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Singing Pass News Articles

August 9, 2016

Research by the organization Garibaldi Park 2020 has found compelling evidence that Whistler Blackcomb is in violation of the Land Act by restricting public vehicle access up Fitzsimmons Creek to the Singing Pass trail head adjacent the Garibaldi Provincial Park boundary.

The 1982 Master Development Agreement between Whistler Mountain and the Province of British Columbia clearly shows the Fitzsimmons Creek road as "public access road" and "park access right-of-way". See Schedule A pages 1 and 2.

Article 14.06 of the MDA states:

An instrument conveying Crown Land to Whistler under this Article shall be subject to any statutory right-of-way that burdens the Crown Land.

It is our opinion that Fitzsimmons Creek road is such a statutory right-of-way. Under the Land Title Act, the public are the dominant tenement and Whistler Blackcomb are the servient tenement.

What this means is that Whistler Blackcomb is in violation of the Land Act as it is restricting public vehicle access up Fitzsimmons Creek. Moreover, Whistler Blackcomb is failing to live up to its responsibility under the 1982 MDA to restore and maintain the Fitzsimmons Creek road and parking lot.

For more information on this issue see Singing Pass Issue Summary and Parking Proposal

Schedule A page 1 is found here: Schedule A of Whistler Mountain Master Development Agreement

Schedule A page 2 is found here: Schedule A, page 2 of Whistler Mountain Master Development Agreement

2020 has written to Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations requesting him to immediately instruct Whistler Blackcomb to comply with its legal obligations under the Land Act and the master development agreement. Restore and maintain the public road and facilitate public vehicle access and parking at the trail head.

April 21, 2016

Hikers: walk an extra 5 km of boring logging road - Mountain Resorts Branch

Yep, that's what Mountain Resorts Branch wants for you - hike five kilometers of logged out timber just to reach the park boundary. And run a gauntlet of ATVs and mountain bikes flying through the air. Lucky you if you make it further than Singing Pass. Repeat on the way back.

Mountain Resorts Branch dictates terms of Singing Pass public access

2020 Commentary

2020 this week received a backgrounder article produced by Mountain Resorts Branch entitled "Singing Pass Trail through the Whistler Blackcomb Controlled Recreation Areas". In part, it is a collection facts and timelines. As such it is a background article. It is also a set of excuses why Whistler Blackcomb should not honour its legal obligation to restore vehicle access to the Singing Pass trailhead near the park boundary.

Bias riddles the report. The bias that Whistler Blackcomb may pursue its business objectives unfettered without observance of their legal obligations. Inappropriate developments are permitted on the access route that endanger hikers with physical trauma. Hikers must run a gauntlet of ATVs and mountain bikes five kilometers long to reach the safety of the park. Turn it around and blame the hikers - they are the problem. 

Mountain Resorts Branch to the rescue! Presenting two options, neither of which resolve hiker's safety concerns and neither of which brings hikers closer to the safety of Garibaldi Park.

News from the Twilight Zone

  • Hikers passing through the bike park are creating conflicts. They are crossing downhill bike trails leading to safety concerns that bike riders might be injured.
  • Public vehicle access would conflict with Whistler Blackcomb's resort operations.
  • Bike riders could be injured by vehicles.
  • It is a complex issue.

The reality is...

  • The Singing Pass Trail and Fitzsimmons Creek access road were in existence for 50 years or more.
  • Whistler Mountain took on a legal obligation in 1982 to preserve and maintain public access including vehicle access to the parking lot near the park boundary. In return, they were granted the controlled recreation area.
  • Whistler Blackcomb developed a bike park knowing full well of the conflicts it was creating. Whistler Blackcomb created the safety problem not hikers.
  • It is the hikers that will suffer physical injury not armour-laden stunt riders flying through the air on a bike weighing 100 pounds.
  • It is a simple issue.

How simple is it?

Pave the road to the park boundary and provide public parking.

Whistler Blackcomb must remove inappropriate developments. Whistler Blackcomb must honour its legal obligations. Mountain Resorts Branch must not approve inappropriate developments that threaten public safety. Mountain Resorts Branch must work in the public interest and not act as a shill for Whistler Blackcomb.

April 13, 2016

The Squamish Chief

Garibaldi Park 2020 calls for Mountain Resorts Branch to withhold approval of the Whistler Blackcomb Renaissance project until the Singing Pass access fiasco is resolved.

http://www.squamishchief.com/news/local-news/squamish-nation-essential-to-whistler-blackcomb-expansion-1.2230075

April 5, 2016

Mountain Resorts Branch dictates terms of Singing Pass public access to the 2020 team

Summary of comments made by MRB to the organization Garibaldi Park 2020.

  • The Whistler master plan of 2013 (phase 15, 16, 17 expansion) has not been approved by Mountain Resorts Branch. They expect it will be in the coming months.
  • MRB will be presenting two options to the FMCBC and ACC Whistler at an April meeting neither of which is what is being asked for - restoration of public vehicular access to the park boundary.
  • MRB dismissed the provisions in the 1982 Whistler MDA by stating that the obligation to restore the public vehicular access to the Singing Pass trailhead can simply be written away by a subsequent MDA or master plan.
  • We asked whether MRB was sure of the legality of that statement. The reply was that the lawyers have been all over it.
  • MRB said the tenure holders and other stakeholders had the momentum now and were ready to solve the access problem. The only problem is that the stakeholders that really matter weren't there - the FMCBC and ACC Whistler. The tenure and stakeholders that MRB referred to are organizations such as Whistler-Blackcomb, Whistler village, Innergex, First Nations, BC Parks etc.
  • MRB tossed out a figure that the road upgrade to allow public vehicle access to the park boundary might cost around $150,000. It may just be hyperbole.

2020 said there should be third option. Whistler-Blackcomb should pay the $150,000 to upgrade the road not the provincial government. We said that Mountain Resorts Branch should withhold approval of the W-B master plan (phases 15, 16, 17) until they agree to do so. This is by way of ensuring W-B complies with its legal obligations under the 1982 MDA.

It is a novel presumption that an obligation can somehow be simply written away by a subsequent MDA. Perhaps we're wrong. The colonialists tried to do that with First Nations. Your land is now our land. Look where that got us. It is our strongly held belief that in our legal system, the 1982 MDA is a contractual agreement. It enshrines the obligation to maintain public vehicular access to the Singing Pass trailhead at the park boundary. Perhaps a court case is required clear up the interpretation.

 

The Historic Singing Pass Trail existed well before the Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort.  The battle to maintain access to this trail began almost 50 years ago in 1968.  Some of those original documents are posted on this site (see the documents section).

After a major road slump in 1997 made the original access road impassable, access has yet to be restored.  Despite several highly viable options being available, commercial and industrial interests have presented a myriad of excuses and roadblocks, despite the numerous legal documents that establish the public's right to access this historic trail.

Despite having 16 years to achieve this goal, BC Parks has failed to restore access to the historic Singing Pass Trail.  Garibaldi Park 2020 believes this is far too long.  

No more excuses.  No more delays.  No more siding with industrial and commercial interests.

For the first time in decades, it time to put the rights and wishes of the public first and restore access to the Singing Pass Trail...

Breaking News

The Globe and Mail newspaper in its Report on Business, Wednesday, March 30, 2016 page 1 and 8, reported Whistler Blackcomb is seeking a 25% expansion of its ski terrain. A 25% expansion would increase the ski terrain from its current 33 square kilometers to over 41 square kilometers. Undoubtedly this is good news for Whistler and good news for skiers. Especially, if the terrain is in the proposed West Bowl and Kyber areas on the west side of Whistler Mountain. These areas are outside the park and the base would be at Function Junction.

Separately, WB announced its so-called Renaissance project priced at $345 million.

Let's be smart about this and break the logjam that is blocking public vehicle access to the original Singing Pass trailhead. This access requirement was stipulated in the original Whistler master development agreement and has never been extinguished. BC Parks claims it is powerless to resolve the problem because the access roads are outside the park. So, how about the Mountain Resorts Branch, which approves ski resort master development agreements, work to resolve the impasse rather than backstopping Whistler Blackcomb?

Mountain Resorts Branch, just say No to Whistler-Blackcomb Renaissance project. Pave the road to the park boundary and provide public parking. Free public access to Singing Pass all year round.

Learn more about the Singing Pass Trail Fiasco on GaribaldiPark2020 using the following internal links, or the Menu System above:

 

The Singing Pass Trail Fiasco Story:

Singing Pass Trail Fiasco Summary

2016 FMCBC Article on the Singing Pass Trail Fiasco:

FMCBC Article on Singing Pass Trail Access 2016

Singing Pass Trail Historical Documents:

Singing Pass Fiasco Historical Documents - the 1960\'s

Detailed mapping of the six or more Whistler Blackcomb boundary adjustment "Giveaways":

http://backcountrybc.ca/index.php/maps-and-media/backcountry-access-bc-custom-maps/garibaldi-park-whistler-blackcomb-deletions
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