Wolfgang Richter is back in business, with new partners and a two-year extension to complete environmental assessment studies and prepare a master plan for his proposed Garibaldi at Squamish resort.
Milborne Development Corp. of Toronto is the new financier, providing about $5 million over the next two years. Ledcor Construction Ltd. and Pelorus Development Corp., both of Vancouver, will also be involved in the project. The announcements came at a press conference in Squamish on Feb. 26.
"The most important thing for me has been to find good partners," said Richter, who remains chair and CEO of Garibaldi Alpen Resorts Ltd., the company that won the right to study the Brohm Ridge area for ski resort development in 1996.
After previous financial backers pulled out nearly two years ago Richter was unable to complete environmental studies required under the Environmental Assessment process. Garibaldi?s initial interim agreement with the province expired Feb. 28 2001 but several extensions were granted.
Land and Water B.C., formerly known as B.C. Assets and Land Corp. asked for four things before considering the latest extension. It wanted assurances there was funding for the project, it wanted a project completion plan, a project management team in place and a creditor management plan. A package with those four elements was submitted last December.
"It met our expectations," said Charles Littledale, regional manager of Land and Water B.C. "We made an offer of an extension to the interim agreement and that gives the company the ability to complete the environmental assessment plan and the master plan.
"We?re not announcing any project approval. There?s a lot of study still to be done."
Robert Pearce of Pelorus Development is the new lead man on the project and said Milborne?s investment will see the project through the environmental studies and the master plan process. If the resort proposal wins approval the project team would then go to the market to bring in more investors.
"I?m hopeful we?ll create an environment that brings lots of investors," Pearce said.
"We think the potential is enormous," he continued. "We see it as an all-season resort. Halfway between Vancouver and Whistler it?s not hard to let your imagination roll."
Squamish Mayor Corinne Lonsdale was equally enthusiastic.
"I am really happy to see the process being carried out," she said.
"I feel confident after meeting Charles Littledale of Land and Water B.C. that there is a really good team in place to carry out all the needed studies."
Ledcor is interested in building the infrastructure for the resort and is interested in building toll highways for the provincial government.
The company also has the rights to develop a run-of-river hydro project on Fitzsimmons Creek in Whistler.
If the project meets the standards of the Environmental Assessment office and the master plan is approved, negotiations on a master development agreement would then take place. Those negotiations would likely take between three and six months. Once the master development agreement is completed construction of the actual resort could start. Pearce indicated it would be at least a year and a half after construction starts before there would be any skiing at the resort.
The plans for the resort at buildout include 150 runs on more than 2,500 hectares. There would be about 1,000 metres of vertical drop serving up to 19,000 skiers a day.
The village plans, which include 1,500 hotel rooms, nearly 2,000 multi-family units and 500 single family lots. All would be accessed by a road up Mount Garibaldi.
Under terms of the extension agreement Garibaldi Alpen must submit an environmental assessment project report by Feb. 28, 2003, and submit a master plan for approval by the province by April 15 ,2003.
The master plan must meet the standards of the province?s Commercial Alpine Ski Policy. The environmental assessment review includes consultation with local, provincial and federal government agencies, First Nations and local and regional stakeholders.