Why isn’t BC Parks offering a public hearing?

BC Parks own Protected Area Boundary Adjustment Policy states public hearings are a guiding principal for protected area boundary changes so why are they not offering a public hearing for the proposed removal of land from Stawamus Chief Park for the Sea to Sky Gondola Corporation?

Even the developer’s website states:

“There will be many formal opportunities for the public to have meaningful input during the District of Squamish rezoning process for the base terminal site, the BC Parks Assessment for the required rights of way and the SLRD land use process for the top terminal.”

Speak up for our Park!

Write Premier Clark and Environment Minister Terry Lake and demand a hearing. Premier Christy Clark   premier@gov.bc.ca

Hon.Terry Lake  env.minister@gov.bc.ca

You can check out the Protected Area Boundary Adjustment Policy here and the current Management Plan for Stawamus Chief Park here.


Stawamus Chief, home of the Epic and a thousand stories…

The Stawamus Chief, Squamish BC

The Chief means many things to many people – there is a rich First Nations significance stretching back centuries and a thousand hiker tales to be told on the trails to its three peaks. If you’re a climber, well, it’ s place in the climbing landscape is legendary. Who hasn’t had an epic on the Chief with a rope that got snagged, gear that got dropped, or  that favourite classic “my headlamp died”?

I know I’m not alone in my affection for this graniIte monolith that anchors our town and stands guard over the Howe Sound. We want to know what the Chief means to you. What’s your story? Please send us your favourite Stawamus Chief tale and we will post it under our coming soon ” Your Stories” page. Or write us a note on facebook. And if you, like us, are worried about the new proposed gondola development that will split our Park in two, write a letter to one of our decision makers who in coming months might give the ok to change our Park forever.

Why we’re worried…

FOSC created this website in response to what we see as a new threat to our Park, the proposal from Sea to Sky Gondola Corp. to annex land from our Park for commercial use. Our goal is to provide a venue for dialogue and ensure concerns about impacts to our park as a result of this development are heard and addressed before/if the project moves forward. Our concerns:

a) Land should not be removed from Class A provincial parks, except in very limited circumstances. Provincial parks, particularly those in the Sea to Sky region, have enough challenges already. What’s the point of creating parks, if they’re not protected?

b) Land should not be removed from these parks for the development in question. It would be contrary to the values and master plans of the parks, and to the public interest, and they’re already heavily used and highly visible. An additional, high-impact development doesn’t fit.

c) If there is to be consideration of removing land from Class A parks, it should only be after thorough public review of the proposal by BC Parks, in context of the master plans for the parks, and their history and values. There should then be independent public meetings where balanced information about the proposal is presented and public opinion sought and currently no plans are in place for public input regarding the environmental assessment or the removal of park lands.

d)The Land Conservancy of B.C. bought the proposed gondola base property in 2004 to prevent it ever being used for a gondola, or any other high-impact development. They placed a binding conservation covenant against the legal title to the land before selling it recently. We understand that the covenant prohibits the construction of any kind of gondola from the property that goes through or ends in Stawamus Chief or Shannon Falls Provincial Parks. The eventual buyer, Sea to Sky Gondola Corp., wants to build a gondola that would end just outside the parks, and get government and public consent to their removing a 20 metre strip of land from the parks, so that the gondola isn’t “in” the parks.  Provincial government should enforce the spirit as well as the letter of the conservation covenant, given the importance of such covenants to the people of BC. Ignoring this original covenant is a dangerous precedent for protection of land through the use of covenants in BC.

There are subsidiary matters such as the exact gondola route, its visual, noise, and other impacts, its suggested benefits, the developer’s promises and holding it to them, and so on. We welcome you to weigh in. However we believe that a gondola shouldn’t be built through our park at all, and if considered, the process for doing so needs to be much more inclusive and impartial.