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It has been a long road to get to the environmental assessment stage said Esler, who has been involved with the idea since it was first floated in 1988.
The project has been under new management since it ran into a financial roadblock with investors in 2002. The majority investors now are Bob Gaglardi and Luigi Aquilini.
In 2003 the project hit another stumbling block when the Squamish Nation sued the province for failing to consult with it about the project.
Esler said enough positive movement has been made with the First Nations to allow the project to now move forward into the environmental assessment phase.
The project resurfaced at a Squamish-Lillooet Regional District meeting last fall. At that time Squamish Mayor Ian Sutherland noted that his community has had a number of meetings with the province over the years regarding the Garibaldi at Squamish project, and that the project has vast community support and would mean significant and long-lasting job creation for his community.
However, at the same meeting Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed called the proposal “…unrecognizable from what was originally an alpine development…”, with much of the development pushed down into the valley.
Esler said this week discussions are on going with the District of Squamish to investigate whether the project would be within the district’s boundaries. He said proponents are also considering whether to become part of the SLRD or form their own municipality.
The project will supply and pay for its own infrastructure and is committed to be sustainable, said Esler.
“In my view, and I have worked on other ski resorts as well, this has all the dynamics to be a successful ski resort and all season resort,” said Esler.
According to economic data (about to be updated) in the most recent executive summary of the development plan, which was done in 2003, the project will provide:
• $380 million in direct construction employment income over 15 years.
• $67 million in annual operations (accommodation/ski hill) income at build-out.
• An estimated $1 billion will be spent on the purchase of supplies from local, regional and provincial suppliers.
• An estimated $76 million in income tax paid on $380 million construction employment income over 15 years and up to $13.4 million annually in operations employment income tax following build out.
• Federal and provincial governments will benefit from PST and GST paid on more than $1 billion in supplies and equipment.