The discord between the owners of Drumkeeran House on Ivey Lake, near Pemberton, and nearby residents flared up as two of the retreat's neighbours made a presentation to the Squamish Lillooet Regional District on Monday, Feb. 27.
Bruce Bareham and Carol MacLaine spoke of their frustration over noise from two events at the retreat in January, which came after promises of more accountability from the owners of the facility, Vancouver lawyers David Lunny and Maureen Baird.
Last August, 23 neighbours signed a petition alleging problems at events over the summer of 2011 with up to 150 people, late-night music, and intoxicated troublemakers.
Drumkeeran House is advertised on its website as "a five star country retreat, in the manner of a Scottish hunting or Irish fishing lodge" and "the perfect venue for weddings, family reunions, special events and smaller corporate gatherings."
The property underwent the SLRD zoning process in 2002, with Lunny applying to build a temporary tourist accommodation for up to eight guests on a nightly basis. Currently, the property has permission for 12 guests to overnight in six bedrooms, according to the website.
Problems occur when these 12 guests invite day guests of their own, say residents.
"If it was a hotel at least there would be someone there to tell you 'No, you can't pump your fist in the middle of the night and scream your lungs out!' but that happens," Bareham told SLRD directors. "I'm disgusted with it and I won't put up with it anymore."
Bareham said contact between residents and the onsite caretaker had deteriorated, and they had not heard back from the owners when requested. Bareham added that he was told by Pemberton RCMP Sgt. Eric Rochette that he would not be comfortable sending two officers to confront a large group of drunken partiers. After a report from SLRD staff outlining options and challenges for dealing with properties not subjected to municipal bylaws, SLRD chairperson Susan Gimse said she would speak to both RCMP and the owners about the latest complaints.
In an email to Pique Newsmagazine, Lunny said: "We understand that our lodge, Drumkeeran House on Ivey Lake, was the subject of discussion at the February 17, 2012 SLRD meeting and that a so-called delegation appeared to make allegations of excessive noise, etc. For some inexplicable reason we were given no notice of this."
And in a follow-up phone call, Lunny said he was aware of one complaint, on New Year's Eve, which he called "patently ridiculous."
"Ivey Lake on New Year's Eve is a madhouse," he said, adding that he believed the second noise problem had originated "from another place on the lake."
Sea to Sky Trail annual report
Gord McKeever, the project manager of the Sea to Sky Trail (STST), along with Allison Macdonald, SLRD open spaces coordinator, answered questions from representatives about work on the 180-kilometre section of the trail between Squamish and Darcy.
Construction is being optimized to allow access for hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, wheelchairs where possible, and equestrian activities where appropriate.
The main work for 2011 was the section between One Mile Lake and Nairn Falls.
In terms of funding, the B.C. government gave $52,000 through its LocalMotion program for the Nairn Falls Connector, $375,000 for the Whistler Spring Creek Valley Trail through Towns for Tomorrow, with the Resort Municipality Initiative funding Whistler STST development. The federal government contributed $52,000 for the Nairn Falls Connector and $540,000 for the Squamish Corridor Trail through its Gas Tax Fund.
Zero Waste Initiative year one presented
Kim Armour of the SLRD's Zero Waste Initiative said the year-long program with elementary and high school students in the Sea to Sky corridor had been popular with students, though not without challenges.
As part of the education component, Armour explained to the young people taking part that the annual waste per person in the corridor came to 1,933 lbs. (879 kilos) for each of the region's 54,000 residents.
Sixteen elementary school classes cut lunchtime waste by roughly 63 per cent per class.
The operational budget for the program was $8,452, with $4,823 given as in-kind donations. The program is due to continue in the 2012-2013 school year.
Sea to Sky Gondola gets SLRD approval
The SLRD board amended zoning restrictions to take into account the proposed construction of the Sea to Sky Gondola between The Stawamus Chief and Shannon Falls.
While the District of Squamish holds the land at the bottom of the proposed site, the top section of the gondola area, where proponents GroundEffects Development Inc. hope to build a restaurant, theatre and trails, falls into Area D of the SLRD.
The proponents are due to make a presentation on the project at the next SLRD meeting on March 26.