr 3, 2012 - 04:19pm PT
Oh well, it could be worse. I could be from West Vancouver.


HEY !!!!! Fuh Kew !!!!!!!

And JB talkin' all negative of stumps? Yeah, well, my legs reach the frikkin' ground now don't they.

I'm on the No Gondola side of this debate for already stated reasons ( I don't think it's a attraction that will make money & I think the infrastructure will remain behind as wreckage ) .

But what I sure don't want to hear is that the developer is told to go do some stupid studies to find out blahblahblah and then, two decades later he's given the go-ahead still to the opposition of some providing the foundation for a massive lawsuit against the people of this province for jerkin' around.

Build it or don't build it. But don't leave buddy twisting in the wind.

That was today's thoughts from the Kitsilano Tami ( :-D )


Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 3, 2012 - 04:25pm PT
Dudes and Dudettes,

If you want to wear your house on your sleeve, there's no place like North Van Halen !


It's Dog's country !
gf

climber
Apr 3, 2012 - 05:10pm PT
looks like the canucks game was on....
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 3, 2012 - 05:14pm PT
So much for a cultured, dispassionate debate.

Friends of the Squamish Chief (FOSC) is now on FaceBook, at:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-the-Squamish-Chief/336259626423033?ref=tn_tnmn

You can "like" us, read about the issues, learn how you can contribute. It's a fine bit of work by the Friends in Squamish. Hopefully all those interested will have a look.
Rolfr

Social climber
North Vancouver BC
Apr 3, 2012 - 06:58pm PT
Latest news from the Chief , an interview with one of the developers. .http://www.squamishchief.com/article/20120323/SQUAMISH0101/303239957/-1/squamish/gondola-proposal-defended

An interesting quote attributed to Trevor Dunn , one of the principals speaking for the development.

"He said the proponents would be happy to see B.C. Parks officials add two or more hectares to the park to compensate for the loss of the two hectares. "

I don't think that offer would even be on the table, if not for the organized opposition. A good step forward to an equitable solution.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 3, 2012 - 07:01pm PT
It's no wonder you can't let go, Bruce. This is like interactive T.V., I mean.... " At least I don't live in West Vancouver".... ouchy.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 3, 2012 - 07:11pm PT
Shannon Creek Basin Provincial Park: 379.6 hectares. Anders can pull it off. He needs a project to sink his teeth into.
gf

climber
Apr 3, 2012 - 07:16pm PT
Thank god i live on the north shore
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 3, 2012 - 07:22pm PT
Thank god i live under a rock
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 3, 2012 - 08:49pm PT
Interesting news, Rolf.

I wonder what two hectares of land the company proposes adding to the park, where? I know the parks and their boundaries fairly well, and can't picture anything that would be anything near equivalent.

"He said the proponents would be happy to see B.C. Parks officials add two or more hectares to the park to compensate for the loss of the two hectares."

It's awful generous of the developers to offer to add land that isn't even theirs to the Parks, isn't it?
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 3, 2012 - 08:56pm PT
Thank god we don't have to listen to gf any more.

I just had a look into the BD Sabertooth crampons thread and learned that:

"GF is another pathetic troll."

That's what Scott Cosgrove said, and Scott's a famous hero climber, so he must be right. Right?

So whatever position gf is advocating here, it is obviously a sleazy sell-out to...

Uhhhmmm. I'm not sure who Greg is selling out to here, but whoever it is, we all now have to be against them.

Whew! That's this issue sorted out.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 3, 2012 - 08:59pm PT
"He said the proponents would be happy to see B.C. Parks officials add two or more hectares to the park to compensate for the loss of the two hectares. "

Ha! I take credit for this.

Although I expect Anders will try to tell us that those two hectares would be worthless even for grazing Don Quixote's horse.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 3, 2012 - 09:01pm PT
I'm just doing what gf tells me to do.

And it's entirely untrue that the two hectares would be used by bmacd as a captive breeding facility for yetis.
Stewart

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Apr 3, 2012 - 11:06pm PT
First. I'd like to thank you, Anders, for having the courage and leadership to take on this controversial issue, and commend you for having the integrity to stick to your principles.

Regarding your comment about ingratitude concerning your work with the Climbers Access Society, I offer you my sadly belated thanks for your efforts. If it eases the pain a little bit, I believe that many of us have been involved in rescue situations that sometimes have put our own lives at risk, and it has been my experience that any form of appreciation from the beneficiaries is often completely absent. The human race has to take a long hike before it approaches perfection.

I have made several posts detailing my objections to the gondola proposal, and I remain unmoved by the comments posted by the supporters of this project, however articulately stated.

Let me tell you a true story, and please forgive me if I'm a bit hazy on the specific details. If my memory serves me correctly, it happened about twenty years ago, and if you contact the North Shore Rescue Team (another often unappreciated group of selfless volunteers), they may be able to provide additional information. Here goes:

One day a man and his wife went for a hike in the North Shore Mountains and managed to get lost. Bad weather and darkness closed in and, although a search was started as soon as possible, the wife died but the husband survived. Ho hum. happens all the time. Unfortunately for me, I happened to catch the report on the local news: the somewhat pudgy guy showed the reporters a picture of the two of them in happier days, and the woman who died was a tiny, bespectacled little thing who was smiling and gazing with adoring eyes at her husband. The husband was beyond devastation - if it was possible for someone to die of grief, then this was the guy.

The point of this story that still brings tears to my eyes is that they had no business being up there: no survival gear, no wilderness experience.
As I said - it happens all the time, but this was the first time that I witnessed the aftermath of one of those tragedies, and it has affected ME to this day. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like for that poor fellow to lose such a loving companion, not to mention the relatives of that poor woman.

Many of us have lost friends and loved ones pursuing outdoor activities, but at the very least we can find some consolation in the knowledge that they knew (or should have known) what they were getting themselves into, and that they died doing something that they enjoyed.

Not so with tourists. If this gondola gets built, my other objections aside, these needless deaths will be upon your shoulders.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 3, 2012 - 11:29pm PT
That's rich with prose and irony...
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 3, 2012 - 11:37pm PT
I believe this gets partially addressed in the first part of Don's fourth paragraph. Can you really hold back anyone wanting to see the view you have been so fortunate to have seen?

Besides, the modern version of Woz's woman will have her i-phone.
J.H. and the Chief will come grab her; quicker than you can blink.

The most dangerous part of the day will be driving the highway. Same as it ever was.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Apr 3, 2012 - 11:50pm PT
Seriously I would pay at least $50 or $100US for a gondola from the Black Hills to Waddington. Everytime. Walking to someplace really hard to get to: priceless. Riding the gondola to the same place $99.99 plus tax no blisters necessary.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 3, 2012 - 11:55pm PT
This is B.C., we're swimming in places that are hard to get to. And I'm not talking about the backstroke.
Fill your boots.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 4, 2012 - 12:05am PT
This is B.C., we're swimming in places that are hard to get to.

To the point that you have to swim to get to some of those places.

And even if you avoid the swim, your crampons are more important for walking slimy logs across raging rivers than they are for ice and snow.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 4, 2012 - 12:11am PT
Admit it, Dave - you love that kind of stuff. I have photos. And you want everyone to share, don't you?

Thanks, Stewart etc - I wasn't looking for sympathy when mentioning climbers' behaviour patterns. Climbers are adolescent males (of all ages and sexes), and behave accordingly. I was simply observing that you get lots of criticism for doing this sort of stuff. I predict that if the proposal is delayed, the developers will say that will prejudice their plans or financing. Then, or if the development is stopped, they'll say that Squamish is unfriendly to developers. (It's grown 50% in the last 20 years.) Plus I'll get grief from the usual suspects. SOP.

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts here, though. It has helped focus the debate.

A Shackleton story might fit better on Big Mike's Squamish thread.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 4, 2012 - 12:19am PT
Maybe this infatuation with the the ideals of adolescent males can cloud adult reasoning concerning matters at hand...

The straw teenager is a device that is a sorry equal to drawing the race card when brought up in court for a parking ticket.

Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 4, 2012 - 01:09am PT
The link that Rolf posted to an article in the Squamish Chief, somewhere upthread, is dated March 23rd. It doesn't seem to mention the developer's proposal to donate land to the Parks.
http://www.squamishchief.com/article/20120323/SQUAMISH0101/303239957/-1/squamish/gondola-proposal-defended
Stewart

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Apr 4, 2012 - 03:35am PT
Again with respect, Hamish: I don't have a cell phone, but it is my understanding that batteries can wear down on those things, and probably quickly in bad weather, or a bad, but probably survivable tumble could damage the damn thing, or separate its owner from access to it. Also, it is my understanding that there are blind spots that can interfere with reception; however I'll leave the downside of hi-tech gizmos to the experts.

As for sharing beautiful spots with rookies, I have spent much of my time in the outdoors leading beginners hither & yon, and not always because I couldn't think of any more glorious ways to spend my time - I did it for exactly the reasons you have stated, AND to ensure that they didn't do anything dumb like walk over the side of a cliff (where one of those things is pretty well useless unless speed dial works a lot better than I suspect). Here's some more: forest fires, unpleasant wildlife encounters, litter, pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease, not to mention lost children - it is again my understanding that even yuppie toddlers don't pack cell phones.

Also, I had to get myself up to those magical places and seem to have managed pretty well without a goddamn gondola to get me there. Last, but not least and, again with respect, are people so pathetically lacking in imagination that they can't locate suitable recreational objectives without building a gondola to approach them?

One of the reasons I maintain my membership in MEC, for all of its warts, is because of the mission statement(edited for brevity and no other purpose) that goes thusly: to encourage self-propelled wilderness activities. I see nothing in there about an exemption for the construction of gondolas in Class "A" provincial parks, and many of us are shareholders in that outfit. This implies that us types agree with that philosophy. I sure do.

P.S. for Anders: I didn't think for a second that you were asking for sympathy, but if it makes you feel a bit better, the thanks I got for two years of effort trying to save the boundaries of Strathcona Park and all my other volunteer activities has been precisely zero.

There was a novel that I read about a society where the punishment for ingratitude was death. The method of execution involved being tossed off a high building, and the only way to escape this fate was to express thanks to one's benefactor. Everyone convicted chose death, including the guy whose last words on the way down were, "thanks a loooooot." There's a moral in there somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 4, 2012 - 11:14am PT
If decisions about national and state parks in the US were left to the locals there would be none...
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 4, 2012 - 11:29am PT
The "middle territory" is where a sufficient process works. The question in this case appears to be the amount of discretion wielded by the Minister of Parks and whether that trumps what process exists.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 4, 2012 - 11:50am PT
i don't think the developers are really in any sort of position to donate someone elses land to anyone.

Yes, that was my point. It may have been a casual remark, but was rather ironic.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 4, 2012 - 10:23pm PT
But Bruce, you're only at the stovelegs. Can't quit now.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 4, 2012 - 11:00pm PT
What makes the Stawamus Chief so cool ?

For all the ravages surrounding it, there's only a few meters of sideshow footsteps between the world and the deep roots, boulders like monuments and wind that makes you equally thrilled and reticent at what the trees might do. I walked the 3 summits last winter on a day delivered by southern winds that had people sunbathing and playing musical instruments they packed up the trail. It was sweet and gentle to be on top for a Summer day between Winter storms.

It's close to Squamish, Whistler and Vancouver. There isn't a whole lot of taking the side road and bothering people who would rather not be bothered locally, when there's a multi billion dollar highway passing under it, paid for by everyone in the Province.

Everyone on this thread upset that it's an issue that interests people from outside of Squamish, makes a good part of their living in other jurisdictions.

The Chief suffers from popularity in the high season. What did you expect ? the place is amazing for people on levels from having a picnic at the highway pullout, to soloing the Alaska Highway.

I have had a lifetime of earning coin from the desires of property developers.

The most resonant expression of their ethic is the word "pushback". This word is an encapsulation of agenda of success at all cost to resistance to the commercial goal.

Sure, I'm a builder and have created monuments to commerce so as to have the life I like after work is done. That's the devil in the details. Our world now expects the fact that if one accepts money for work it equals leaving your soul at the door of commerce, and the door to your home as well.

We are currently being offered a project that gives the opportunity of access to some great terrain with a nice amenity at the top. I can't help thinking this is playing to the crowd of us that could benefit from a relief from over taxed knees.

Recouping the cost of a multi million dollar gondola and outdoor sport infrastructure at the basic return of $30.00 a trip makes no sense. I drove through Chilliwack on my way to a building project in Calgary a week ago and was held by the wonder of the years old now condos up the hill from town.

Why ? there was nothing pragmatic about this location. Ah... it was the added value of having a view down the valley and only that that made the thing valuable.

The road to Mt. Habrich is quite gentle if it got the modern treatment and would offer stunning views of what is an amazing landscape. Your hiking and biking at $30.00 bucks per, doesn't carry the freight.

The real prize is housing development, a house on the hill.

The old school Squamish people knew how good they had it, so they did their best to make a town they liked to live in. I personally was treated to some discussions about "the townies" wrecking what was good.

Fair enough but what has happened to many locals of Vancouver is a wave of wealth that made enfranchisement in the prosperity only available if you live a 1 to 2 hour drive to the economic action from your bedroom community.

Who's the next local and who will resent them ?

KabalaArch

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Apr 4, 2012 - 11:10pm PT
shouldn't we focus our outrage on the Jumbo resort proposal?

That's been around well before 1992, when I attended a "mountain resort design" conference up in Whistler. At the time Mr. Vance was the Planning Director for the Municipality of Whistler, then to be hired 10 years later by Mammoth when Intrawest moved into Town...and basically devastated our local economy.

During the week long conference, I came to understand that the Blackcomb, and the new portions of the Whistler Village, were largely subsidized by the B.C. Provincial Gov't, and built upon a former landfill site/clearcuts.

The socioeconomic differences between Whistler youth, and Squamish youth, are surprisingly similar to that between Mammoth/Bishop youth, BTW.

Based myself in a hospitality-based economy, I can understand how much this proposal could mean to Squamish, particularly after what I've learned later had been the decline of that logging industry, the local economic locomotive. But, my personal reaction is that certain "places" need to be earned, and not by purchase.

How would anyone feel about, say, a Glacier Point aerial tramway?

One August, I was skiing the Horstman Glacier; it was my "Endless Winter" - I'd already summit skied Mt. Hood, and from the Muir Hut on Rainier. I shared some time with some locals, who were planning a trip to The Valley soon. Imagine driving 1500 miles north, to skid 500' vert @ Blackcomb. But...that is, or was, how I would pick up leads, that would lead to work, which has allowed your correspondent to raise his family in the
Buttermilk Country of the eastside, Inyo County, California, U.S. of A.

"El Capitain," she remarked, "is their Grand Wall."

I've wondered, ever since, what they thought, when they saw The Captain for the 1st time.

This is really a 2-edged sword. My visit coincided with the opening of the Blackcomb Glacier, over the divide from Horstman - on the basis that this drainage was a de facto ski bowl already, since your could reenter the boundary below; "so, let's add a lift."

Down here in the States, proposed development of the Sherwin and San Joaquin ski area proposals took 35+ years to die at the hands of the U.S.D.A Forest Service, from whom a Special Use Permit must be acquired.

Right now, I've about $1.5M in capital improvements (for me to design and construct) delayed by 6 months, with more of the same expected. And this is just small fry.

I've always loved Squamish. I hope a mutually beneficial consensus can be reached.

And that reminds me of a potentially important case study:

I also love Moab, Utah. Some years BITD, some developers (and Chamber of Commerce types, I'd imagine) constructed 2 chairlifts just off the main drag. One, to the north and just over the Colorado River Bridge, ascended several hundreds of feet, to the top of the slickrock Mtn Biking area (for which they already impose an access fee...sort of a "cover charge").

The other is at the south end of town, at the Kane Ck Rd - this allows viewing, but not necessarily access, to the "Back of the Rocks" Wilderness Study Area (WSA means a Federal land grab and closure)

Architecturally, both are artifacts of CorTen beauty, although I've never seen a ski lift above dry sandstone, without snow beneath the line.

They are, as self oxidizing steel CorTen, also rusting in place; I've never seen them in operation to date. I think the developers failed to take into account that Mtn biking athletes happen to love the uphill climb to earn the downhill, and tend to be in very good CV fitness to boot.

My 1st view of the Back of the Rocks was from the summit of The Tombstone, Cirque of the Climbables, never mind where.

Looking down on Pritcher Cyn was a simulacra of a paradise that hopefully awaits the faith. It took a full day to top out, although it seemed like just a couple of hours.

And, on the hike out, under headlamps, some petroglyphs where shared with me, that eventually put some thought into this crystal head of mine.

"just sayin'"
Stewart

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Apr 4, 2012 - 11:11pm PT
Hamish: I was in the process of responding to one of your posts, which appears to have disappeared, unless my eyesight has failed me. If I am indeed correct, I appreciate it - friendship can be a fragile thing at times, and I commend you for your action.

I suspect that you may have been contacted by one of our mutual friends who has supplied you with additional information and the matter has been resolved. You are always welcome, (along with anyone that I still consider to be a friend) to phone me collect if you have the slightest doubt about my integrity - regardless of our disagreement concerning this gondola proposal.

I will be unavailable from Friday morning until Monday afternoon. Best wishes, Hamish, and I hope that fortune smiles upon you for your moral courage.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 5, 2012 - 12:48am PT
The road to Mt. Habrich is quite gentle if it got the modern treatment and would offer stunning views of what is an amazing landscape. Your hiking and biking at $30.00 bucks per, doesn't carry the freight.

An interesting thought. The Shannon Creek Road has essentially been undriveable for 20+ years, and has gradually gotten overgrown. Every few years the lower part is OK, although even then a 4WD is needed. IIRC, we talked about this in the master planning meetings. The District wanted the road to be difficult to impossible to drive, both because the lower part passes through part of one of its watersheds, and because three young people had driven off the road and died there not long before. Also, the Ministry of Forests wanted to deactivate the roads.

There's no need to build a gondola to provide access to upper Shannon Creek basin - simply fix up the road, and maintain it.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 5, 2012 - 01:50am PT
There was decent road access to upper Shannon Creek 40+ years ago - it wouldn't be creating anything new.

It sounds like BK and I need to team up for a Nose attempt. Bruce, what are you doing in the last half of September? We could help out at the FaceLift, then totally crush or be crushed by the Big Schnozz.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Apr 5, 2012 - 06:12am PT
Kabala Arch, i enjoyed reading your perspective as it was refreshing & think that the Squamish/Whistler to Bishop/Mammoth comparison is somewhat similar.

What would you or eastside locals think if they built a "passenger" gondola, not a ski/bike gondola but a "passenger" gondola in or near Bishop, something to say take people up over Paiute Pass or up the Whitney/Russell saddle from the portal during the better weather months when the conditions would be better for the "passengers"?

So they could look at stuff & point their cameras at it. Eat stuff.

Just a little chunk of the John Muir wilderness will have to be used but not much.

That is who this developer is targeting- "passengers", not climbers, not skiers, not bikers, not even hikers.

It appears that the developers are all for recreation within their statements but nothing has been proven by them as of yet except that they have been very clever in staying off of the radar of any groups who may be opposed. Only when all their cards are laid down should we trust their intentions, whatever they may be.

Some have mentioned how they will enjoy mountain biking & backcountry skiing up there but as of yet there has been nothing revealed by the developer that equipment will even be permitted on the "passenger" gondola. As of now it will only carry "passengers", this could still be ok for climbers i guess but..... definitely no ski or bike racks on the artists rendering! Looks like Blackcomb gondola without ski racks!


I have to say that i am not supportive of the gondola in this location at all & i hope it gets chopped by Mighty Hiker just like any bolts that would appear on top of penny lane would!



That's rad you live on Starlite Kabala Arch, a beautiful neighbourhood!
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 5, 2012 - 09:21am PT
As for the road Bruce, it would make perfect sense to rebuild it if this project gets the green light. It would be a bit pricy to deliver all the materials by helicopter.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 5, 2012 - 10:08am PT
Ilove it... some of the opposed want the road fixed up and big parking lots up top so everyone can drive on up. Ya, that will work; let's get everyone burning gas up into the back there. Sounds green enough. At least that won't lead to anyone ever getting lost back there, what with the hundred vehicles parked. That's how it goes up at Diamond Head, no one ever gets lost or requires a rescue in that area.
Just so I have this straight. Leave the wilderness alone up there, as it's for the enjoyment of all Canadians and Foriegn visitors. The only thing that makes it God's country up in the back forty is the fact you have to hike for 5 hours to get there. Fix up the road so everyone can drive up there. Get everyone burning a non-renewable resourse to get their butts up there instead of sitting on a gondola powered by a renewable, clean energy. Keep all visitors and tourists out of that area, you have to be a kick-ass hiker or a rock climber to earn your big view. But don't forget to fix that road up so a kabillion people can start driving up.
It's all making sense to me now.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 5, 2012 - 10:55am PT
Please let me clarify about the road. I said nothing about a parking lot or paving. The whole Grouse Mountain Gondola / ski infrastructure (in North Vancouver)is serviced by a gravel road that is not for public car travel but is available to mountain biking. (last time I checked) The Proposal at the Chief would have to use the same model economically. Their gondola would be better used for delivering people than groceries and 2x4's.

If it proves viable to develop condominiums up there, then yes the road would be brought up to a higher standard.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 5, 2012 - 11:11am PT
Condos up there? Seems a bit of a stretch, to say the least.
That's not far off M.H. calling a 60 foot easement a 250 foot swath.

If you ask for a road, you're asking for a parking lot. Same thing. That's why the three people died...they were trying to turn around.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 5, 2012 - 11:14am PT
People go for zoning changes and amendments all the time.

There's usually a straight up granting after civic review, or the district or municipality demands an amenity from the developer in exchange for the amendment. Or it gets turned down.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 5, 2012 - 11:23am PT
Hamish, there would have to be a gate to keep out unauthorized vehicles but that wouldn't stop mountain bikes. And yeah, at this point condos do seem futuristic up there.

A good comparison though is all the condo development going on right up to the base of Cypress Park. I had to do some paperwork at West Van City Hall once and there is a master plan in place to develop all of the British Properties to Horseshoe Bay above the Upper Levels Highway.

There is a large pictorial map on the wall of the 3rd floor Planning Department. Eventually this will wipe out a lot of the bike trails on Hollyburn and Black Mountain.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 5, 2012 - 12:25pm PT
How much time, effort, and money were spent in developing the park as it currently exists?

Is the park underused?

How much money does BC spend on running the park?

What are the First Nations' positions?
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Apr 5, 2012 - 12:58pm PT
Hey Bruce, i have no problem with "passengers", i've probably even been one myself at some point.

As well i am aware that my comparison to the sierra eastside is useless as are any comparisons of other similar locales, my intentions were to help others who are not currently in Squamish to consider how it would feel if something similar were proposed in their back yard. The eastside is in particular a poor comparison in retrospect because there is no way that the recreational community there would ever get behind something like this, you aren't even behind it & you live in BC!

I am just trying to expose a point that many people are looking at this gondola as some sort of new gateway to a recreational mecca which seems to be a big influence on their decision to support the development. So they could get up there and do all kinds of fun stuff! This is based on pure speculation conjured up by our own interests and fueled by rumours & promises by the developer that as of yet hold zero weight. It is not a ski lift, it is a passenger gondola- for sight seeing. In reality it & most of our opinions on here, with the exception of the few that have seemed to have read through the parks act & done some research (generally of the anti-gondola side i may add) on the subject, most everything else on this thread is personal opinion with our own personal theories thrown in so it sounds good, myself included. Some very interesting points & a good discussion overall but tangible information that has been produced on here is currently very limited.

respectfully,


Ryan

Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 5, 2012 - 05:35pm PT
A Goat Ridge gondola seems physically possible. It might not take much extension from the far end of the old Shannon Creek roads to get to it, and then that road would be kept open and maintained, and perhaps open to the public part way. There could then be various trails in upper Shannon Creek, plus to Habrich, Sky Pilot, and Goat Ridge. Goat Ridge might not be quite as convenient/easily developed a site as the current proposal, but seems to have a lot of advantages. The Chief and Shannon Falls at one end, Britannia and a Goat Ridge gondola at the other end, appropriate stuff in between. Worth more than just a "brief review", I'd say.

Judging by the letters and other communications, the process needs to be amended and slowed down. There are a fair number of people who are interested in what's going on, didn't know about it, and would like their say. That speaks for itself, apart from their concerns about whether it should happen at all, or if so, the details. You'd have to ask the various governments about to who designed the process. What actually goes in inside any level of government, whether at the bureaucratic or political level, is usually a black box.

Bruce is right - follow the money. In this case, if the proposal goes ahead, all we can be sure of is a bottom station with tourist-oriented facilities and a connection to Shannon Falls, towers and a gondola, a cleared strip through at least some of the parks, and an upper station, again with tourist-oriented facilities. If things go wrong, e.g. another recession, or they run out of money, then we're left with another Brohm Ridge mess, but one that's far more visible. If things go right, there's no guarantee that the bells and whistles would be delivered, or when. But that's all details. Whether any agreement would contain binding terms about such things and be enforced is yet another matter.

Maybe the Squamish Nation would be interested in building a cultural centre and associated facilities at the gravel pit? If it included a restaurant and gift shop, and maybe an element from B.C. Parks, fine with me. If it included camping, that'd be fine too - although the darn RVs would have to turn off their generators at 9:00 PM, as it's close to the campground. It's really too bad that the Adventure Centre, perhaps with add-ons, wasn't built there. It'd have been a perfect fit.
KabalaArch

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Apr 5, 2012 - 07:49pm PT
I do tend to think there's a little dutch desease going on with those one industry towns

Dear Bruce and Ryan-

My claim to "Squeemsh" fame was an onsight lead of Dream On, with a partner I'd trolled from a Whistler climbing shop. Although I've only climbed there a several few times, I just like knowing it's up there.

Have not read nor seen referenced literature, but "Downhill Slide" paints the modern corporate ski industry picture in technicolor.

I wouldn't know where to begin with the Mammoth Lakes economic picture, having only survived 3 real estate bubbles since 1982.

I guess a good backdrop starts with collateral land values. Let's say a major resort is located on federal land, under a use permit. After it's developed, all of the private holdings proximate enjoy inflated values, due to the resort (developed on public lands).

MMSA was founded by a visionary Dave McCoy. Dave had the 1960's foresight to purchase large land holdings both at the base, and deeper into our Village, soon after Chair 1 was erected in 1955 or so. The Village was gradually developed into subdivisions, and Dave made sure that a Gondola easement was established from the yet unannounced Warming (Swarming) Hut aka "Canyon Lodge" down several miles through the Slopes subdivision, to his land holdings in the commercial/lodge zone along Minaret/Canyon Blvds.

Fast forward to 1990 or so. I'd already known that Intrawest was a twinkle in his eye (another long story). And sure enough, they purchased the Mountain and land stakes for high nine figures. I never thought I'd see the village gondola in my natural lifetime, but it's running daily, now. Wind and weather permitting, of course.

Intrawest - Joe Hussain, I think - bulldozed all the funky ski shops and Mom and Pop's. 6 story condotels grew in their place - hundreds and hundreds of units. Which, naturally, encumbered the locals with enormous infrastructure expenses - water, sewer, storm drainage, roads...the works. And flooded that price point transient housing sector.

"A rising tide floats all boats," said Rusty Gregory, still a minority stakeholder. But he failed to mention that they could sink them as well.

...>Say! Wasn't it a Jew who sank the Titanic? "No! It was an iceberg!"


> Iceberg, Goldberg, Ruberg...they're all the same!

Sorry, majorly OT, and Off Color to boot ;0



But Real Estate speculators, of the breed always eager to profit from the hard labor of others, gainsaid the doubling of property prices (and not necessarily 'values'), before the first yard of concrete was poured, before the grass had sprouted on the new golf course.

Then, land costs doubled again.

Meantime, under land planner (Tremblant, Blackcomb, Crested Butted, et al) Eldon Beck's theorem of "Critical Mass" an instant "Village" was constructed. It had to be large enough, and at once, to be the main attraction in and of itself - in order to sell. What could have kept locals busy for a generation was constructed in 2 or 3 years, with imported design talent (who have and never shall see their work), and construction workers, who absorbed every rental in town, driving rents up 200%.

Quote from the Design Guidelines - "...the goal is to create an authentic mountain resort village which has evolved incrementally over many years..."

Now, if I were smart, I would have bought in on the ground floor, and I'd be a rich climber. I'm very intelligent - just not too bright, though. Plus, I just work here, alongside the many who hold down 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet.

In 2007, the bubble burst - here,as everywhere. And many people, betrayed by their greed, found themselves on the wrong end of a very jolly ride, as land values were cut in half, leaving many upside down their mortgages. You can buy a unit at The Westin, last to be constructed, for USD$150K: 1/2 original price. Tower 3 of a quaint monster called, ironically, 80/50, has been put on hold; the 1st 2 phases only cost about $1,000/sf to build (We built in Starlite for $37/sf). Ritz Carlton cancelled their construction plans, leaving scorched earth where 50 seasonal Mountain workers once lived and partied.

The construction of the World Trade Towers bankrupted NYC by undercutting competing landlords on the rent, creating a lot of see-thru buildings in the process. As the tumbleweeds blow across the plazas and "common area amenities" of Mammoth's "North Village," the Town itself shall be entering a Chapter 9 BK itself, on the losing end of a $42M lawsuit brought against them by the well named "Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition" trust, who sued on account of some double dealing down at our local airport.

This is now verging on more than you really wanted to know, so I'll try and keep it short. Other than the fact that I designed a Crash/Fire/Rescue - Snow Removal Equipment Maintenance Shop bld'g, in 1984, down there, I really don't give a fk. Beyond their failure to award a construction contract of a $600,000, FAA-approved 5,000 sf Terminal of my hand in 1988, only to spend $1.2M remodeling my CFR in 2009 w/o consulting me, I've no interest at all what goes on at the Airport. When my wife and I landed here in 1982 in a 9 passenger plane from SF, and didn't have $20 taxi fare into town, we just hiked over to 395, and hitch hiked in...not that I really care about the Airport that much. I mean, other than it's the most strategic link between the largest US ski area, and markets other than Southern Cali, who cares?

Let's say, for example, some guy who works in Chicago's Loop knows he can leave after work Friday, drive to O'Hare Field, and be making track off The Top Saturday morning, what might that be worth to him? Do you think he'd plunge for, say, $1.2M for an Intrawest condo within walking distance of the lifts?

(Actually, he should have moved out here in his 20's, instead of keeping his nose to the grindstone, under the mistaken belief that someday he'll be able to purchase the dream. That's neither easier, nor less expensive - just a lot more fun!)

Because > Ta Da! We've got Air Service! LAX, Burbank, John Wayne, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (Reno and Portland last year, too). Heavily subsidized by the local taxpayers.

Only 1 problem with this profitable arrangement for the new ownership of MMSA. The FAA would not allow commercial air traffic under the development proposed by the MLLA group, so our Town voided the contract.

$42,000,000...~~;~~

I guess this is a bit wide of the proposed Shannon Falls aerial tramway. But, since you asked...well, simply buy private land at the base area, that's all. And you'll go bust, whether they build it, or not.

This, of course, ignores the aesthetic and ethical issues I started with.

So I'll close on that note. I soon if not easily learned that an approach to Squamish is a bit more of an adventure than a Yosemite approach.

Wishing to check out a Shannon Falls friction climb, my 1st challenge, steps away from the parking lot, was a simple matter of crossing the 100' stream. I was first drawn to the downed log, a good yard in diameter. It was also at least 10 feet above the rocky stream bed, and I couldn't quite convince myself that this was on route.

After dithering around for a half hour, I decided to boulder hop across, as is normally done in the Sierra. Unlike the Sierra, however, all of the boulders were like polished basketballs. But, I made it, without falling in to the white waters.

I then remember a bit were I was force to tunnel up a half of a steeply slanting rotten log, beneath a horizontal fallen log just above my head. Then, use that log above as a bridge to cross the "cave" log below. Must have taken an hour to cover, what? 1/4 mile? My Apron partner remarked that when going for a peak across Howe Sound, it took them 8 hours to rig a stream crossing at the inlet.

I guess, socioeconomics best left to those who shall benefit the most (it's none of my business), I just like to know the B.C. I'll always remember - big, raw, country - will be there, if only for my adult children. Who knows? Maybe I'll get to climb there again myself!
Stewart

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Apr 5, 2012 - 08:34pm PT
OK, here goes again. Some of the supporters of this proposal speak of flexibility in maintaining the boundaries in Class "A" parks, largely because of potential future resource requirements. Still no dice from my viewpoint, and for a simple reason: your word is your bond. For those of us who are married, for example, try informing your spouse that you have unilaterally decided to vary the terms of your wedded union. Assuming that you are not shot dead on the spot, I imagine that you will soon be getting a letter from a divorce lawyer, and your troubles are just beginning.

Further to this, here will be the most hilarious thing that I have ever written: politicians should be the most highly respected people on the planet. I'll allow you a few moments to compose yourselves and wipe the tears of laughter from your eyes before you continue.

You SHOULD agree with me, though, regardless of your political leanings. I repeat: should. Too long have we tolerated these creeps who make promises during an election campaign and after being elected do the exact opposite of what they promised. I am sure that we can all remember the name of the cheap hustler (and convicted criminal) who promised NOT to sell B.C. Rail, nor to introduce the HST and, upon election, proceeded to do the exact opposite. His punishment? A goddamn medal (the Order of B.C.) and a high level, high profile diplomatic posting in London (England - not Ontario, unfortunately for the citizens of the United Kingdom), courtesy of fat Stevie Harper - Canada's answer to George Duuuhbya Bush, without the winning charm but the same family ties to the oil industry. Or his defence minister, who gave his handshake to David Orchard and promised not to merge the Progressive Conservatives with the Reform Party, and we all know how that turned out. Now these pricks are running the country.

No wonder so few people vote, but it's not the fault of politicians - it's OURS for allowing these people to pollute our political environment. I am an unlikely candidate for sainthood, but I don't give my word lightly, and my friends gleefully hold me accountable if I fail to do so.

So do I trust politicians when they make promises? Not a damn bit, but it enrages me that I can't - yet I still vote and do my very best to make life miserable for elected official of any political stripe when they betray my trust. It is my duty, as is it yours - a deal is a deal. Leave the boundaries alone, and let this place become a shrine where future generations can gather to witness where the people of British Columbia finally forced politicians to act with integrity in return for their salaries, which incidentally can be raised any time they feel like it. Who's going to stop them? The electorate? Pffft.
KabalaArch

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Apr 6, 2012 - 11:32am PT
Blow into town, take over everything, Rape and pillage everything of value then, when the inevitable is on the horizon sell the hell right out of there.

Funny you should mention that! By a strange coincidence, that's exactly what Intrawest did - sold out to Starwood Capital, took the money, and ran like hell!
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 6, 2012 - 12:42pm PT
Bruce, could it be thought that the Ashlu project has had a failure of process?

Isn't the issue of the process also at play with the gondola proposal?
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Apr 6, 2012 - 12:58pm PT
Kabala Arch! Wow, very interesting. A lot of info there i was unaware of! I believe the Joe Hussain you mention was also conveniently the owner of the dogsled company that killed most of its dogs @ the end of the 2010 winter, at least until it was exposed & quickly covered up before he had the chance to take any responsibility. Sounds like a great guy!


Onsight of Dream on......Proud send! Maybe you have a few things to chime in on the Squamish Photo's & stories thread??
Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Apr 7, 2012 - 01:41am PT
Re the Gondola,

This is an interesting issue fraught with all manner of possibility, positive and maybe very negative.
Should we have our knickers in a self righteous twist? Maybe.
Like many others, I was vociferously opposed to the first version by another proponent suggesting a rig up Olsen Creek to the summit of the Chief. I thought it was a pretty bad idea that violated the very values for protecting the Chief with Class A designation.

Along comes a new proponent with a variation on the theme.
A best case scenario has a spectacular gondola ride giving access to the Shannon Creek basin. The old logging road would be rehabbed to build and service the gondola and be maintained for year round public access (the original road was built on the taxpayer's dime).
Habrich would become a subalpine crag and the Sky Pilot range an accessible alpine playground. Throw in some hiking trails, a bit of mountain biking and the possibility of some winter activity and we might have some meaningful and sustainable recreation based economic good news for Squamish. Add some much needed post harvest silviculture to the ravaged basin, some new age sensitive partial harvest and a wee run of river project and it could be a shining example of responsible and forward thinking integrated land use.

Worst case scenario, ugly gondola with garish and overcrowded base area, Shannon Creek road closed to public access and/or the project fails and the jungle grows back over a pathetic edifice.

I recall shrill cries of outrage over Whistler's Peak to Peak gondola and how it was going to shatter pristine viewscapes and forever diminish La La Land. Don't hear much about it now and having rode it a couple times find it hard to hate.


Re the Honorable Mighty's important questions;

1. Land should not be taken from provincial parks for private development, with rare exceptions.

Does this qualify as a rare exception.
Are there relevant precedents?

2. There is nothing in the master plan for either of the Parks that would allow such a development.

Were Blackcomb Ski Area or Whistler Heli Skiing in the Garibaldi Park Master Plan?

3. The impacts on the Parks and their users will be substantial, and greater than the developers claim. The benefits will likely be less.

How do we know this?

4. There is a superior location nearby. A gondola to Goat Ridge, a few km south, could be based either in the established tourist centre of Britannia, or perhaps off the highway a few km north of Murrin Park.

Superior for who?

5. If the project proceeds, and fails, who will clean up the mess? What financial guarantees would the developers provide?

The taxpayer will pick up the tab to subsidize the project or clean up the mess. We live in the age of private profit and public loss.

I'm in favor of the best case scenario but am not convinced the worst case won't be the result.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 7, 2012 - 02:17am PT
What $$$ benefits do BC Parks get out of the proposal? Can BC Parks get some $$$ to pay for maintenance at nearby parks?

Who will develop and pay for the trails and bike routes suggested as possible outgrowths of the gondola project?

There appears no obligation on the part of the proponents to develop trails and winter opportumities beyond the narrow scope of their area at the top of the gondola?

Why do the proponents list 20-30 full time jobs directly related to the project in the FAQ section and 30-50 for the same jobs in the "Economic Benefits" section?

Since bikes are not factored into the plan, but rather considered a possible use, does the proposal actually stand to draw enough tourists through out an entire year to pay for itself? It's not like blue skies are the norm, and alpine views a regular feature in the area.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Apr 7, 2012 - 03:40am PT
RyanD- Actually his son Joey owns Outdoor Adventures aka TAG. They gave the dog business away to a non profit after the incident.

BK is right I.P.P's are currently the biggest threat to BC. Not only are the selling our rivers, but they will bankrupt BC Hydro with their contracted high rates. This is by design so that we pay the same rates as our southern neighbors. Accenture (An energy company from California) owns a large portion of BC Hydro.

Another Campbell legacy.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Apr 7, 2012 - 12:42pm PT
Actually his son Joey owns Outdoor Adventures aka TAG. They gave the dog business away to a non profit after the incident.

Thanks Mike, my bad.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Apr 7, 2012 - 12:53pm PT
close enough. still his money i bet.
Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Apr 7, 2012 - 03:27pm PT
Great letter by Ed Cooper in this week's Squamish Chief paper.
He's definitely not in favor!
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 7, 2012 - 09:38pm PT
I have loads of respect for Ed Cooper, but in California, where he lives, they have highways at 10,000 feet. Now we're talking access!

Not that I even really care if they build the gondola or not; Anders, you can have your park back.
I just think we should be thankfull and welcome people that want to spend millions of dollars in our neighbourhood, and at least entertain the possible benefits to the outdoor community.

We could be so fortunate.
gf

climber
Apr 7, 2012 - 11:56pm PT
I just think we should be thankfull and welcome people that want to spend millions of dollars in our neighbourhood, and at least entertain the possible benefits to the outdoor community.

I couldn't agree more with Hamishs' observation.
However the fly in the ointment is the arbitrage play involving the flipping of the title and the propposed plan to get around the restrictive covenants.
The issue isn't being against their development, rather its their sports plan around skating over the thin ice of a class A park and a master plan that from what I can see doesn't have language around this type of development.
The fellows behind this proposal are playing a "full court press" game and it should come as no surprise when theres' some push back.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 8, 2012 - 12:30am PT
A dude can take some shots at what he drinks and drives but are you willing to shoot a horse ?

Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Apr 8, 2012 - 02:06am PT
I'm not convinced this current proposal isn't a poorly planned disaster in the making.
Having said that, I'm not well enough informed or involved to make any pronouncements.
I do think that a well planned gondola that provided access to the Shannon creek Basin could be a real boon for the Squamish economy and the mountain recreation community in general.
Ideally the gondola would be situated further south and avoid conflict with the Parks and their users.
As to whether this is physically or economically feasible is beyond my comprehension.
Where I really struggle with this debate is on the issue of consistency and proportion in our stated values.
Our rivers are at risk of becoming constrained in pipes for questionable purpose and private profit.
BC's wild salmon and trout are at risk while the DFO actively promotes aquaculture using non native species and the Harper government dismantles the DFO's mandate to protect fish habitat.
As I said earlier, the concerns raised over the gondola run the risk of looking like attention on a convenient target that amounts to less than a sideshow in the real arena of environmental mismanagement and corporate malfeasance.
Are we being consistent in our position?
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 8, 2012 - 10:20am PT
Well, here I am, sitting on the couch in Seattle, sucking a latte, thinking that Squamish is rather more to me than a toilet stop. It has a huge place in the very center of my being, and even as a non-resident I still care.

And I really like what Perry said. Opening up the country above would be wonderful, but the gondola proposal also has plenty of potential problems. Rather than just digging in and fighting against it, I think it would be better to work with it, trying to ensure that those problems are avoided.

D
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 8, 2012 - 11:17am PT
Don't all those Microbucks and Starsofties know we have lattes in Squamish too?

Way more than toilets up here.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 8, 2012 - 11:51am PT
The B.C. government policy on removing land from parks and protected areas, such as Stawamus Chief and Shannon Falls Provincial Parks, is at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/planning/docs/boundary_adj_guide.pdf

The "Provincial Protected Area Boundary Adjustment Policy, Process and Guidelines". In this case, removal also requires legislation.

Some pertinent quotes:
• Proposals for protected area boundary adjustments will be considered on a case by case basis where there are compelling provincial economic, environmental and social benefits that collectively exceed maintaining the existing protected area boundary and values.
• The review and evaluation process will be timely and transparent.
• The proponent must establish the case to adjust a protected area boundary (including meeting the provisions of this Policy) and bear the associated costs.
• Suitable public consultation will be required, consistent with the significance of the proposed change.
KabalaArch

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Apr 8, 2012 - 04:05pm PT

Onsight of Dream on......Proud send! Maybe you have a few things to chime in on the Squamish Photo's & stories thread??

Well, Ryan, I really have nothing but some old grainy photos lost somewhere. Back when the outcome was uncertain, I never much carried a camera - bad juju which guaranteed failure. Plus, too focused on the lead, and who wants another butt shot from the belayer (whom I'd trolled sight unseen from a Whislter climbing shop: "Escape Route."

A most memorable stretch lay between the top of the 1st and 2nd pitches, a ramp of mud upon which I crawled on hands and knees, to avoid getting my Fires wet (I was also in the habit of carrying a small section of a carpet remnant - "Sport Climber's Landing Pad")

Justin, a 20's something aspirant guide, offered to head further up the swampy ramp, to effect a TR pendulum. But, a couple of delicate traversing moves right offered 2 TCU flake placements, before a longish run to the 1st bolt, so I declined. After all, you climb better when you're going for it.

Dream On was my warm up to about a 4 day trip. On the last day, I checked out Little Smoke, a popular if bolted TR area. There I met Myron, self belayed on some kind of traxion device. Happier with a warm body holding the rope, he offered to show me around this bluff.

There, if memory serves a .10b somewhat to the right of a tree midway up a 5.7 was our 1st stop. Ignoring his beta about "moving left" partway up, I just hiked direct. It felt like 5.6 to me. In retrospect, I don't think Squamish has recalibrated their friction ratings to account for the new sticky rubber, at least, not at the time.

Plus, its granitediorite has this peculiar property - if you fall, just freeze into place - chances are your fall will come to a standstill within a few feet. As contrasted to the glacier polish of Tuolumne, or the water patina of GPA or MCR North Apron, where you'd better know how to land like a cat, 50 feet+ down.

As the sodium vapor lamps began to illuminate the Squamish Port, several noticed the California plates on my small PU truck. "What's the matter, Man! Are our climbs too easy for you!?"

Secretly pleased yet humbled, I quickly pretended that I thought that they were talking to someone else. I certainly didn't want to disillusion them by disclosing that my crack technique was and is so bad that the only way I can get up a 5.9 crack is by rappelling upside down!

Almost forgot about the Shannon adventure. On my way home, I decided to 'cess a friction route, right of the cascade. 1st obstacle, right up against the parking lot, involved the crossing of a 100 foot steam. A log, a full yard in diameter, offered portage. But, since it was about 10 feet above the rocky streambed, several false starts were enough to persuade me that this approach might be slightly offroute.

So, I opted for a boulderhop across. Unlike your typical Sierra creek crossing, though, these boulders where like polished basket balls...though I made it over and back without falling into the white waters.

After a bit of rainforest bushwhacking, I found myself climbing up a steeply slanting log, rotted halfway through, and ducking beneath another fallen log over my head. Which I then had to cross as a bridge, over the rotten log ramp below.

B.C. approaches are a little more complicated than your typical Yosemite approach hike - I'd say it took me about an hour to cover - what? - 1/4 mile.

Justin described an approach to a peak on the west side of Howe Sound. It took them about 8 hours to rig a river crossing across the Howe Sound inlet.

Anyway, the day following Little Smoke, I headed back south to Smith Rock, and got Spanked! Then later, by my mistress - but, of course, that's OT.



Tami

Social climber
Canada
Apr 8, 2012 - 05:07pm PT
Then later, by my mistress - but, of course, that's OT.


More likely TMI.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Apr 8, 2012 - 06:20pm PT
^^^
Haha good stuff there, Kabala Arch! I definitely appreciate
The Sierra approaches after spending so much time bushwacking,
although bushwacking here is almost an end unto itself!

Speaking of the west side of Howe sound, a gondola that started
Downtown or near the waterfront & went up towards Mt Lapworth
Or touch & go towers Would be spectacular, & also would, unlike the current proposal actually
Benefit the businesses of downtown. I know, I know, there is power lines,
Not feasible, yada, yada. Just thinking aloud....

I keep forgetting that the point of the current proposal is to
Generate profit for private interests, my bad.
KabalaArch

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Apr 8, 2012 - 09:15pm PT
More likely TMI.

The weird part was, everywhere we traveled together, we'd always get comped an upgrade. Renting a K-Car at the Vancouver International, we were given a red, convertible, sports car of some make and manufacture. Which, naturally caught the Royal Mountie's eye, who trailed us for many a long mile. And you practically have to keep your foot off of the gas to keep it under 80 (mph).

Once, when we flew into Chicago, the outside seat was occupied by I guess a 16 year old. Our plane was behind schedule; she had to make a connection, to her waiting father. Cell phones didn't exist at the time; and I'd had no counsel to help her out.

Anyway, MMP and I were were amusing ourselves, just chattering away, when the teenager states: "You're not married, are you
!?"

Stuck in the middle seat between these two, neither spoke to me for at least an hour.

On our flight from Portland to Vancouver, in what was a very small Alaska Airlines turboprop..maybe 20 seats...cruised at a one mile altitude, easily - if not even greater.

Thing is, I've always thought Canadian women attractive. They're not Southern Californian - they're like a cross between English and New Zealand?
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 9, 2012 - 11:34am PT
Wow Bruce, what a great adventure! Right here in the heart of Sea to Sky country. Great to see such an active guy doing everything from the Grand Wall to skiing the Tantalus Range.
You're pretty connected, maybe you should get some American friends of yours to write a letter to the Squamish Chief stating their blessing for a local gondola. Just make sure you remind them it won't be going up the Chief.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 9, 2012 - 11:48am PT
Oh ya, I guess that's right. Well how 'bout California? Maybe you can get in touch with whoever did the first ascent of Mt. Habrich. That will impress the impressionable.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 9, 2012 - 12:15pm PT
Thanks, Bruce - looks like you had a good day out, plus a visit to your father's memorial must have been special. I've been to Sedgwick and the Lovelywater area on foot and ski, and they're quite nice.

And yes, it is important to tell all those who care about the Chief and Squamish about what is proposed, and how they can learn about it and become involved. Time is short, but the international stature of the Chief indicates that all interested voices should be heard, wherever they may live.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 9, 2012 - 12:18pm PT
"On foot and ski"
I'm guessing that's code for "lightweights use choppers"
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 9, 2012 - 12:21pm PT
No, either they hadn't invented them or we couldn't afford them. I forget which. But we used boats.

Hopefully those who made the FA of Habrich, in 1912, won't be writing with regard to the proposed gondola, though. D. Munday and F. Smith have been dead for some time.

IIRC, Habrich was named for Jack Habrich, a sort of logger and handy man who had a cabin in what is now Valleycliffe, and was then called Skunk Hollow. (Hospital Hill seems originally to have been called South Ridge.)
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 9, 2012 - 12:35pm PT
If the "positives" of such a proposal depend on the economic success of the private enterprise making the proposal, shouldn't the business plan also be evaluated to see if the proposed plan is viable, economically, and what the conditions of sustainability are for such a business?

I'm not sure I've seen any details or references in the above thread.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Apr 9, 2012 - 12:46pm PT
Awwww, there goes Dr H injecting reason into this argument........

:-)


hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 9, 2012 - 01:13pm PT
1912. Now that IS impressive...
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 9, 2012 - 01:20pm PT
Bruce,

That looks great ! How was the huge face of Sedgewick to ski ? Baldwin's guide makes it sound not as good as it looks.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 9, 2012 - 01:39pm PT
if I take the estimates for the number of employees from the corporation's proposal web site of 20, and the median income of Squamish of $30,000, and the multiplier rate of 2.5 I get an annual effort burden of $1,500,000

with the high estimate of 500,000 people visiting the area for recreation (also from the proposers web site), and the various taxes (local, province, federal: 17%, 10%, 15% respectively), charge $20 a ticket and capture 24% of those 500,000 people to break even in a year, that's 120,000 people a year using the gondola.

To recoup the capital investment in the gondola in 5 years... say it costs $10,000,000 to put up, then without any interest the break even for those 5 years at $20 per ride is 220,000 people using the gondola, or roughly 44% of the current annual visitors rate above.

But I'm not a business man... maybe someone else can do the math.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 9, 2012 - 02:04pm PT
$20.00 per ride.....now we're talking. Just need a big hook on the outside of the capsule to hold a bike and we're in.

I have a hard time envisioning an average of 220,000 riders/year. Seems like they'd have to average 600/day to hit those numbers. Sure sounds like a lot. Might need some cruise ships and a long gangplank. If they did manage those numbers, I'd say they'll be printing money.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 9, 2012 - 02:28pm PT
I don't think they qualify for the "small business tax" but then I don't have access to all the definitions and numbers, there is a yearly income cutoff, not sure if that is "net" or "gross"...


my guess is also that they wouldn't be paying $30,000 a year for the employees...
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 9, 2012 - 03:36pm PT
Ed's point is helpful. Assuming that the thing should be considered at all, the business plan and finances should be fully disclosed, and critically reviewed. If you want something so valuable to the public, that's the price.

My friend Steve skied the big face on Sedgwick long ago. He said it was a good, long run, but the limitations (then) were that afterward, you had to climb most of the way back up. The lower part also wasn't very good skiing, as it's fairly low down, and often doesn't have a lot of or very good snow. Sounds like Bruce and friends scored yesterday.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 9, 2012 - 03:58pm PT
I don't know how much "reviewing" you can do. It all depends on volume and these numbers will only ever be estimates. Might be easy to estimate the nice summer days but a little tougher to crunch the numbers of people showing up when it's socked in with horizontal rain.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Apr 9, 2012 - 04:05pm PT
Exactly my issue with it Hamish. Easter-to-Thanksgiving yeah the thing might receive good use but when the long rains start in mid October and don't end until March-ish and folks are more interested in the Whistler 500 it's gonna be you locals supporting the beast. Hope the bike trails are good !!!
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 9, 2012 - 04:11pm PT
Call me crazy but I'm almost sensing a little compromise between the lines of M.H.'s recent posts.

As far as the numbers of riders go, it's all about marketing and proximity to the masses. Ziptreck, for instance (Whistler,I know), runs 360 plus days/year and you don't want to know how many people they pump through that thing. At $100/head, I might add.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Apr 9, 2012 - 04:12pm PT
C-c-c-cc-craaaaaaaaaaazzzy !!!!!!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 9, 2012 - 04:17pm PT
but the estimates are important...

firstly, while the serious outdoor community may like the access, they are a minority of those 500,000 annual recreating visitors. Not likely that their needs or desires would have a high priority in planning the activities around the gondola. Any benefit to that community would be indirect.

A good business model would be based on getting the "normal" visitor interested in buying a ride.

Also, what would be the lifetime of such a facility? Both from the business standpoint (I assume the goal is to be bought out by some bigger concern, at a profit, and early) vs. the public interest in the alterations to the area, and the potential for having a failed commercial operation/facility to deal with...

...both the "success" scenario and the failure scenario are an important consideration to deciding how to manage public lands.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 9, 2012 - 04:33pm PT
You're right Tami, guess I was seeing things. He's probably staying with the "No Soup For You" attitude.

Which is why we all like him so much. Truly.
gf

climber
Apr 9, 2012 - 04:47pm PT
Bruce-great shots -we need to get together over a beer and compare notes on howe sound related tours -maybe even a stand-alone thread??

gf
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 9, 2012 - 05:46pm PT
Bruce, I'm all for process, but the public's interest is in perpetuity where as the commercial concerns are necessarily short term... they want the place to succeed enough to make it worth selling off, at a profit to the investors, probably within 5 to 10 years.

Isn't that the balance that is being struck between land set aside in Provincial Parks and those lands that are left to be used commercially? The balance between short term goals and long term goals.

Once you have a gondola on that site, who is responsible for it through out its lifetime? Commercial interests will weigh the benefits of cutting their losses if that comes to pass... then the situation is not unlike the current gravel pit, only more extensive.

"And visible from the road" as the proposers' website states as a requirement.


hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 10, 2012 - 12:29am PT
Hi Bruce. What's that? Needs and wants of Squamish locals? Are you kidding me, that's a Class "A" Park little fellah.
bmacd

Trad climber
100% Canadian
Apr 10, 2012 - 01:02am PT
Anders stop pissing around. Build up your case and threaten to take parks branch to court if this doesn't go your way. I am sure you can use some good old fashioned court time to brush up on your lawyer skills.

Just do it bro
gf

climber
Apr 10, 2012 - 01:14am PT
Needs and wants of Squamish locals? Are you kidding me, that's a Class "A" Park little fellah.
Oh boy, I hate sparring with friends but what the heck-this is kind of a metaphorical barstool so what the heck-here goes...
Um, would that be the same crew that backed walmart on the highway?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 10, 2012 - 02:04am PT
One things for sure, a locally born and bred process is more likely to be accountable than anything dreamt up by the Federal or provincial government.

Is it? That is, in comparison say with the highly accountable process that was used to create the park, which included a considerable 'local' element, but much more? It's hard to get land into parks, and should be even harder to get it out. And the current (flawed) process was 'dreamt up' by the provincial government, although we may never know how it really came to be.

Just back from a FOSC meeting in Squamish. I'm the token Vancouverite.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 10, 2012 - 09:58am PT
Praise the Lord they don't have Walmarts or Gondolas in West Vancouver.
Those things are just down the street, about a mile from West Van, in that shanty town of North Van.
Those poor residents, having to look at that Grouse gondola every day; it must be terrible...

I can be pretty snappy before my morning coffee. Sorry if I offended anyone.
gf

climber
Apr 10, 2012 - 11:01am PT
I've had my coffee....
Re Gondola Views from Squamish, N Van or our humble muni
-I really don't have a beef on this front-to me the commercial and aesthetic aspects this proposal brings, although i have noted upthread that this seems like a classic development plan others have expanded on at length.
I just can't let go of the arbitrage play the developers are leveraging the heck out of around the flips out of the gravel pit at the base. Theres' a lot of talk about how council is 100% behind this, as are many Sq residents-thats great, nothing wrong with that-BUT-what i find disturbing is that there seems to be a lack of willingness to bargin hard for the broad sake of the community using the key leverage point of a Class A park. The reason I mention Walmart is that this is a good historical example of similar lack of negotiating backbone. So ironically I think I am coming down more on the side of community values as opposed to divide and conquer development proposals?
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 10, 2012 - 11:26am PT
Anders, just so you know I'm not at all loathe to hearing from those from far away, even Latte suckin' seattle-ites.
...

"You are NOT entitled to your opinion. However you are entitled to an informed opinion"

Well, just so you know, this latte-sucking seattle-ite agrees with you 100%

Does that mean you're going to have to change your opinion? In this case, no, because I acquired my latte addiction during the years I lived in North Van (and Kitsilano before that). And anyway, I mostly take my fix in the form of straight espresso, so I haven't gone totally over to the lite side.

But the "informed opinion" thing is important. And not always clear cut. It's easy to sit in your urban or suburban living room and feel bad about the plight of spotted owls, and vote to protect their habitat. Or, on the other side of the fence, it's pretty easy to sit in your small town living room and think about how cutting down trees is what makes your community a wonderful place to live and raise your kids.

Both of those groups include people who believe they have informed opinions. So who is to judge who's opinion is worth hearing?

Personally, I think the two key elements in this whole debate are:

a) will the gondola be designed to carry bikes, and

b) will there be a good pub at the top.


hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 10, 2012 - 11:30am PT
CLASSIC !!!!!!!
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 10, 2012 - 12:13pm PT
good friggin point greg.

Plus ten on that. It is really easy to get caught up in "the issue", while never realizing the real issue is something else entirely. Perfect example is the tunnel that is going to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct here in Seattle. This is a multi-billion-dollar project, that generated conflict that makes the Squamish gondola fight look like two kids arguing in a sand box.

I won't go into the details, but everybody was focused on "the issue" of whether a tunnel, or a new viaduct, or some other alternative made the best sense. Nobody, as far as I ever read or heard, bothered to look behind these first-level questions and start asking about the 3.5 kilometers (over two miles) of Seattle waterfront that would suddenly be available for development if the Viaduct came down and its traffic was re-routed underground. I don't know exactly how much that land is worth. I don't even know if numbers that big exist. What I do know is that this will be some of the most expensive land in North America and a few billion dollars for a tunnel is peanuts by comparison.

But the kids in the sandbox just kept shouting about whether option A was better/cheaper than option B.

So, yeah, Greg's got a point. The idea of a gondola to take me up into that area between Oleson Creek and Shannon Falls seems pretty cool, but it might be worth looking behind the "Gondola Good/Gondola Bad" stuff to see what else might be at play.

Not in the sense of "Developers are EVIL!!!" that comes through in Anders' posts, but more as a matter of due diligence. Might be some good news there, or some bad. But worth a look.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 10, 2012 - 12:15pm PT
Yes, Knee Wrecker is rather interesting.

In a sense, none of our opinions about this may be informed. As an example, none of us really know the plans of the developers. While some may be better informed than others, and there are a variety of different perspectives to have on this, none is necessarily "right" or "wrong".

Opinion on a matter of principle, e.g. removing land from the centre of hard-won Class A parks, can also be more difficult, as they're about values, not facts.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 10, 2012 - 12:35pm PT
And that it's a provincial park, although one of international stature.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 10, 2012 - 12:51pm PT
A well balanced process give a more equal playing field when making decsisons like this. Business and government have many overlapping interests such as the tie between profits and taxes. Giving citizens a place at the negotiating table adds critical analysis that can stop some proposals and can vastly improve others.

The rush to get a proposal through the review process without full involvement of all stakeholders sometimes indicates a fragile financing mechanism...
Stewart

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Apr 10, 2012 - 06:41pm PT
Ive got a couple of what I consider to be simple questions concerning this issue, so let's just cut to the chase.

Do the supporters of this gondola proposal approve of industrial (or any other) development of "Class A" parks? If so, as I have asked earlier, where do YOU draw the line?

I would appreciate a response from the cheerleaders for this project.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 10, 2012 - 08:05pm PT
I'm not a cheerleader, I just find it frustrating when well intentioned citizens are so quick to say No.

Like I said before, I don't even care if there's a gondola or not. I love riding my bike uphill; I went to the Rob Cocqyet school of mtn. biking and therefore learned to earn my turns. I'm simply very willing to welcome and entertain any and all proposals in the corridor.
In my opinion, our society would benefit from people trading some breathtaking scenery for the usual sights seen at the mall.
Of course it would be better if they were all hiking up to shannon creek basin but currently there doesn't seem to be any trail building proposals out there. Baby steps.
bearbreeder

climber
Apr 10, 2012 - 08:22pm PT
if it gives me flush toilets, showers, starbucks with the hawt chicks that hang out there and dancing captive bears at the top .... im all for it ;)

the thing i find with gondola opponents ive talked to ... theyre often quite fanatical about it, present company excepted ... no amount of discussion or compromising will convince many of the ones i know that anything but no development will ruin that "wilderness" experience

at the end of the day i believe its up to the people there to decide ...

heres a short clip about a climb for which one takes a gondola (gasp) to access ...

https://vimeo.com/36518774

Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 10, 2012 - 09:05pm PT
It's kind of weird, but what Bruce said above is almost word-for-word what I had been thinking about posting to this thread for several days now. That is, if you simply say "This is a Provincial Park, and therefore sacred" then there's no sense talking to you. It's just more "Because it says so in the Bible" close-mindedness.

But if you have even a single rational neuron in your brain, you'd be willing to agree that if the solution to world peace was to remove a bit of parkland and give it to a developer, you'd do it in a heartbeat. So the question, for all but the blindly religious, is: "Is removing park land justified in this case?"

I'm no cheerleader, but I'm kind of more pro than con. I think the Chief and the areas adjacent to it are so far from wilderness, or parkishness, that a gondola wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference, and if it allowed access to the land above (and was set up for bike transport) then why not?

And on the "why not" side are questions about the sanity of the business plan, and whether or not there is some hidden agenda -- some kind of bait and switch deal that would leave everybody saying "Boy, were we suckered!"

Personally, I'd like to make the handing over of this land to the developer conditional on the Government adding an equivalent or greater amount of land to this or some other park, but other than that, I sort of like the idea.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 10, 2012 - 09:36pm PT
Ya, what Casper said.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 10, 2012 - 10:07pm PT
Cut a line straight up the highly valuable divide between the Stawamus Chief Park and Shannon Falls Park.

Offer a 2 hectare only replacement tacked on to the relatively remote low value North East aspect of Stawamus Chief Park, Southern aspect of Shannon Falls Park or somewhere else in the province.

It's all park, right ? As long as it is a transfer from one place to another, no problem !
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 10, 2012 - 11:52pm PT
Jim is right. Land "swap" seems pretty weak.
Stewart

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Apr 11, 2012 - 01:08am PT
Hamish - I wasn't intending to offend you personally, but if I have done so, please accept my apologies.

I've asked my question at least once before my latest post, and none of the supporters of this proposal have responded to it, including now. I have also given my reasons for my opposition to this project, which include my intense distrust for both politicians and developers who continue to hack away at a Class "A" park boundary. Class "A" parks are supposed to be held in perpetuity for future generations.

This isn't the first time these elected clowns and their drinking buddies have chipped away at the borders of one of these places because someone figured he might be able to grab a few bucks by betraying the public trust, and it won't be the last if people don't draw the line somewhere.

That's the point that I'm trying to make.

Oops - I noticed I just annoyed you, too Perry. I'm also sorry that you feel offended, but to suggest that I'm that close-minded is just plain wrong. In reality, I'm usually the guy that is the first to suggest a compromise when there's a disagreement about something, but I've seen the results when politicians start screwing around with Class "A" parks.

I've made this point before differently, but just see how biblically close-minded your bank manager is when you decide to unilaterally change the terms of your mortgage.

Yet again - where do YOU draw the line?.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 11, 2012 - 02:00am PT
But if you have even a single rational neuron in your brain, you'd be willing to agree that if the solution to world peace was to remove a bit of parkland and give it to a developer, you'd do it in a heartbeat. So the question, for all but the blindly religious, is: "Is removing park land justified in this case?"

These are the sorts of questions that philosophers and writers have been agonizing over since humans became self-aware. They're not likely to be answered here.

It's two sides of the same coin, isn't it? And no one is 'right', the compromisers or the uncompromising. Which is why we have government and laws, to allow informed, reasonably impartial decisions, in which all those with an interest in the outcome at least have a reasonable opportunity to be heard. And why maybe, just maybe, as part of the process someone ought to have at least posed the question, even if rhetorically: "Should we be considering removing land from parks, and from these parks in particular, at all?"
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 11, 2012 - 10:19am PT
Easy there Woz, you're not offending me, or, I'm guessing, anyone. This is just a bunch of friends having a debate. Nothing more. I enjoy it, gets your brain in motion a bit. I don't have to agree with my friends about everything, in fact I think it's quite healthy to have some differences. Just imagine how boring it would be if we all thought the same way.
Most people speaking out against the tram live in cities much bigger than Squampton, with more traffic lights, more cars, more noise, etc.. I get it. They hold the Chief in a special place and cherish that area for relative peace, tranquility, and that sought after "wilderness" experience. I'm still getting it.
I went to Van yesterday and saw my good friend that deals with that ant hill every day. The big city is overwhelming for us cave dwellers... way to many people, all trying to get somewhere ten minutes ago. When I'm northbound, round that corner at Murrin, and Garibaldi and the Chief come into view, a wave of relief floods over me. It's a great feeling. Back to the little town with ten traffic lights. But even Squishmish is getting pretty busy. Of course I want the old Squamish back, we were all climbing here when there weren't any traffic lights at all. And no MacBarfuls, no Fatburger (yes, that's really their name), no Taco-Hell, no Neon sign by the Apron, no Casino. You think I like that crap? Nope.
But, as I laid out early on in this debate, there are a couple million people down the road and, like it or not, they're coming. And I can't blame them one bit. I'm from Victoria and I moved here.
To get a littlle better insight into the matter, I think people need to check out Shannon Falls and hike the Backside trail during the peak summer days. It's a zoo. I personally know many people who wont hike the chief because of those crowds. It's bumper to bumper on that trail.
The tram will pass over the Park and land people way the hell up there in that old logging slash (check out the map). The vast majority of users will never even set foot in the (sacred) Park. They will simply pass over it. And looking down the road, once more trails are built, the people setting foot in the Park will be hiking or biking. Is that not getting more use out of the Park?

Sometimes I wonder if people want the Chief Park to be used or changed to a Preserve.
Stewart

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Apr 11, 2012 - 10:13pm PT
Thanks, Bruce and Hamish. Hamish - I see your points. While I still lived over there I was saying to any of my friends who would listen at the time that Squish had the best real estate investment potential between Vancouver and Whistler - a no-brainer, admittedly, but it appears that I was correct.

A question for you regarding these mobs ascending the backside trail - did you observe a noticeable increase in tourist numbers after the Whistler oligarchs got an obscene amount of free money from the taxpayers of B.C., including road improvements and free employee housing to host the Olympics? The reason that I'm asking this is because it makes sense to me that a proportion of people who are looking for outdoor diversion will find it both cheaper and faster to go to Squamish than continue up the road to Fat City.

Regardless, I am aware that population pressure for recreation space isn't going to go away - Courtenay has similar problems, and the solution to these problems isn't easy. We can't shoot tourists, of course, but these pressures are global, and we've got to have the courage to elect politicians who actually have the integrity to address these issues and educate the public to accept that the party is over and things aren't going to improve unless we as individuals begin to seriously consider our impact on this planet as a species.

Sermon over.

I don't have all the answers to the above, but an alternate suggestion for a gondola site I've seen mooted was Britannia Beach. I don't know the area well but, for the moment, it seems to me that there's reasons that could make this an acceptable alternative: it seems to be already developed enough to be more easily capable of absorbing a large number of visitors; there's already a tourist attraction in existence; plus it should serve as a more convenient destination for at least some of the the Vancouver tourists (and car thieves).

I'm sure there's other areas that could be considered as alternate sites, but my adamant objection to the gondola is partially based upon the fact that it impacts a Class "A" park, and that a gondola will serve to attract MORE tourists to an area that is already heavily used.

As for what the local politicians think, I won't make the mistake of slandering the current crop, but it has not been unheard of for elected civic officials to be more concerned with lining their own pockets than representing the best interests of their constituents, which is particularly easy for them to do at this level, since the voter turnout in these elections is usually even more dismal than the turnout for provincial and federal polls.

Gotta go.

gf

climber
Apr 11, 2012 - 10:43pm PT
Speaking of anthills per earlier comments by hamish, I'm off to the motherlode of anthills, a tour de duty of east asian cities. The one thing I hear from folks over there is "I like Vancouver and I love the nature" I think the best thing we've got to sell is just that -nature.
In my opinion the potential for development around Howe Sound is like the north shore was to the Guinness family in the 30's-a killer long term play. Back then they got the govts of the day to let them run a road through stanley park to build a bridge (still in use) across Burrard Inlet. The kicker then was that the municipality of West Van was essentially bankrupt, the development company (british pacific properties) cut a deal to buy a huge swath of land for cheap but also committed to an ambitious and specific infra-structure program which would employ locals. There was significant excess capacity from this initial burst of development but it saved west van and laid the ground work for further growth of a dynastic fortune. In short it was a hard bargin driven by the developers but they were well financed and made firm commitments.
Fast forward to the present-sure the tax base is down as the last of the squandered forest reserves get trundled out and the mils are shuttered. But Squamish isn't going broke and can afford to bargin hard. As my father once said when he mortgaged the family house to buy another patch of what became his private idaho on the west coast-"they aren't making any more of it"
I'm concerned that the local govts of squamish and environs may not be fully looking beyond their current terms with regard to their unanimous endorsement of this project; perhaps a bit too eager to "do the deal"?
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 11, 2012 - 11:22pm PT
Hamish, you're a hard act to follow !

Your post this morning sent everyone out and about, to think about why the Chief matters and why this amenity causes so much soul searching.

Here's my personal take. There was no larger or more epic example of what the world held than the Chief when I was a child. Many trips to visit family up Howe Sound in all seasons, always had me with face pressed to the car's window while passing by. Snow, ice, Summer Sun... it didn't matter. I had no idea about climbing, just that the Chief was something else.

We'd poke at salmon, running around, high Summer barefoot on the riverbanks of a place that was greater than explanation. Our everyday child's world was defined by grids of asphalt, hemming the grass, trees and dwellings into an ordered fashion. Howe Sound and Squamish was easily accessed relief and on occasion, a transcendent feeling that all was well when the sun was out (or not) and you could just run free.

People have to be conscious of the danger when Local sentiment or the politics of Loces only prevails. It can be good, as when in the early 70's, the East Vancouver residents told the powers to f*#k off, we will not have a highway pushed through the neighborhood we live in. This is what really forced the so called livable nature of Vancouver, not some planner's ideal.

So what's the blah, blah leading to ?

Everywhere right now people are being offered some form of salvation from a down economic cycle by opportunists hoping the locals are softened to their plan by the hurt of no money.

Squamish and it's surrounding beauty is really something else on the planet. Times always get better eventually. If these land developers are worth their salt, they can take some investigation and speculation by people concerning their plan.

Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 11, 2012 - 11:42pm PT
Since the trail up the Chief is as crowded as it is, why haven't other trails been built?

It seems there is huge demand for hiking trails that clearly fit within the Park's mission and would also be in spirit with the "outdoor recreation capitol" gig promoted in the advertising. The issue of maintaining road access to the high country should also be addressed in an area-wide recreation plan.

What's up with area-wide trail planning for hikes around the Chief and high country?
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 12, 2012 - 12:00am PT
Bruce, I would imagine the commercial benefits from the trail up the Chief are not lost on Squamish.

Now a driving range from the top...
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 12, 2012 - 12:24am PT
It seems there is huge demand for hiking trails that clearly fit within the Park's mission and would also be in spirit with the "outdoor recreation capitol" gig promoted in the advertising. The issue of maintaining road access to the high country should also be addressed in an area-wide recreation plan.

And my uncle in Nigeria is looking for some help in gaining access to 30.7 million dollars. If you just send him your bank information, he'll transfer that amount to your account and trust you to share it with him.

The words "outdoor recreation capital" and "Parks" don't belong in the same sentence. In strictly financial terms, there's no benefit to more trails, because the mass of people using the existing trail are more than happy to be part of the mass. The only people who want more (i.e. uncrowded) trails are the scummy climbers who don't spend much anyway. And the Parks branch (whatever its formal name), isn't involved in the commercial side of things at all.

And as for "maintaining road access", maybe after my uncle splits the $30.7 million with you, you can use your $15.35 million to maintain all the out-of-use logging roads in BC. I hope so, because no one else is going to. Well, other than the logging company that has the rights to whatever timber a given road leads to.

It's easy to get starry-eyed over stuff like this. "The government ought to..." "Roads to the back country should be maintained..." "More trails will give more people access to Nirvana..." Yeah, sure, and if pigs had wings, they could fly. The reality is that nobody is going to put up money to maintain logging roads, or build trails, or do anything else on that big laundry list of wonderful things we all wish could happen.

So there's no point in saying "Instead of the gondola, why don't they..." Because there is no "they." If you don't like the gondola project as proposed, then raise your voice against it. Or push for some conditions. But don't look for alternatives, because there aren't any.

hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 12, 2012 - 12:41am PT
Casper, you couldn't have hit the nail harder. Outstanding.
"They should do this, they should do that" please, give me a break.

I know we covered this stuff at length a couple weeks ago when M.H. outlined a 13 step program for Parks to get started on.
Ya, they have heaps of money and they'll get right on it. Ya.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 12, 2012 - 12:46am PT
Most of the existing hiking and biking trails are volunteer built, either decades ago or recent. That is a distinct option with this gondola thing, likely the prefered option.

I don't disagree at all. What I was saying in my last post was that expecting more trails to be built by some governmental sugar daddy was silly. On the other hand, if you and I and a few of our friends want to spend the next year of weekends building trails, well, that's something we can actually do. But I don't think it plays much of a part in this debate.
gf

climber
Apr 12, 2012 - 12:59am PT
Oh boy, I'm tempted to say something like "gee lets crunch the imputed value of the arbitrage win that the developers may get on that patch of land they picked up for cheap if this easment is granted. That money can go toward buying a patch of land, paid for in full by the developers to enhance a park in the district on a 10-1 ratio to the easement they want. This land would need to be of "strategic value" and equivalent ecological state. The final kicker is they need to pay for building the equivalent in sq m to the land covered in the easment a trail network off the top of their gondola terminal."

But wait, I'm not into dismantling class A parks, even if my extreme stance helps cooler heads to negotiate. And more to the point, this would be dealing with the man, not sticking it to him, to quote one of my favorite lines from my honourable and now venerable hippie friends.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 12, 2012 - 01:21am PT
And more to the point, this would be dealing with the man, not sticking it to him,

Greg, you (and me, and Bruce, and Jim Brennan, and Hamish, and most of the other people chattering here) are the man. Look around you. Look in the mirror. Look at your tax return.

Once upon a time we were dirty hippies with no money and big stars in our eyes. We railed against "the man." Which, in our view, was anyone with money. Anyone who was part of the economic system which...

...which we're all a part of now.

Unless we all commit suicide, we're pretty much dealing with the man just by waking up and brushing our teeth.
gf

climber
Apr 12, 2012 - 08:59am PT
i've gotta get that irony key fixed
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 12, 2012 - 10:23am PT
What Greg is saying, Bruce, is that a: if he was in charge, there wouldn't be any easement running through any classs A park. Period. And he's adding that b: if he was out voted and he had to give up the easement, it wouldn't come cheap. He's got some fancy words in there to figure out how much extra that gravel pit would have cost, had it been sold with a "gondolas are o.k." sticker. He's taken that dollar figure and pounded it into some local ammenity, at x times the number. Then he's asked the developers to build a kick-ass trail which would equal the square footage of the easement. Now that would be an incredable trail. Greg is a very capable business man and we need a brain like his sitting at the bargaining table. No doubt we'd walk away with a few great "tradsies"
I suspect there could be a little bargaining going on at some level, but not here on the super-distraction site. Where could you start with your list of swap-n-shops? It's endless. How about fifty cents/rider gets earmarked for existing (backside) trail maintenance and new trail construction? Like I said, it's endless.
I would hope the gondola guys take it upon themselves, motivated by money of course, to develop hiking and biking trails up there. Politicians love to promise the world to earn your vote, but all too often don't deliver because their promise doesn't crunch out, financially. If the proponents see some good quality trails as a means to attract another market, those trails will appear. Take a look at the bike trails which have popped up on whistler mtn over the last bunch of years. They're not building those because they promised them to someone, they're building them so they can make more money from the infrastructure they already have in place.
But ya. Greg for Premier, his brain works three times as fast as the rest of us. It's easy to get behind sometimes.
gf

climber
Apr 12, 2012 - 11:45am PT
Hamish for Mayor, and while your words are kind hamish-theres' no brain ticking at that speed in yours truly -just chronic ADD
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 12, 2012 - 12:15pm PT
Hold on a second. Didn't someone tell us that the fate of this provincial park is a purely local matter, and that the rest of us aren't entitled to an opinion, whatever our connection with the place? Under that criteria, gf would be disqualified from being involved.
bearbreeder

climber
Apr 12, 2012 - 12:30pm PT
just as an example of what many people who oppose the gondola believe the facts to be ...

//Squamish is under threat! There is a proposal out there to build a gondola up to the top of the Chief.
//
Credit: bearbreeder
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 12, 2012 - 12:34pm PT
What is the source of that?

In any case, FOSC has been clear about where the proposed gondola would go, including a link to the developer's website. We have no control over what others might say about it.
bearbreeder

climber
Apr 12, 2012 - 12:48pm PT
american alpine insitute ...

[http://alpineinstitute.blogspot.ca/2012/04/climbing-and-outdoor-news-from-here-and_12.html

my point simply is that factually incorrect and sometimes emotional charged statements are stuff ive seen by opponents of the gondola quite often ...

Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 12, 2012 - 01:05pm PT
It's hardly a secret that I'm opposed to a gondola being built there, and that I believe that the process that has been used to consider the possibility is flawed. Others share my views.

Anyone who has written to the politicians about this has done so of their own free will. Information and discussion was sent to many people, including a link to the developer's website. (Including to Bruce, Hamish, and others here.) They were encouraged to learn more, and to write if they wished. It's entirely their choice.

I'm curious, though. Just what "nuggets" are you referring to?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 12, 2012 - 01:19pm PT
I posted this a day or two ago, to silence.

ghost: But if you have even a single rational neuron in your brain, you'd be willing to agree that if the solution to world peace was to remove a bit of parkland and give it to a developer, you'd do it in a heartbeat. So the question, for all but the blindly religious, is: "Is removing park land justified in this case?"

Me: These are the sorts of questions that philosophers and writers have been agonizing over since humans became self-aware. They're not likely to be answered here.

It's two sides of the same coin, isn't it? And no one is 'right', the compromisers or the uncompromising. Which is why we have government and laws, to allow informed, reasonably impartial decisions, in which all those with an interest in the outcome at least have a reasonable opportunity to be heard. And why maybe, just maybe, as part of the process someone ought to have at least posed the question, even if rhetorically: "Should we be considering removing land from parks, and from these parks in particular, at all?"

If you can show that there's some possibility of world peace, or a cure for cancer, being found under the Chief, let's talk about it. In the meantime, let's deal with the situation as it is.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 12, 2012 - 01:35pm PT
The only thing that may be 'found' under the Chief is a gondola development, not world peace.

If some principles may sometimes need to be compromised, the question is which ones, when, why and how? And, the observe face of the coin, what of those who are too willing to compromise their principles? They may end up with no principles at all. Neither is right.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 12, 2012 - 01:59pm PT
Doesn't being prepared to defend one's principles sometimes have a place in human behaviours and values? (What you suggest as 'being an ideologue'?) For example, when we defeated the last gondola proposal in 2004, no one said we were "ideologues" or "uncompromising". When we insisted on the Chief being made into a provincial park, it was OK. And so on, and on. It's too easy to say your opponents are uncompromising ideologues, or compromisers who lack real principles, and I won't do either. Sometimes one or the other may be true, but even if so, it may not add much to the debate.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Apr 12, 2012 - 03:29pm PT
If the solution to global warming was discovered under the Chief, we'd mine it - right Anders?

I resisted this the first time, but Mother earth has her own solution to global warming. Ice Age.
bearbreeder

climber
Apr 12, 2012 - 05:33pm PT


its all a moot point anyways ... cause the chief will eat any gondola and the tourists in it ... so says the movie ;)
bmacd

Trad climber
100% Canadian
Apr 12, 2012 - 06:01pm PT
Please forward me the investors information kit for the project

tks
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 12, 2012 - 06:09pm PT
"If I were to present to you irrefutable proof coming from an expert of your choice that global warming was indeed happening and it was caused by man, and it is in our best interest to mitigate against it, would you change your mind?"

I learned a trick way back in my first-ever philosophy class that makes problems like this even simpler. If you want to test the logic of someone's position, you don't have to construct anything as complicated as you did with The Chief, calling in imaginary experts and such, just ask them what evidence would make them change their mind. If they say there is nothing that could make them do that, then they're talking religion, and you might as well terminate the conversation.

In the current case...

If: "There is nothing that would ever make me change my mind about removing land from Class A Parks"

Then: End of conversation. Logical argument is not possible.

Again, I'm not saying there should be a gondola, but I do note that every single one of those who has said something in favor of it has also made clear that their support is conditional and subject to change if they are presented with compelling evidence.

What I hear from those opposed is that there is no circumstance under which they would change their minds. Which, to me at least, really does sound like "Cuz it says so in the bible."
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 12, 2012 - 06:22pm PT
Back to M.H.'s post at 9:15 this morning. (Sorry I'm a little behind; worked all day). I missed the part about this being a local's decision only. Where did that even come from? If you ask me, everyone is equal, doesn't matter what part of our Great province you live in.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 12, 2012 - 07:15pm PT
If they say there is nothing that could make them do that, then they're talking religion, and you might as well terminate the conversation.

David, I'm sure that there are issues on which you take an equally firm stance, for reasons of your own. Don't we all? And don't you want to try and understand why it is that people are opposed/concerned?

Moral relativism and values can be complicated things. If I'm opposed to the gondola, perhaps it's for good reasons - at least good to me. Not just 'dogma'. Perhaps opponents could better articulate their reasons, although you'd think that the intent and letter of statutory and procedural requirements in a country governed by the rule of law would be enough. Statutes and laws may be human-made, but are the agreed-on "bible" for our country. Dogmatically dismissing arguments because you believe that they're dogmatic doesn't advance the discussion.

Most of those who've spoken against a gondola say that they're opposed to one at that location - but not to one nearby. That also hardly makes them dogmatic or inflexible.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 12, 2012 - 08:57pm PT
There is no evidence.

As for principle, if the solution to global warming was found under the Chief and only extractable by fracking the f*#k out of it, would the excuse for goodness be the Son-O-bitch was exfoliating anyways ?
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 12, 2012 - 09:11pm PT
The law doesn't necessarily serve as a buttress against corrupt process. What is in the public good in the past or present, always takes a hard edit in the eyes of those who go on after what makes sense now.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 12, 2012 - 09:42pm PT
Impressive; you guys are getting pretty deep. I might have to take a sabatical until the words get shorter again. Excellent stuff here.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Apr 12, 2012 - 10:38pm PT
Yes, very grandiose words being used here.
Really cool pics a few pages back btw Bruce, looks
Amazing back there! Just clarify & echo Mighty's logic
I am against the gondola at the proposed location but am
not against gondolas in general, in fact I ride gondolas all
The time. My main problem isn't even the location although
I am not exactly an advocate of dividing public land for private
capitalist interests. My main concern & reason i am anti is that
it is not economically feasible or realistic for a "passenger" gondola
To survive & that it will go tits up leaving all of us to deal with it since
it since it has yet to be proven that the proponents will be
accountable should such a thing happen. We already have
enough "cool rides" in the sea to sky area & just because you build it does
not mean they will come. Look at the casino, they are barely
staying afloat. As i said before Who wants to pay $35 to go stare at a logged area with a
Lame loop trail & an overpriced concession when they could drive an extra 35 min pay $45 & ride A circuit of the best gondolas in the world & bask in post Olympic glory?

In comparison this gondola will not be world class & it will quickly become
No secret that that is the case.

I know that alternatives & suggestions are not an active
Contribution to this debate but I've been in this area for almost
15 yrs & Squam for the past 6 & it really bums me out that all the development
Ideas & $$ that gets tossed around never ends up in downtown Squam,
It is such a cool spot & has great potential to be a bustling spot in its
Own right but with the exception of condos the "big" proposals never seem
To have downtown on the radar.....


I wrote a letter(rant) voicing my concerns to the addresses that MH supplied & received a few auto Replies, I did however receive a reply from the local MLA thanking me for the
Feedback & telling me that feedback from constituents is very important
Right now, whatever side of the fence you are on I would reccomend you
Do the same as there is a much greater chance of your opinion having an impact
Than it will here. Sorry for the terseness I am writing this on my phone @ work.

Respect to all,


Ryan
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 12, 2012 - 10:48pm PT
Ryan,

What would make downtown Squamish viable is a Southern entry / exit into and out of town so it wouldn't feel like going into town was such a transportational cul de sac.

It's the oldest elephant in the room and has it's collar leashed by the railway.
KabalaArch

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Apr 12, 2012 - 11:11pm PT
Bruce K-

Those are really descriptive photos of a very beautiful place. We used to call these "a Walk in the Park."

You know, back in my Kindergarten years, near Atlanta, Georgia, my parents used to take me and my only sister, at the time, on Sunday drives around a formation called "Stone Mountain" - Google Earth it, and you'll find a deep south version of Fairview Dome, in The Meadows.

I guess it's kinda weird for a 6 year old lad to wonder why his Dad didn't lead us to the Summit of this 1,000 ft dome. I mean, it was obvious to me that the west slope would go at a casual 3rd Class, and that for only about the first 20 feet of cracks, features, and ledges.

And what did the local developers do with this excellent granite dome?

Well, they started with a huge (like 100's feet high) bas relief of "Stonewall"Jackson, with some other Civil War troop, on the cleanest and steepest aspect of the north face, nearly vertical. Then came the gondola, also up the N. Face. As a Base tourist trap developed, a loop road around the Dome was built, followed in short order by one of those cutesy minature scale railroad trains, also a loop trip. Ornamental gardens surrounded this small Base Lodge, with plenty of retail/sales, eateries, parking lots, and assorted trash; artificial lakes and "water elements."

I don't know when climbing was banned at Stone Mountain. But, I'd bet that a few have sent at least a few routes, in the '50s and 60's. I lived down there ages 3 -- 6. And, in those few young years, I witnessed the destruction of one of the nicest domes in the deep South, starting with Stonewall Jackson. Forget which side he fought on...must have been Union, since his likeness appears on the USD10 bill.
Stewart

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Apr 13, 2012 - 02:24am PT
It's amazing to find out that believers in the sanctity of Class "A" parks are ideologues since they have principles.

Perhaps those who quote philosophers should also make it be known that philosophy isn't exactly a science, and that probably any human behaviour can be justified by quoting one's chosen champion. For example, I'm pretty sure that I can explain in a philosophically defensible manner an argument in support of always telling the truth which goes so far as to suggest that you should pursue this belief to the extent of truthfully answering the inquiries of a killer who is seeking the location of your best friend - who recently asked you to allow him to hide from this guy underneath your bed.

Without repeating my previous objections to this proposal (which, as far I've noticed don't get addressed anyway), it seems as though some of the supporters of this project counter with devastating logic that people who object to Class "A" park boundaries getting re-arranged to suit the FOR PROFIT schemes of the business community are somehow lacking a sense of fairness.

Integrity is not a character flaw, and I am capable of naming politicians of all stripes that I respect because they actually have principles. As a matter of fact, Winston Churchill (who was actually a bit of a jerk) is venerated largely because he was one of the few British politicians of his day who loudly objected to the compromises of his contemporaries (the "peace in our time crowd") as they meekly helped give away other people's countries to a guy named Hitler. Look it up - it's true.

Admittedly this isn't Europe of the 1930s, and I'm no Churchill, but I would find the arguments of the pro-gondola crowd more compelling if there was the slightest agreement from them that it is long past time that we demand our elected officials actually keep their campaign promises instead of displaying the kind of ethics that would make a sewer rat puke.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Apr 13, 2012 - 02:55am PT
Stewart is right. Eroding class A parks is a slippery slope. What's to stop them from using it as a precedent the next time they want to rape and pillage some park land?
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Apr 13, 2012 - 03:05am PT
Stone Mountain
Stone Mountain
Credit: unknown

No Climbing allowed!!
bearbreeder

climber
Apr 13, 2012 - 03:38am PT
so were implying that there will be no climbing on the chief once a gondola goes up now .... most interesting ;)

and perhaps a face of mr harper will be carved into the side as well =P

if this is true then the SAS and CASBC should immediately oppose the said monstrosity of course ... i await to hear from em !!!

RyanD

climber
Squamish
Apr 13, 2012 - 04:07am PT
No Bearbreeder that is a picture of the place that Kabala Arch mentioned upthread that he watched become continually desecrated & transformed from a natural thing of beauty into a total spectacle.

No Climbing is allowed there.

The place looks ridiculous.

The climbing looks like it would have been good.

edit: haha no i think Christy Clark would be a better carving choice for the grand, her pinnochio nose could be carved out of the pillar.
KabalaArch

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Apr 13, 2012 - 04:33am PT
Ryan...the N. Face looks pretty good, eh? Love to poach it someday, but I've already biz with the Banditos route on the Totem Pole, Navahoe lands in Monument Valley, AZ.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 13, 2012 - 10:07am PT
I've been working in the Capilano Watershed lately and therefore driving past the Grouse Gondola Base area several times. Nice big parking lot they have themselves. Someone on this super-time-eraser site with some computer skills should hit google earth for the gravel pit and lay it over the same for Grouse. That might be interesting, you know, as some light conversation.

Just wondering what they're going to do with all those busses and cars.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Apr 13, 2012 - 11:33am PT
Haha Bruce Kay inc. this is getting hilarious!
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 13, 2012 - 12:06pm PT
What is so funny about that?
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 13, 2012 - 12:10pm PT
David, I'm sure that there are issues on which you take an equally firm stance, for reasons of your own. Don't we all? And don't you want to try and understand why it is that people are opposed/concerned?

I hope I don't take that kind of stance on anything. There are things I feel strongly about, but I hope that none of them fall into the "My mind is made up, don't bother me with facts" category.

As to the second question, of course I want to understand why people are opposed or concerned. I've said that repeatedly, and don't understand why you would even ask. In fact, as I said in the post you were replying to, all of the people taking part in this thread who have said anything in favor of building the gondola in that location have also said they are eager to gain more information and that they are prepared to change their minds.

It is you who seems not "to want to try and understand why it is that people" do not share your position.

You have repeatedly stated that you are unalterably opposed. Okay, I understand that. But why do you want people to listen to you if you are unwilling to listen to them?

And, for what feels like the thousandth time, I'm not a cheerleader for this project. I think there are plenty of potential positives and plenty of potential negatives. Why not consider the positives and negatives with an open mind? To take what amounts to a religious approach and say either "Development at any cost!" or "Parks are untouchable!" is to lose the respect of those you are trying to convince, and to ensure that they will not listen to you.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 13, 2012 - 12:14pm PT
Wow, still wish I could write like you.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 13, 2012 - 12:20pm PT
And I still wish I could climb like you.
bearbreeder

climber
Apr 13, 2012 - 12:23pm PT
i dont think anyone here is "pro gondola" ... they are however pro keeping an open mind to it being built ... or not

that does make us pristine park pillaging, tree raping, capitalist pigs though i suppose ...

if there aint any sbucks, dancing bears or flush toilets ... im not pro gondola ;)

oh well ... time to go squishing before they close down the chief once the gondola is built ... once they carve christy clark into the pan wall ... i think certain parts might make good slab climbing =P
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 13, 2012 - 02:53pm PT
Oh I'm having lots of fun with it, no problem there. It's just that everyone and their dog is inc. these days.
Sign of the times, kinda like the gondola.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Apr 13, 2012 - 02:55pm PT
Exactly Bruce inc.! The fact you are incorporated wasn't so much what I thought was hilarious as I did your previous comments as well as those of the many other silver-tongued wit-masters that have been posting on here lately. Good stuff & a very amicable debate so far as I can tell.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 13, 2012 - 09:26pm PT
Gondolas, in our time.
Tricouni

Mountain climber
Vancouver
Apr 13, 2012 - 10:29pm PT
Am I being naive assuming such good intent? Well judging from past experience with the Chief specifically, no and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, no again. If anyone can provide evidence that could change my mind, fire away. I agree that past history of Strathcona Park and Heliskiing in Garibaldi Park raise some valid red flags but I suggest that both had to do with interference from the Provincial government, not decision making within the bureaucracy of BC Parks.

Hi Bruce, yes, I think you are being a bit naive here. I agree about the Strathcona and Garibaldi heliskiing debacles being the results of Government interference. Personally I tend to trust the Parks people themselves. But the parks people work for the Government (and in theory, us). And that's the rub: to take land out of a Class A park requires legislation. Probably few people here trust the Government, as distinct from the public service, to do the right thing. So, the past history of Strathcona and Garibaldi suggests the same sort of thing will happen here.

Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 13, 2012 - 10:45pm PT
Are there not management plans for Class A Parks?

Without an effective management plan, every proposal like this gondola will require tons of citizen input, meetings, questioning of process, and be a total hassle for all but project proponents.

Why have a Class A Park?

What would the crew posting here do if there was an option for long-range planning?

Just south of the 49th, many of the options for non-officially planned trails for mountain biking are greatly reduced by concerns by government concerns over salmon habitat and water quality. (Added) Similar concerns over salmon and water quality are looked at in almost all proposals, thus management and development plans seem to help.

Good luck but look forward.

hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 14, 2012 - 09:52am PT
B.K., where are you? My morning coffee isn't as tasty without reading your latest finely scripted.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 14, 2012 - 09:55am PT
That was fast.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 14, 2012 - 10:15am PT
Seymour and Capillano Watersheds. No, haven't seen any photos; where should I look?
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 14, 2012 - 11:09am PT
Hmmmm., Extra Foods?

Seriously drifting here, some flack should be arriving shortly.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 14, 2012 - 11:11am PT
now where would you look for eggs..... in squamish?

Under the chickens?
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 14, 2012 - 11:29am PT
Too old and worn out to solve these riddles. Not too old to ride a mountain bike with 29 inch wheels though. You have to try it.... it's incredable! Very similar to graduating from E.B.s to Fires.

Continental drift here, sorry.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Apr 14, 2012 - 11:45am PT
Hamish- hint, the thread you've been neglecting for this one ;)
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 14, 2012 - 11:52am PT
I finally found your pictures. Nice tree (log). Where was that? Emerald Estates? That's the reason I'm old and worn out... climbing trees like that with chainsaws like that one.

That ice climbing looks terrifying! So glad I was too scared to take up that game. You guys are nuts.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 14, 2012 - 12:20pm PT
That was my introduction to the sport. Way too scary for me!
Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Apr 14, 2012 - 01:41pm PT
Are the, ITALIANS, financing the Gondola Project???
































































photo not found
Missing photo ID#244501
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Apr 14, 2012 - 03:01pm PT
Seems like you are figuring out photoshop with your other hand cosmic :)
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 14, 2012 - 05:40pm PT
I generally trust BC Parks, but it has limited resources, and the provincial government has proven all too ready to remove land from parks. The large deletions from Garibaldi and Strathcona Parks, and permitting heli-skiing in Garibaldi, speak for themselves. The decision a few years ago to not allow a transmission line through Pinecone-Burke Park was anomalous if not unique.

Government is always something of a black box in these situations, in terms of who told who to do what. Still, I remember the effort needed to get the Chief made a park. It took several years, reports on values and issues, innumerable meetings of a public planning team involving all stakeholders, and public meetings run by BC Parks. Likewise with the master plan. The current process seems to have been designed to (barely) meet the requirements of the Park Act and policy and the master plan. However, it's badly flawed, in that:

 It's nothing like as thorough as the process required to create the Park in the first place;

 It doesn't seem to have considered key questions, such as whether land should be taken out of the Park at all, let alone in the present circumstances, or whether governments should in effect facilitate the circumvention of a conservation covenant;

 It doesn't provide BC Parks with the resources to properly review the proposal (self-marked exams don't really count), in context of the master plan, and Parks' goals for the region;

 It addresses the various issues piecemeal, without a larger perspective; and

 It doesn't provide for inclusive public meetings, where BC Parks can present information on the proposal to all interested parties and obtain their feedback, in person or via internet.

The many private meetings in Squamish that the developer has had may not be infomercials or sales pitches, as some describe them, but neither are they independent or inclusive. The removal of land from Garibaldi Park in 1990/91, and adoption of a new master plan, involved numerous public meetings held by BC Parks.

It appars that the government created a 'minimal' process for examining the current proposal, and told BC Parks what to do. BC Parks has neither the resources nor capacity to do otherwise. If the discussion is kept small picture, the proposal is an easier sell. The "only a little bit pregnant" routine - only removing a narrow strip of land from the Park, only cutting down a few trees, only having minor effects on natural environment, only having minor (and negotiable) effects on the human environment, etc. Promises v performance isn't much to go on.

Ultimately, I suspect that if the proposal is approved, it will fail. The proponents - or whoever's behind them - will get the permits, build it, and sell it within a year or two, before the glow wears off. The market simply doesn't seem to be there, and apart from access to Shannon Falls/Highway 99 traffic, the location is marginal. Tourists wanting this sort of experience can get it at Grouse, with many more attractions, or at Whistler. Most tourists visiting Squamish are en route to Whistler, and why would they stop for a second-rate gondola when they can do the peak-peak one at Whistler? The result being that the public is left with a mess.
bmacd

Trad climber
100% Canadian
Apr 14, 2012 - 06:47pm PT
The noise from the thing is really going to be a buzz kill for the campground, trailhead and bullethead climbing routes. Shift the whole sh#t show down to or past Shannon falls. The present location reveals that this is a scam being promoted by fools.
Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Apr 14, 2012 - 06:53pm PT
"The noise from the thing is really going to be a buzz kill for the campground"








Yeah, ALL that Italian singing would drive me Crazy also!
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 14, 2012 - 07:06pm PT
O.K., back on topic. M.H., I know you got the degrees and I didn't, but what makes you so sure about everything in your last paragraph? Maybe it will work? Also, I don't think you'll hear the thing from the bulletheads campground. It's electric, not diesel.


Squamish, B.C., Recreation Capital of Canada. Feel free to stand on the side of hwy. 99 and look up at it all.
Stewart

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Apr 14, 2012 - 07:36pm PT
Three things:

1) Yes, I am opposed to commercial development of Class "A" parks.

2) Since the taxpayers are too spineless to support whistle blower legislation, senior (or for that matter, any level) government employees are understandably reluctant to destroy their careers by going toe-to-toe with the politicians over these issues.

3) This gondola (if approved) is either going to be either a success or a failure. If it fails, there is going to be a godawful mess up there. Should it succeed, it will do NOTHING to reduce congestion on the backside trail nor shall it reduce congestion on Highway 99 - not to mention a galaxy of other problems I outlined in earlier posts.

P. S.: I guess compromise only goes one way - I guess that's why nobody replied to my suggestion that this project gets moved to Britannia or somewhere else.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 14, 2012 - 07:57pm PT
I wasn't implying the gondola itself would ease the backside trail traffic. I'm referring to the "new" trail which would likely appear if there's a lift down. No lift, no new trail.

Like B.K. outlined last week, if it fails, someone will buy the whole lift and fly it out of there. You'll be left with a bunch of 3 x 3 concrete footings on the rocky outcrops. The easement will grow back in and we can all buy Anders beer. Not that bad.
Tricouni

Mountain climber
Vancouver
Apr 14, 2012 - 08:00pm PT
Stewart, I like the Britannia idea and wouldn't oppose a gondola there. My guess,and that's all it is, though, is that the land-ownership questions at B. are thorny and complex, so it's easier for the developers to just go to the government and get land out of the park.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 14, 2012 - 08:15pm PT
It seems likely that the developers did not more than briefly look at alternative locations. The gravel pit was the proposed site in 2004, and a site proposed in the 2009 Squamish Oceanfront Corp. study. Whatever happened with TLC and the developer, once they figured out a way around the intent of the conservation covenant, why would they look elsewhere?
bmacd

Trad climber
100% Canadian
Apr 14, 2012 - 08:27pm PT
The cables and cars clatter like hell at towers Einstein diesel or electric makes no difference
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 14, 2012 - 09:23pm PT
Have you seen where the first tower would go? It's way, way up there. You'll never hear a peep from that tower from the bulletheads. I imagine a brand new gondola base would be somewhat enclosed. Probably would've been louder in those years that Kiewet leased the yard. I don't remember hearing any moaning about that.

And the name's not Einstein, by the way, I'm just here to make sure people play fair. Although I'm sure half the continent thinks the tram will land on the summit of the Chief.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 14, 2012 - 09:57pm PT
More details. Although I'm skeptical that the provincial government would find the money to remove and clean the thing up if it goes broke - look what happened at Brohm Ridge.

Land Trust Alliance of British Columbia (LTABC) represents 32 land trust members across the province. (http://ltabc.ca/); BC land trusts, with the help of generous donors and willing land owners [and governments], have now protected well over one million acres of significant land.

The full list, and map, is at http://registry.ltabc.ca/ One of the LTA's members is TLC. Considering the importance of effective conservation covenants and reliable government partners to land trusts, they must be watching this situation closely. See http://ltabc.ca/2011-11-10-09-15-27/ltabc-publications?start=8, and click on "covenants", for more.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 14, 2012 - 11:16pm PT
Now, Bruce. You're supposed to say "I suspect that it appears that...", followed by some claim or other. And you know that I don't smoke anything - although it is Saturday night.

With regard to discussions with and promises made by the developers, no one can say anything more than "It appears that they can/can't be trusted, will/won't do A, B, C, are/aren't reasonable, etc...." Plans, drawings and promises shouldn't be taken as more than that, and even in contractual form can be hard to enforce.

Perhaps I'm simply less trusting of government and developers. I don't take anything that they say at face value.

We'll probably never know the inner workings of government or the developers. However, the fact that the 'process' is so different from past BC Parks' processes in similar situations speaks for itself. It doesn't appear different - it is different.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 14, 2012 - 11:26pm PT
Anders, that's not an answer to Bruce's simple questions. Which were, in case you have forgotten:

Have you talked directly to BC Parks about your concerns? What did they tell you?

Have you talked directly to SLRD about your concerns? what did they tell you?

Have you talked directly to the Squamish Nation about your concerns? What did they tell you?

Have you talked directly to The Developers about your concerns? What did....


Edit to add: I haven't talked to anyone, and I'm not sure if Hamish has. But then again, I don't think either of us have tried to create guilt by innuendo the way you have.

I sure don't have any answers, and given that I'm now living 200 km away, I'm not likely to get any. But if you look back through the posts in this thread you'll find that there is one person who actually has taken the trouble to ask questions of the people involved, and that's Bruce.

I know you don't want a gondola there, and that's fair enough. You're as entitled to your opinion as anyone else. But until you do the work of asking questions and analyzing the answers, it's just that -- your opinion. Carries the same weight as anyone else's opinion.

And no one here has ever said you shouldn't have that opinion. The thing that rubs me a bit the wrong way, and clearly rubs Bruce the wrong way, is your underlying implication that you have a secret direct line to some kind of cosmic databank of undeniable perfect knowledge, and therefore you know that these developers haven't done this or have done that, or will do or not do some other thing. That the project will fail. That the government bodies involved have sold out their honor.

You may well be right. God knows there are plenty of corrupt bureaucrats and sleazy developers. But until you present some evidence other than your opinion, you're just blowing smoke.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 14, 2012 - 11:32pm PT
Anders is being coercive only so far as a gift horse needs to be looked in the mouth. He has openly stated he doesn't like the gondola idea. His focus on process is good because open review shouldn't be feared.

Something that BmacD touched on is the actual physical nature of this project if it is approved and goes forward. Saying no one complained that Kewit Construction used the gravel pit during the highway rebuild misses the point that the whole corridor was in constant noise and rebuild. It was so intensive, everyone missed the dude in the middle of it all, logging the Malemute !

All uses of the park are valuable. That we who post here have a proper roof over our heads these days, shouldn't dismiss the value and fun of camping in what is seen as a new climbing area for others.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 15, 2012 - 12:01am PT
I'm not sure what non-existent religious entities have to do with it.

Has either of you taken all the various actions that Bruce lists? If you haven't, perhaps I should criticize you for not having done so.

Didn't we give this rabbit a good run about 200 posts back? You're entitled to your views, I'm entitled to mine. We disagree. I believe it's a matter of both principle and process, you don't. You believe - excuse me, appear to believe - that it's a matter of meeting, negotiation, and compromise, and I don't agree. We could probably all know more about the proposal, parties and process.

The issue is a matter of public policy and legislative change, and it is quite legitimate for a citizen to oppose such a proposal on principle, whatever its details and implementation, and whatever he/she may know about it. FWIW, most matters of public policy, including elections, get decided imperfectly. That's democracy. It's ultimately going to be a political decision, and hopefully the government will do the right thing.
gf

climber
Apr 15, 2012 - 12:02am PT
I will note that although I'm pretty clear that I don't agree with the principle of removing land from Class A parks, the points about the noise from the gondola being intrusive will only be an issue if hiway 99 is closed. Red Herring.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 15, 2012 - 12:42am PT
Well I was going to mention the hwy but I figured it was too obvious. I'm sure they'll sleep just fine.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 15, 2012 - 12:45am PT
I didn't go on long enough. Yes, there are big problems about cutting a line through the middle of a combined park. That isn't the last word right now. We've all had some jolly outcomes at the hands of various ministers.

If this goes ahead I'd rather see all things that make the place great considered to their highest value regardless of the highway.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 15, 2012 - 01:21am PT
One of the things which would make the place great is an electric gondola to get you up to the sub alpine so you wouldn't have to talk your redneck buddy into 4wheeling you up there in his gas guzzling monster truck.

Trying to maintain at least a bit of humour here. Remember, we're Canadian and known for our manners.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 15, 2012 - 01:47am PT
Based on documents on file with the Land Title Office and the Corporate Registry, as of early April:

1. The gravel pit (the "Lands") has parcel identifier 008-964-777.

2. On February 7th, 2012, 0930756 B.C. Ltd., or #43 - 40137 Government Road, Squamish, B.C. V9B 0N7 became registered owner of the Lands. TLC The Land Conservancy of British Columbia was the former owner.

3. The Lands are subject to conservation covenant CA2382718 (six pages) in favour of TLC. The material wording of the covenant says:

"1. a) that no infrastructure will be built on the Lands that would provide for an aerial tramway;

i) up the rock face known as the "Chief" in the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park; or
ii) having an end point within the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park or Shannon Falls Provincial Park."

There is an interesting question as to the interpretation and enforcement of this.

4. The Lands are also subject to restrictive covenant CA2407771 (21 pages) in favour of the District of Squamish. In summary, that covenant says that:

 There is an attached geotechnical hazard assessment from an engineering firm, addressed to GroundEffects Developments Inc.
 The District won't supply water, sewage, or storm water disposal.
 The Land can't be subdivided, or developed in a way not consistent with the geotechnical report.
 A gondola must be the principal use.
 The maximum retail/food/beverage operation on the Lands is 416 sq m (= about 4,500 sq ft). The total operation can't be much more than twice that.
 0930756 must instal water, sewage and storm water at its own expense.
 No building can occur until 0930756 has met a number of conditions, including obtaining all required approvals; providing an acceptable design, water supply and sewage disposal, fire suppression, traffic flow, storm water, trails, a lighting plan, a servicing agreement, and a "locals" ticket discount.

0930756 has three, possibly five, years to complete construction, and if it doesn't, the District can step in and finish the project using a security deposit.

5. There is a new mortgage on the Lands, CA2408174, in favour of Fivestone Capital Corp., incorporation number BC0902677.

6. 0930756 B.C. Ltd. was incorporated on January 23rd, 2012. Its address is a law firm in Squamish. Its directors, and their stated towns of residence, are Trevor Dunn (North Vancouver), David Greenfield (Whistler) and Michael Hutchison (Squamish).

It appears that 0930756 B.C. Ltd. may be the same as GroundEffects Development Inc.

7. Sea to Sky Gondola Corp. (also 0920870) was incorporated on September 21st, 2011. Its address is the same law office in Squamish, and its sole director is Michael Hutchison.

8. Fivestone Capital Corp. (also 0902677) was incorporated on February 10th, 2011. Its address is the same law office in Squamish, and its sole director is Michael Hutchison.

That is what was on the public record regarding these things as of about ten days ago, and is enough for tonight.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 15, 2012 - 08:42am PT
I suspect it seems to appear Anders has done some homework.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 15, 2012 - 10:08am PT
It's a development application not a court trial.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 15, 2012 - 11:27am PT
I find it interesting that the gravel pit, which Anders is so convinced should never have anything to do with a gondola, has TWO covenants attached to it which pave the way for a gondola. One from TLC and one from the District of Squamish. Strange, but true.
The TLC is fine with it, the District of Squamish is fine with it, B.C. Parks looks to be fine with it. Hmmmmmm.

I suspect it seems to appear that, in a roundabout way, there could perhaps be the possibility that Anders has met his match.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 15, 2012 - 11:35am PT
Yeah, that's a good one. Kind of like say "NEVER"! but never say never.
Hoser

climber
vancouver
Apr 15, 2012 - 11:48am PT
One of the things which would make the place great is an electric gondola to get you up to the sub alpine so you wouldn't have to talk your redneck buddy into 4wheeling you up there in his gas guzzling monster truck.

its currently a twenty minute drive in a 2wd car to the same place you can get to with a gondola...except it doesnt cost 60$ for a pair and if your running late you still get to come home. Besides the gondola opens at 9am its useless for climbers.

But I get the arguments, there is a highway, there is a casino, neon signs and there are loads of grouse grinders looking for some alpine lattes...so why not just continue to sh#t on the place and put in a gondola.

Cant wait for these magical trails they build, only 30$ a day to use them..yay!

The TLC is fine with it,

IF you actually go to their site you will see that they clearly do not support any part of it
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 15, 2012 - 11:56am PT
I don't believe those covenants state anything related to "never". The two covenants dictate the only development allowed in the gravel pit is a gondola which has its terminus outside the park. It's actually pretty simple. Kind of like the powers that be have been on this for years. Call me crazy.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 15, 2012 - 12:02pm PT
Just more policy and politics. Nothing is out of the reach of review if it becomes a big enough issue. Even our Constitutional rights can be taken away by the "Not withstanding" clause.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 15, 2012 - 12:07pm PT
O.K., Hoser. Perhaps they claim to be against the idea. Maybe you could explain to us why they (TLC) put a covenant on that land which paves the way for a gondola, as long as it doesn't run up the Chief or terminate in the Park. One would think that if they (TLC) were so "against" a gondola, their covenant would have stated something much more complicated like, "this parcel shall not be used in any way for a gondola". Oh yah, that would've been tough. You can keep calling me crazy, it just seems like it's all there in black and white, neatly delivered to us by the M.H..
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 15, 2012 - 12:23pm PT
The TLC covenant states the exact opposite of your reading of it.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 15, 2012 - 12:26pm PT
Jim, put your glasses on Buddy. Don't just read the one line only; the next two lines are the important part.
Tricouni

Mountain climber
Vancouver
Apr 15, 2012 - 12:31pm PT
The Land Conservancy is not happy about a gondola. See their statement at [url="http://blog.conservancy.bc.ca/2012/04/public-statement-regarding-squamish-gondola-proposal/http://"]http://blog.conservancy.bc.ca/2012/04/public-statement-regarding-squamish-gondola-proposal/http://[/url]

It’s pretty clear that the covenant was poorly drafted in that it didn't exclude a gondola that passed OVER the park. They should probably find some new and better lawyers for the next time they need a covenant.
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 15, 2012 - 12:40pm PT
It's always a good idea to proof read the documents you pay lawyers to type up.
Just because they charge $497.00 an hour doesn't mean they're good at their job.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 15, 2012 - 12:41pm PT
Ouch !

OK, then do the proposed cable towers constitute gondola infrastructure within the park from the gravel pit ?
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 15, 2012 - 12:45pm PT
Sorry Pal, didn't mean that as an Ouch. Glad you found your glasses. The covenants are attached to the fee simple chunk of land, not the B.C. Park.
Infrastructure, yes....terminus, not so much.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 15, 2012 - 12:52pm PT
I was ouching myself for not catching what Tricouni pointed out.

The party is about to begin !
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 15, 2012 - 01:15pm PT
Funny thing about these super-topo-time-eraser conversations is how the topics keep repeating themselves. We covered this tricky-wording covenant stuff a few weeks ago, in Ander's initial post.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Apr 15, 2012 - 01:22pm PT
It's interesting how many different perceptions there are on the same documents that Mighty Hiker put together. It definitely does not seem to contradict his position on the gondola in any way & i do not fully comprehend how it paves the way for a gondola or is pro-gondola. I do agree though that whoever wrote the covenants needs a good cuff upside the cheek.

What do i find interesting is that it appears that ground effects.co or squamish gondola co. or whatever the hell they will be called next week appears to have a massive amount of planning & work ahead of them if they plan on building this thing by following the proper, legal processes outlined in the covenants. To have all this done in time to start constructing this fall seems next to impossible, an astronomical amount of work & $$, unless of course there is some sort of grey zone that allows them to bypass or sneak by some of these processes.

The District won't supply water, sewage, or storm water disposal.

0930756 must instal water, sewage and storm water at its own expense.

This will be quite a task on it's own & i'm sure that environmental assessments will be required among many other approvals, especially if they have to take water & process waste on site.
Maybe they will just have porta potties?


A gondola must be the principal use.

Not biking, skiing, or even hiking. Only the great sport of gondola riding will be the principal use. This pretty much answers the question of the developers building some sort of cool grouse grind type trail or bike park for everyone that seems to be assumed by many, after all why would they? The busiest park & trail system in BC is already in place on their doorstep as far as they are probably concerned.

No building can occur until 0930756 has met a number of conditions, including obtaining all required approvals; providing an acceptable design, water supply and sewage disposal, fire suppression, traffic flow, storm water, trails, a lighting plan, a servicing agreement, and a "locals" ticket discount.

Who will approve these plans? Again seems like a lot of work, $$, review, & approval will be required.

0930756 has three, possibly five, years to complete construction, and if it doesn't, the District can step in and finish the project using a security deposit.

This is the one that kind of scares me, and please, correct me if i'm wrong but does this statement basically say that if these guys bog down & can't or choose not to finish completion of the gondola that the district will finish it using a security deposit provided by the developer? Well who, what or how do they decide the amount of this deposit & what guarantee do we have that it will be enough to complete the project? If it's not enough who gets to foot the bill? It seems to be a fine exit strategy for the proponents should things go pear shaped. I would really like to see what the estimated cost of construction for this entire project is estimated at.

Bruce, i appreciate your "devil's advocate" position on this as well of that of others, it is good to see what others think & you bring some very good logic to the table, i really do appreciate the opinion of those who have been in Squamish for many years as it really puts some perspective on things. My opinion, which is just that, filled with assumptions & speculations of my own & essentially means nothing -is that if these guys are forced to do things by the book, as they should, that there is no way that this thing should be approved or even constructed. If it is i am very pessimistic towards the feasibility of it being a successful business venture. I do not agree with the whole park land removal thing, location, or the eyesore/overuse factor, but again the main concern should be if it is realistic & feasible for a corporate venture such as this to be built anywhere around here, the rest is as Ander's would say, just details & distractions. That is the big picture we should be focused on.




BTW there is no way that Anders case could be thrown out of the Grizzly or the OP as they are both out of business & shut down. If watering holes are having a hard time surviving in a climbing/logging town how is a gondy going to make it???!
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 15, 2012 - 01:24pm PT
O.K., Ryan. The covenants pave the way in the following manner: #1- The gravel pit can house a gondola so long as it terminates outside the park. #2- The only permitted use for the gravel pit is for a gondola.
Hope this lets you fully comprehend the pro-gondola slant contained in the covenants.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 15, 2012 - 02:38pm PT
Thanks for the covenant clarification. I can see how this encourages the hope of a lisence to go through the park.

As discussed above, it will come down to whether BC Parks has the strength to follow it's own rules. The same rules that always end with "at the discretion of the Minister".
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 15, 2012 - 07:35pm PT
There's nothing quite like a daily serving of Special Kay !

HAHAHA !
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 15, 2012 - 08:53pm PT
Agreed. If I miss mine in the morning, I get grumpy.
Stewart

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Apr 15, 2012 - 10:16pm PT
Bruce - it is long past time that you offer Anders an apology. You're not the only one who has strong feelings about this business but, with the exception of you, no one else has directly insulted or sworn at anyone.

Some of the postings in support of this proposal imply that the government can be trusted to act in the best interests of the people. Perhaps in your dreams. The HST lie that our new bemedalled Consul-General in London (the latter award courtesy of fat Stevie Harper) told us is projected to cost B.C. taxpayers $1,000,000,000 (like all those zeroes?) the last time I noticed. No, we can't trust them until we as voters of all beliefs demand integrity as a prerequisite for election to public office.

As for the senior bureaucrats in the Parks Branch, since I don't know them personally, I can't speculate upon their motives. What I can tell you from over 15 years of employment with the B.C. government is that it is ludicrous to expect career bureaucrats, especially at the executive level, to risk their futures by confronting politicians over political decisions - especially in the absence of whistle-blower legislation.

Perhaps even I would feel differently about this proposal IF it was the first and only time that the boundaries of Class "A" parks were adjusted to suit the purposes of developers, AND that iron-clad guarantees were implemented to prevent similar recurrences in the future. We all know that this not going to happen until the electorate starts to demand a sense of honour from our politicians.

There is something in the world of labour relations that refers to a culminating incident as a fair reason for firing someone - essentially, it means that if an employee violates his terms of employment, he is given a warning to knock it off. Depending upon the severity of the transgression, an escalating series of sanctions are imposed until a relatively trivial incident results in termination. To me, this gondola proposal is a culminating incident. It upsets me big time to see friends of mine getting arrested for trying to hold the government to its word.

This is a large part of my resistance to this proposal. Class "A" parks are supposed to be preserved in their current state for future generations,
and if the politicians actually have the competence to foresee the kind of land use conflicts that may arise from this designation, then it is their responsibility to designate some other park status. This would preclude the kind of dust-up that we're having at the moment, and us opponents could gripe all we wanted, but we would be pretty well out of luck.

There is a book written by Sid Marty called "Men for the Mountains". It's a great read, and it also addresses many of the issues we are discussing - I particularly recommend it to the supporters of this project.

Tami

Social climber
Canada
Apr 15, 2012 - 10:34pm PT
Bruce - it is long past time that you offer Anders an apology. You're not the only one who has strong feelings about this business but, with the exception of you, no one else has directly insulted or sworn at anyone.

Cute remarks about Special Kay aside, Stewart, "the Woz" , is rite.

Why should this conversation degenerate to the level of so many other threads on this forum? Keep it civil people.
bmacd

Trad climber
100% Canadian
Apr 15, 2012 - 11:19pm PT
Good sleuthing Anders but certainly there are odd inconsistencies in the covenant. What did the land sell for. We need to know if there was some sort of nefarious pricing.

We also need to know the proposed hours of operation and if the developers intend to restrict gondola users from accessing the backcountry up top because of liability reasons. That would be the deal breaker of the century.

Organise a list of questions regarding key constraints which will put backcountry users in a worse position than we are in now.

Attend the meeting on the 19th and demand from all stakeholders that this is not to be an access cockup like these goddam IPP's.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 15, 2012 - 11:23pm PT
Cute remarks about Special Kay aside, Stewart, "the Woz" , is rite.

Nope, he's wrong. Anders needed his ass kicked. Several of us had been trying to do it in a gentle, friendly fashion, and it hadn't worked.

But I think Bruce's boil-over got the message through.

In his post, Stewart said,

Some of the postings in support of this proposal imply

As far as I can tell, no one here is posting in support of the proposal. A few people have said they can see some positives in it, but no one has come out and said they are fully in support.

What Bruce was upset about, was that Anders was repeatedly implying that there was something crooked going on, but refusing to provide any evidence. Neither Bruce, nor Hamish, nor I, nor anyone else that I've seen posting here ever disagreed with the idea that their might be something crooked, or bad, or evil going on. But before we sign on with the "Evil Developers Will Destroy The Park" club, we'd like to see some evidence.

That was why Bruce got pissed. And if an apology is in order, it should be coming from Anders, not Bruce.

Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 16, 2012 - 12:11am PT
Has Anders upset some long held tradition of neutrality? Sitting on the fence seems kind of lame.

Are you for this deal or against it? Study time is up...
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 16, 2012 - 12:12am PT
The word "compromise" just doesn't seem to be in some people's vocabulary.

Early on here someone was yarning on about how the Park is strictly for the enjoyment of all Canadians and tourists alike. Well that's exactly what will be in each gondola capsule... people. The tram won't be carrying livestock, oil, or fuel rods. Just people. The same people slated to enjoy the Park. What, exactly, is so terrible about that?
The more time passes, the more I'm convinced some people would like the Park changed from Park (for people to enjoy) to Preserve.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 16, 2012 - 12:28am PT
A compromise requires two distinct sides...

... fence sitting doesn't further compromise, though cheerleaders can motivate the players.
bmacd

Trad climber
100% Canadian
Apr 16, 2012 - 01:08am PT
DING DONG PEOPLE :

My question is will it only serve the tourons and f*#k the backcountry users over for access in the process .
bmacd

Trad climber
100% Canadian
Apr 16, 2012 - 01:14am PT
No but I am overdone on the chossy limestone here today. Got a senior citizens discount pass with young Riley from superpower topos. He is a good guy. Solid climber too

Edit 2.0: All limestone is garbage!
hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 16, 2012 - 01:20am PT
Ya, that's it, that's what those evil developers' whole plan is.... to screw over the backcountry users. I can't believe I missed that all this time.
Jesus Crisis, you've got to stick to the limestone Buddy.
bmacd

Trad climber
100% Canadian
Apr 16, 2012 - 01:30am PT
Hamish I am in favour of gondolas giving backcountry users access to the alpine and there is a risk that may not happen unless those terms and conditions are expressly written into the deal with no constraints due to liability concerns.

bearbreeder

climber
Apr 16, 2012 - 02:40am PT
if climbers were smart they would negotiate a special price and access guarantees for members of the various alpine and access clubs ...

but then were all moaning about the desecration of pristine wilderness instead, and because of it will get left out when this thing goes forward ...

dont forget the sbucks ... and flush toilets ;)
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 16, 2012 - 05:09am PT
I'm the one who was "yarning" on about the park being for all Canadians and foreign visitors. Nothing has changed that that is what I believe.

Is accepting what a private development concern offers at face value in your best interests ? Anders asks some hard questions. So what. If this thing is worth it's salt, the developers should be able to take it and answer what are some legitimate concerns.

Chief's point about the present era of private profit and public risk is written out in the district's covenant obligation to finish the project if the developer can't in 5 years. That's a nice guarantee.

hamish f

Social climber
squamish
Apr 16, 2012 - 09:45am PT
2:09 in the a.m.? Holy Mac, Jim, that's gotta make monday morning feel rough. You're right, Anders has asked some good questions and that's great. It just seems that he also often answers them as well. And his answers are pretty negative. I realize he's captaining the NIMPP (not in my park please) ship but he's a good lawyer and a good writer and sometimes it's difficult to tell the fact from the fiction.

It's too bad they didn't have super-topo-time-eraser back in the mid-sixties when the Garibaldi Lift company got rolling with the creekside Gondola. I'm betting there were some die hard skiers who strongly opposed everything to do with that. Now look at the scene up there; when it snowed six feet in the last week of March I don't recall seeing too many unhappy people. And they're all breathing fresh air and getting their heartrate up.
Not my scene as I'd rather be ripping through the forest on my 29" mtn bike, but I've seen the smiles and they're genuine. And they come from all over the world.

Why are some people so unwilling to share?
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 16, 2012 - 10:29am PT
There are some real negatives. That some harsh words about the use of innuendo instead of facts in the argument against the gondola were spoken doesn't mean there are no facts.

F'rinstance: That the government will be required to complete the proj if the developer fails/bails shouldn't be looked at as a free pass. If the govt steps in, who do you think will be footing the bill? Is the business plan available for public view? If it is, it should be examined carefully. If it isn't, then pressure needs to be applied to bring it in to the open.

Another potential negative is the waste management/pollution issue. In order to ensure that enough people ride the thing to make it pay, there's going to have to be something at the top other than a nice view. Building a restaurant and a theater for dancing bears or whatever creates potential for significant environmental damage. Without some kind of enforceable guarantee that this will not happen, the permit should be withheld.

The slippery-slope issue of future Park development applications being easier because this one was allowed needs a look as well. I still believe that it is worth considering a requirement that any land removed from a park be compensated with an equal or greater amount of land added.

I'm sure there are other potential negatives, and I hope this thread has finally evolved to the point where they can be considered seriously. "It seems to me that developers appear to be evil and perhaps may..." is not a valid argument. And dismissing arguments in favor of the project by simply saying "That's irrelevant because Park Land Is Sacred" is both unhelpful and insulting.

So let the real debate begin...



hamish f

Social climber
squamish