Petition seeks public meeting on Sea to Sky Gondola proposal for Stawamus Chief Provincial Park
The Squamish resident told the Straight that she’s upset B.C. Parks has relied on the project’s proponent, Sea to Sky Gondola Corporation, to gather feedback from stakeholders. According to her, the company’s information sessions—which she calls “promotional meetings or infomercials”—don’t qualify as suitable public consultation.
“To me, it’s not consultation,” Negreiff said by phone from Cranbrook. “It’s like going out for dinner and the waiter coming and saying, ‘Do you want red or white wine?’ Maybe they should ask if you want wine at all, and that was never a question. It was never, ‘Do you think we should put a gondola through Stawamus Chief park?’ It was, ‘So we’re putting a gondola up—no question about that. Do you want a red gondola or a blue gondola?’”
Negreiff is an organizer with Friends of the Squamish Chief, an ad hoc group opposed to the gondola proposal. On April 29, FOSC started an online petition urging B.C. Parks to hold a public meeting on Sea to Sky’s application to remove 2.36 hectares of land from the Class A park. As of 4:30 p.m. today (May 2), the petition had been signed by 68 people.
“We the undersigned believe the gondola proposed by Sea to Sky Gondola Corp. does not serve the public interest and will negatively impact Stawamus Chief Provincial Park,” the petition states.
“We call on the government of British Columbia to host an impartial and inclusive public hearing to better understand the potential negative impacts of this project and gather comments from all British Columbians who should have a say in how our provincial parks are managed.”
Sea to Sky’s proposed gondola would travel through the provincial park from a base on private land, between the Stawamus Chief and Shannon Falls, to a top terminal on Crown land on the ridge northwest of Mount Habrich.
The company applied in December to change the boundaries of the 526-hectare park. Sea to Sky plans to build seven of 15 towers and cut 364 to 597 cubic metres of timber in the 20-metre-wide, 1.18-kilometre-long gondola corridor. The strip would be redesignated as a protected area under the Environment and Land Use Act and remain under the jurisdiction of B.C. Parks.
Environment Minister Terry Lake has declined to speak to the Straight about the application. Sea to Sky is hoping the provincial government and legislative assembly will okay the park-boundary change by the end of the spring legislative session on May 31, so construction can begin in September.
“This is actually a global asset that’s being threatened,” Negreiff said. “It’s not just a Squamish asset. So I think the province should consider the impact this has provincially and really step up to the plate and host a hearing before they do anything, before they pass any bills.”