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Singing Pass

SingingPassGrey800

The problem in a nutshell. Government tinkering has granted Whistler Blackcomb 33 km2 of prime alpine terrain in Garibaldi Park. Mountain Resorts Branch is the provincial agency that oversees resort development and approvals for the province. In 2017, the provincial agency approved further expansion of Whistler Blackcomb resort. Meanwhile, the agency ignored binding provisions that would have restored and maintained the public road and parking lot up Fitzsimmons Creek. Park goers now walk an additional 4 or 5 kilometers on a boring logging road with potential hazards before reaching the old parking lot. In another slap in the face, Whistler Blackcomb offers what it calls "privileged access" for $56 per person to use its lift system to access Singing Pass. Christy Clark of the recently defeated provincial Liberal government is tilting the Scales of Justice towards "Pay 2 Play" with her right hand. In her left, Ms. Clark grasps hefty political donations to "party with the premier" as the Globe and Mail newspaper had termed it. Vail Resorts, the new American owner of Whistler Blackcomb, registered lobbyists with Elections BC and those lobbyists made significant donations to the BC Liberals. Further donations came from Whistler Blackcomb, its subsidiary Whistler Heliskiing and Blackcomb Aviation, the heliskiing contractor. The donations are perceived by some as elements of the "cash for access" election issue that helped bring down the Liberal government. Was there political meddling that impaired objective decision-making? That's the innuendo of the cartoon. Now, the New Democratic Party forms government with support of the BC Green Party. Isn't it time to end the political cronyism, backroom deals and perceived culture of cash for favors? Abate what amounts to a public nuisance. Re-establish the public road and parking at the Singing Pass gateway to Garibaldi Park.

How did we get to this impasse?

Read about the human history of Signing Pass access and the complex political and corporate machinations beneath the pleasant veneer of a mountain resort town here Singing Pass Access Summary 1900-2017. The summary chronicles the 40-year long, systematic erosion of park access by a now foreign-owned megacorporation devoted to profit-making and compliant governments beholden to tax dollars. Connect the dots between hefty political donations and government actions or inaction. See large chunks of Garibaldi Park given away 5 or 10 square kilometers at a time to maximize terrain and profit at Whistler Blackcomb. Check for conflict of interest. Watch as public parking and park access withers contrary to binding agreements that would protect it. Marvel how government agencies are compelled to ignore their own policies and master plans and allow park access and infrastructure to deteriorate while tax revenue and private profits increase, massively rewarding insiders and shareholders.

What do we propose?

Support the parking proposal of the B.C. Mountaineering Club. Click here Singing Pass Issue Summary and Parking Proposal to view the full proposal.

What can you do?

Get involved. Write to the Minister of Environment, the Honourable George Heyman. See our talking points here Singing Pass Talking Points.

Issue Lead Advocate - Paul Kubik

November 15, 2017

Whistler Blackcomb has raised alarmist predictions that public parking up Fitzsimmons Creek would lead to wildfires on Blackcomb Mountain. Wildfire prevention practices used in Cheakamus Community Forest and Resort Municipality of Whistler are applicable in Fitzsimmons Creek.

Risk from public access is manageable by what is called stand thinning according to programs dubbed "fire smart" in British Columbia. To date, no stakeholders, be it Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler Sliding Centre or the Province, have followed this fire prevention practice in Fitzsimmons Creek.

At a public open house October 27th in Whistler on wildfire prevention in Cheakamus Community Forest, Jeff Fisher, registered professional forester, at Sqomish Forestry LP explained how it works. Deciduous and large trees are not harvested. Rather, the stands are thinned to a spacing of between 230 and 350 trees per hectare. It leaves enough shade to reduce underbrush while making it hard for fire to jump from tree to tree. Skilled employees from RMOW, Lil'wat and Squamish Nations do the work.

More information on the open house is available in this Pique newsmagazine article: Wildfire prevention top of list for CCF in 2018

Dr. Michael Feller, a retired UBC forestry professor, states it is also necessary that the thinning slash be removed.

In January, RMOW released its Wildfire Protection Strategy to the public. In the strategy, it states "fuel thinning projects reduce the ability of fire to spread from the forest into the community and vice versa, while maintaining a healthy forest ecosystem." Surface erosion, sedimentation and potential debris flows can last decades following a wildfire according to the strategy.

The section of Fitzsimmons Creek proposed for public parking lies entirely within the RMOW boundary. This is the road and weir that services the Innergex power project on the Blackcomb side. The road on the Whistler side is the Singing Pass trail designated as a recreation trail under Section 56(1) of the Forest and Range Practices Act. A secondary objective of the wildfire protection strategy is to "protect critical infrastructure and facilities in Whistler." When the parking lot and footbridge across Fitzsimmons Creek is in place, our interpretation is that both the power project and trailhead facilities would constitute critical infrastructure along with assets of Whistler Sliding Centre and Whistler Blackcomb in the area.

The wildfire protection strategy shows the roaded areas of Fitzsimmons Creek (see map below) as predominantly areas of C3 and C4 fuel types both of which are considered hazardous.

The C3 fuel type is characterized by fully stocked, late young forests with crowns separated from the ground. Fires occurring under high wildfire danger levels are generally surface and crown fires with low to very high fire intensity and rate of spread. Finally, the C4 fuel type is characterized by dense pole-sapling forest and young plantations with heavy standing dead and down, dead woody fuel accumulation and continuous vertical crown fuel continuity. Under high wildfire danger level, wildfire behaviour for this fuel type is almost always crown fire with high to very high fire intensity and rate of spread.

The wildfire protection strategy designates the upper portion of Fitzsimmons Creek as a Priority 2 area. Priority 1 areas are within 500 meters of structures and are highest priority.

In terms of funding the strategy, the report suggests it would take 60 years at current funding levels to tackle just the Priority 1 areas using the current level of funding available to RMOW. However, Priority 2 areas could be addressed using another funding stream. A funding stream is available for Landscape fuel breaks on Crown land that typically do not qualify for funding by Union of BC Municipalities members such as RMOW.

[It] is the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) Forest Enhancement Program (FEP). The qualification and prioritization of wildfire risk reduction/mitigation projects for FESBC funding is less restrictive than the [UBCM Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative] criteria and is based on reduction of wildfire threat to communities, critical infrastructure, First Nation cultural values, timber supply and special features (i.e., parks and protected areas).

We submit that Fitzsimmons Creek public parking and footbridge would qualify under the FEP criteria. Also of note, the Fitzsimmons Creek road on the Blackcomb side runs parallel to the Innergex pipeline right-of-way, which is currently without forest cover as it was recently constructed and sowed with grass. The pipeline right-of-way would not require immediate treatment. Dr. Feller states,

In terms of the public causing fires, a strip perhaps 30-100 m wide on either side of the road might suffice. There is no definitive width but I notice that Fitzsimmons Creek is not too far from the road. As creekside areas tend not to burn very well, perhaps only a 20m strip on the creek side of the road could be thinned (note that stream protection guidelines in BC could mean that little thinning would be possible within 30m of the creek - see BC's riparian area regulations). This would mean that only one side of the road would need a wider (perhaps up to 50-100m) thinning. A fire could still be lit there but it would move slowly, theoretically allowing it to be controlled more easily.

Fitzsimmons Creek Fuel Types

Above: Fitzsimmons Creek fuel types

Before Thinning

Above: Before thinning on right side of road

After Thinning

Above: After thinning

SampleStemsPerHectare
 

Above: Sample plot from Pacific Spirit Park. The foreground part of the photo would have about 250 to 350 stems per hectare, possibly a few more, but the background part with more and smaller diameter trees looks to have more - possibly 500-600 stems per hectare.

 

Access to the Singing Pass Trail in Garibaldi Park near Whistler was blocked by a landslide about 25 years ago. Hikers had used the access route - which is an old mining/logging road for many years to drive to the trailhead five km up Fitzimmons Creek from Whistler Village. The landslide blocked the road about two km from Whistler and then Whistler Blackcomb built a bike park and closed the road for vehicles. This increases the total round trip to 26 km to Singing Pass or 32 km to Russet Lake.

The Singing Pass area is an alpine paradise in Garibaldi Provincial Park just east of Whistler. It joins the “Musical Bumps” (Oboe, Flute, Piccolo and Whistler) to the Fitzsimmons and Spearhead area. The Singing Pass trail starts in large mature timber and follows Fitzsimmons Creek to the alpine pass where it splits to trails to Russet Lake and the Musical Bumps. Russet Lake is the location of a BC Parks hut built in 1968 by the BC Mountaineering Club and will soon be the site of a larger hut presently being built by the Alpine Club of Canada and the BCMC.

The FMCBC has been working with government agencies for many years trying to get the road fixed. About 10 years ago Innergex Renewable Energy built a small dam on Fitzsimmons Creek close to the old trailhead. They fixed an old logging road on the north (Blackcomb) side of the creek to provide access to the IPP. We recommended that this road be used for access to the trail and BC Parks agreed with that idea.

However 10 years later the government has taken very little action. They have tried to fix up the old road to make it easier to hike but that doesn’t do anything for the extra distance.

Call to Action

At recent meetings with BC Parks and other stakeholders the FMCBC has had very little support for our request to get the new road opened for private vehicles.

We would really appreciate a letter asking for the IPP Access Road to be open to private vehicles and that a bridge be built over Fitzsimmons Creek.

Please send an email or letter to the following government representatives:

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

The problem in a nutshell. Government tinkering has granted Whistler Blackcomb 33 km2 of prime alpine terrain in Garibaldi Park. Mountain Resorts Branch is the provincial agency that oversees resort development and approvals for the province. In 2017, the provincial agency approved further expansion of Whistler Blackcomb resort. Meanwhile, the agency ignored binding provisions that would have restored and maintained the public road and parking lot up Fitzsimmons Creek. Park goers now walk an additional 4 or 5 kilometers on a boring logging road with potential hazards before reaching the old parking lot. In another slap in the face, Whistler Blackcomb offers what it calls "privileged access" for $56 per person to use its lift system to access Singing Pass. Christy Clark of the recently defeated provincial Liberal government is tilting the Scales of Justice towards "Pay 2 Play" with her right hand. In her left, Ms. Clark grasps hefty political donations to "party with the premier" as the Globe and Mail newspaper had termed it. Vail Resorts, the new American owner of Whistler Blackcomb, registered lobbyists with Elections BC and those lobbyists made significant donations to the BC Liberals. Further donations came from Whistler Blackcomb, its subsidiary Whistler Heliskiing and Blackcomb Aviation, the heliskiing contractor. The donations are perceived by some as elements of the "cash for access" election issue that helped bring down the Liberal government. Was there political meddling that impaired objective decision-making? That's the innuendo of the cartoon. Now, the New Democratic Party forms government with support of the BC Green Party. Isn't it time to end the political cronyism, backroom deals and perceived culture of cash for favors? Abate what amounts to a public nuisance. Re-establish the public road and parking at the Singing Pass gateway to Garibaldi Park.

Singing Pass Access

Click image for a larger version.

 

All through the 1960s through 1980s the public were able to drive to the Singing Pass trailhead at the Garibaldi Provincial Park boundary up Fitzsimmons Creek. The right to do so was assured by Ken Kiernan, Minister of Parks and Recreation as early as 1968 and enshrined as a legal right in the 1982 Master Development Agreement between Whistler Mountain and the Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing. The right has never been extinguished. It is in the public interest and the public entrusts our government to ensure that Whistler-Blackcomb lives up to its obligations. Rupert Merer of ACC Whistler explains.


History of public access to Singing Pass

by Rupert Merer

 
A number of histories of Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb have been published this year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of Whistler Mountain for skiing. Whistler is a tourist town which is naturally always trying to sell itself, so these histories have been overwhelmingly positive, about the mountain, the place, the pioneers, the Olympic bids and the skiing. They mention that the first bid for the winter Olympics was submitted when there was only a gravel road to the ski hill, but perhaps this tells us more about how small scale the winter Olympics were in the late 1960s than anything else.

But in all of these brief histories there doesn’t seem to be a single mention of Garibaldi Provincial Park, even though almost all of the good skiing on both mountains is on land that was transferred from the Park.   Even in 1965 most of the skiable lifts were wholly or partly in the Park.

Garibaldi Park was created in 1927. The BCMC played a lead role in persuading the Government to establish the park. They wrote to the Minister in 1915 and persuaded the Alpine club to do the same in 1917. There were already mines in the Fitzsimmons valley at that time. We have a 1928 map of Fitzsimmons Creek which shows a pack trail from Alta Lake to ‘Avalanche Pass’, later renamed Singing Pass. The trail seems to follow the route of the current IPP access road on the north side of the Creek, and it crossed to the south side of the creek at a point close to the new intake. The pack trail provided access to a number of mine workings in the valley.

 In the early 1960 or late 1950s the Fitzsimmons valley was logged right up to the Park boundary, and logging roads were built on both sides of the creek. The logging roads and clearcuts can be seen clearly in some of the early Blackcomb ski maps of 1980 to 1982. Dick Culbert’s climbing guide, from the early 1960s stated that there were roads on each side of the creek to the park boundary. The road on the south side of Fitzsimmons Creek was used by hikers to access a parking lot about 5 km above Whistler’s main day lots. From there Singing Pass is about 7 km and Russet Lake another 3 km so that a hiker could explore beyond Russet lake on a day trip.  The logging road on North side of the Creek was also used by hikers but there was no permanent bridge over the Creek. 

Whistler Mountain originally started operations on the south side of the mountain, because there were a number of mining claims on the north flank.  The original Park boundary was about halfway up the Red Chair, and the Blue chair, the T-bars and the Roundhouse were built on Park land. Presumably Whistler (or Garibaldi Lift Co as it then was) negotiated the transfer of Park land before 1965 when they started constructing the lifts, but official BC topo maps printed in 1967 do not show boundary changes.

Blackcomb opened for skiing in December 1980. On this mountain the original Park boundary ran north- south about one third of the way up the Solar Coaster chair. Without changes to the Park boundary Blackcomb would have been a tiny resort, almost all below 1600 metres.

Between 1966 and 1990 the Park boundary was gradually pushed back on both mountains. It is hard to find any record of these changes, perhaps because negotiations with both Mountains were conducted in secrecy. Providing confirmation of this the original Master Development Agreement for Whistler had a clause requiring that the entire contents of the agreement should be confidential. This agreement, dated 1982, showed that by then the Park boundary had been pushed south by about 2 km to include Whistler Peak. Sometime between 1982 and 1990 the boundary was pushed back to the southeast to include most of the ridge from Whistler Peak to Flute Mountain. In about 2003, the boundary was adjusted, behind closed doors, to provide more space to WB on the summit of Piccolo mountain. Unremarkable mountainside somewhere in the Fitzsimmons valley was traded for prime alpine land on top of the ridge. It was an added insult to make this transaction appear to be a fair trade.

The Park boundary was also changed a number of times on Blackcomb; originally in the late 1970s to allow the initial development of the resort and then between 1980 and 1990 the boundary was moved to encompass the Seventh heaven area, and then in 1989 and 1990 to include the Crystal Ridge area and then Blackcomb Glacier. The latter park was formed because the Government decided to legislate the boundary of Garibaldi Park, and Blackcomb Glacier Recreation Area was removed for the future use of skiers.

The result of all of the transfers is that the majority of Whistler Blackcomb’s skiing takes place on land that was part of Garibaldi Provincial Park before 1966. Without the transfers Blackcomb would be limited to the Excelerator and Wizard chairs, low on the mountain. Whistler would not have the Peak, Harmony, Symphony, Big Red or Emerald chairs or the Roundhouse. The total transfer areas are about 1450 Ha to Whistler and 1650 Ha to Blackcomb.

But the boundary adjustments generally had public support as the 1988 and 1989 public meetings demonstrated. The mountain clubs also supported them with reservations, as a letter from BCMC to the Minister of Recreation and Conservation, in July 1968 shows. However BCMC was concerned that the development of skiing in the Fitzsimmons valley should “ensure preservation of existing access routes into the park (e.g the Fitzsimmons Creek trail to…Singing Pass).” The Minister responded by saying that “We can assure you that no Park Use Permit will be issued to the above company without due consideration being given to the effect that it will have on public access to and within Garibaldi Park.”

They didn’t give such consideration. We have never seen a PUP but when the BC Government signed a Master Development Agreement (MDA) with Whistler in 1982 the references to summer vehicle access were contradictory. The agreement seemed to contemplate hiker and vehicle access in summer but isn’t specific. The access road on the North of Fitzsimmons creek was shown on one of the attached drawings as a ROW but another drawing shows it as a hiking trail. The old parking lot is shown clearly on the main drawing of the resort area.

There was another hiking trail shown in the 1982 MDA which ascended from Creekside to the top and Whistler and to Garibaldi park. This trail seems to have been destroyed by Whistler Blackcomb who have conveniently forgotten of its existence in their MDA.

 But all was well for hikers until 1991 when the Fitzsimmons slump or slide occurred. The slump closed the access road below the parking lot, and later Whistler built a gate across the bottom of it. Was the gate legal? Probably not, because the 1982 MDA required Whistler to provide road access to all parking lots. Whistler then developed the bike park across the access road and took firm ownership of it. The rest of the Fitzsimmons valley was subsequently locked up by the IPP development and the Olympic sliding centre, with the only remaining access the sliding centre road, which had been built for the Olympics with public money.

The options remaining for hikers seeking to enter that Singing Pass area of the park are now:
  • To ride the Whistler gondola, at a cost, and hike over the Musical bumps. However the limited operating hours of the gondola in summer means that a hiker cannot start hiking before 10.30 AM and must be back at the gondola by 5pm. This is impractical for most hikers.
  • Hike from the village parking lots to Singing Pass and Russet Lake. This distance to the latter is almost 15 km. It is shown on all guidebooks as a ‘green’ trail and visitors are often horrified when they come to the slump and find a section of trail which is far harder than other ‘black’ trails in the valley (and getting more difficult). It is surprising that given the concern for safety shown by WB, Whistler municipality and the Ministry of Forests, nobody seems concerned about this hazard.
The distance means that few hikers use this option, and those that do use Russet Lake as a destination, rather than a base for exploring the Park. The first 12 km from the village have few interesting views and one hiker was heard to say “wake me up when we get there”.
 
In 2014 BC Parks issued their Management  plan amendment for the Spearhead area, which stated, as one of its main objectives  “The following strategies have been identified as high priorities for implementation: Work with adjacent land managers to establish a new vehicle-accessible trailhead on the north side of Fitzsimmons Creek to provide summer access to the Singing Pass Trail.”

This confirmed the objective of their 1990 Master plan that “trailhead access for Singing pass will be upgraded and secured” and that “These objectives are reflected in the general access strategy which bring vehicle access close to park boundaries and then provides low- impact trail access to the park’s more popular features and to wilderness access points.”

After the issue of the BC Parks amendment FMCBC  met WB, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural resources, Sliding centre management , Innergex and BC Parks, but it was evident that the Corporate (WB) and Government agencies had already met and developed a policy, and this was presented to the FMCBC as a “fait accompli”. The FMCBC was told that the sliding centre road was too steep, too busy, unsafe and the curves too sharp for public use. 

FMCBC responded some time later, pointing out that the sliding centre road does not compare with many European or US tourist roads in steepness or the sharpness of its curves, and that even the Duffey lake road is steeper and has sharper curves. The sliding centre road has little traffic. On safety, FMCBC noted that commercial ATV trips use the road (which contravenes the Blackcomb CRA) and the only requirement for renting an ATV is a valid driver’s licence from anywhere. On the ATV trips children hang onto the driver without a seat belt, and on one occasion a child was seen sitting in front of the tour leader, who held him with one hand and drove with the other.

Most serious BC hikers drive access roads that are steep, overgrown and narrow, with water bars, rocks and ruts and sharp blind bends. They are an order of magnitude more difficult than the sliding centre road.

After the FMCBC responded with these comments our invitation to another meeting was withdrawn.

FMCBC members recognize that Whistler Blackcomb has provided huge benefits to the Province, in recreation and tourism. However most of their revenue has been generated on public land transferred from Garibaldi Park, and from the development of the bike park across the old hiking access road. So while WB has been so successful and profitable operating on public land, an unexpected consequence of the Fitzsimmons slump and the Olympics is that public access to the park has been severely restricted, as BCMC feared back in 1968.

The FMCBC thinks that in return for the benefits received from operating on public lands, WB has an obligation to restore public summer vehicle access to a point close to the old parking lot. And the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural resources should honour the pledge make by his predecessor in 1968. Lastly the disposition of public park land should be a public matter and not carried out in secret by Government and Corporations.
 
 

Subcategories

September 30, 2017

SingingPassAccessProposed 2

Click image for larger version.

Why is a parking lot needed?

A number of factors show that action on the Singing Pass access issue is urgently needed.

  • Huge increases in park visitation in Sea to Sky region. Inadequate parking and trail head infrastructure to accommodate that use.
  • Lack of public parking and overnight parking in Whistler. Recent parking bylaws enacted by Resort Municipality of Whistler in July 2017 exacerbate the parking problem for park visitors.
  • Imminent construction of four Spearhead huts means increased overnight parking capacity is required. First one at Russet Lake, Singing Pass is scheduled to open in 2019. Construction has begun. People need a secure place to park overnight.
  • Existing access road is geologically unstable and access is blocked at Whistler village with a gate. Repairs are reported to be costly.
  • Mountain bike terrain park over public road causes safety concerns with hikers.
  • Long approach on relatively boring logging road means many park users are unable to enjoy the natural beauty of Garibaldi Park.

Our proposal

  • Work with Whistler Sliding Centre, Whistler Blackcomb and Innergex to obtain private vehicle access to their right-of-ways on the north side of Fitzsimmons Creek.
  • Upgrade the industrial road on the north side of Fitzsimmons Creek between the Whistler Sliding Centre and the Innergex independent power project (IPP) intake to allow for private vehicle use.
  • Construction of car parking lot at the IPP intake. This is 5 kilometers up Fitzsimmons Creek from Whistler village and adjacent to the park boundary. Actual number of stalls has an upper limit determined by the physical site characteristics. Suggested minimum number of stalls for first year is to be the same as other Garibaldi Park trailheads at Garibaldi Lake, Diamond Head and Cheakamus. Recommended number of stalls should be larger due to current trends in backcountry usage, Whistler's success as a destination resort for outdoor pursuits and construction of the Spearhead huts.
  • Build trail head facilities such as washroom, outhouse, lighting, information kiosk, garbage facility.
  • Free parking.
  • Improved signage from Highway 99.
  • New footbridge across Fitzsimmons Creek to connect with existing Singing Pass trail on the south side.
  • Clearing the existing, overgrown road between the proposed footbridge and the existing Singing Pass trail.
  • Landscaping of parking lot using native species to make it more attractive to visitors and to improve the view from the Peak 2 Peak gondola.
  • Fencing of the scrap yard known as the Boneyard to provide security and public safety.
  • Regular municipal bus service every hour between 7 AM and 9 PM with 30 minute frequency 9 AM to 5 PM during high summer and during daylight hours for the remaining year May through October.
  • Bike storage and/or locking facilities at the trailhead.
  • Regular maintenance and patrolling by a facility operator.
  • Design work begins in winter 2018. Construction completes summer 2018.
  • Updated BC Parks web page.

Additional options to consider

  • Widening and paving of the four to five kilometer access road which is currently gravel surface, one lane with pullouts.
  • Vehicle bridge at the IPP upstream facility to provide additional parking spaces on the south side of Fitzsimmons Creek.
  • Winter snow removal to extend operating season from May through October to year round.
  • As the existing IPP road uses the right of way of the Whistler Sliding Centre, due to operational concerns during sliding centre events, the building of a public bypass road around the sliding centre right of way.
  • Paid parking (e.g. $5 or $10/day) to be used for maintenance of trailhead services etc.
  • Annual pass similar to Northwest Forest Pass in Washington state.
  • Reinstate road access through the south side slump area to the original parking lot or create a new parking lot before the slump.
  • Relocate the Singing Pass trail to follow Fitzsimmons Creek until Harmony Creek is crossed then ascend to the existing trail east of Harmony Creek. (The existing crossing of Harmony Creek has seriously deteriorated and is now possibly dangerous to use.)

Benefits of the proposal

  • Enormously improved hiking experience as more time is spent in Garibaldi Park. It would allow seniors, families with children and the less physically fit to enjoy the beauty of Garibaldi Park instead of trudging up a boring logging road.
  • Physically fit people can disperse further into the park.
  • Secure day use and overnight parking for park visitors. Costs are potentially offset by a modest day use or overnight parking fee.
  • Responsible management of waste and sanitation.
  • Opportunity to provide backcountry education and guidelines for visitors by using information kiosks or park attendant.
  • Improved public safety as the access road bypasses the unstable landslip on the south side of Fitzsimmons Creek. No conflict with ATV tours and the mountain bike terrain park.
  • Consistent with the management direction approved in the 2014 Spearhead Amendment to the Garibaldi Park 1990 Master Plan to improve public access to Garibaldi Park by constructing a public parking facility at the upstream IPP facility.
  • The parking lot would serve three trails: (1) Singing Pass trail described here. (2) New connector trail to park trails on the Blackcomb side (Disease Ridge). This trail is mentioned in the park management plan amendment. (3) New Fitzsimmons Creek valley bottom trail.

Challenges

  • Agreement from Whistler-Blackcomb to fully support the parking project from the get-go.
  • Mountain Resorts Branch has as its own land use operational policy that "Crown land values are managed for the benefit of the public." Encourage Whistler Blackcomb to support the parking project by tying approval of future mountain phase development to its support of the parking project and its continued operation.
  • BC Parks to fund the parking lot construction, footbridge and trail clearing in accordance with its approved management direction in the 2014 Spearhead Amendment to the Garibalid Park 1990 Master Plan.
  • An agreement with the Whistler Sliding Centre to use their right of way.
  • Alternatively, establish a bypass route around the Whistler Sliding Centre right of way.
  • Agreement with Innergex to use their right of way. (Innergex in the past has indicated they are willing to allow public use, parking and footbridge construction.)
  • Agreement with Resort Municipality of Whistler to provide services to the parking lot such as road maintenance, snow clearing, garbage disposal, sanitation, bus service, landscaping and other maintenance normally provided by municipalities.