A study conducted by Piteau Associates has concluded a test well drilled in the Paradise Valley could potentially provide the water required for Garibaldi at Squamish (GAS). Preliminary findings from the ongoing study were presented at a public meeting hosted by GAS on Wednesday, May 15.
About 100 people attended the meeting in Squamish to hear an update on the project from proponent Wolfgang Richter, vice-chair of GAS Inc.
“I believe we have the water,” Richter said. “The water is the biggest environmental assessment issue because you need to have all the water for the entire development.”
He added that the provincial government requires detailed water information and no fish can be killed in delivering the water for the 22,000 bed unit resort.
Kathy Tixier, a hydro geologist with Piteau, delivered a detailed summary of the work done by her company after two test wells were drilled near the Cheakamus River. She said her objective was to share what has been learned to date from the study her company is doing.
“We don’t have all the answers right now but we’d like to tell you what we do know at this point,” Tixier said.
A primary test well was drilled down 12 metres (40 feet) to determine if water could be pumped out of the ground at 72 litres per second, the amount of water the proponents have determined is required to run the four-season resort.
“We tested the well for four days in late February,” said Tixier. “Part of the reason we chose that time of year was the flow rates in the Cheakamus River are typically low.”
Tixier reported that pumping the amount of water required to run the resort resulted in minimal impacts on existing wells in the area and the water flows in the Cheakamus River. She added that high quality water that meets Canadian drinking water guidelines was pumped up from the Paradise Valley aquifer.
The hydro geologist was asked how much it would cost to pump the water from the Paradise Valley up to the main mountain village planned for Brohm Ridge. Tixier said that information is outside her area of expertise and that civil engineers are working to produce that information.
Project consultant George McKay acknowledged that pumping water up the mountain is going to be costly.
Richter said he estimates that about one more year of work has to be done to complete the environmental assessment process. Once the project is given an environmental certificate, Richter said he’d like to see the District of Squamish (DOS) annex the project lands while the provincial government is working to determine if the project proponents will be allowed to negotiate a Master Development Agreement (MDA) with the province. According to Richter, the MDA will include five phases spread over 25 years to build-out.
Check back online and in future print editions of Pique for continued coverage of GAS news.