2020 in the Media

February 10, 2017
GP2020 wrote to Mr. Norman Lee, Executive Director, Mountain Resorts Branch to withhold its approval of all subsequent Mountain Phases of development at Whistler Blackcomb until such time as all its conditions regarding previous Mountain Phases are met. The core issue is the failure of Whistler Blackcomb to register the interest of the public in the matter of public vehicle use of Fitzsimmons Creek road.

Here is the text of the letter to Mr. Lee.

January 10, 2017

In what GP 2020 hails as a victory for accountability, BC Parks provided us with a new map of Garibaldi Park showing the overlapping Wilderness Conservation Zone and heli-skiing permit area boundaries. We were also informed by Ms. Jennie Aikman, Regional Director, South Coast Region, BC Parks that the heli-ski permit area has been significantly reduced in area. Ms. Aikman states in her letter to GP 2020,

In the case of the heli-skiing permit Whistler Heli-Skiing has reduced their permit area to remove areas of high use in the vicinity of Decker Mountain, as well as runs in the Iago and Quiver areas. We recently had our mapping specialist digitize the boundary of the Wilderness Conservation Zone and have now overlain this with the updated heli-ski tenure mapping. I have attached a copy of the mapping for your reference. While the mapping does indicate a minor overlap of the heli-ski tenure with the Wilderness Conservation Zone, I wish to reiterate, as we discussed during our meeting with you in October, that the heli-ski tenure overlap may be the result of less precise mapping and spatial information that was available at the time the zoning was established. Regardless of the cause of the overlap, BC Parks continues to work closely with the heli-ski operator to minimize potential impacts to park values.

GP 2020 welcomes this news from BC Parks as it starts to address the significant irregularities with the permit that we raised with Ms. Aikman. It also confirms that the mapping that GP 2020 initially undertook to show the overlap between the permit area and the Wilderness Conservation Zone was largely accurate and our conclusions were sound.

The map released by BC Parks can be found here: Garibaldi Park-Whistler Heli-skiing Permit Area Map

December 24, 2016

A Lower Mainland mountain club recently criticized BC Parks for its attack on volunteers working at Crest Creek Crags in Strathcona Park. Volunteers for the last thirty years have added $1 million of value to the crags and made it known internationally. BC Parks response is to slap the volunteers with heavy fines and sabotage the spirit of volunteerism in Strathcona Park. BC Parks is indulging in a petty vendetta and behaving like a small child throwing a hissy fit.

December 21, 2016

In a letter dated December 19, 2016 from Mr. Jim Standen, Assistant Deputy Minister at BC Parks to our organization Garibaldi Park 2020, Mr. Standen has confirmed that the significant irregularities with Whistler Heli-skiing Ltd.'s park use permit (PUP) cited by 2020 do exist. Despite the irregularities the permit was renewed for a further ten years.

Highlights from the letter:

  • BC Parks admits the heli-skiing PUP trespasses into the Wilderness Conservation Zone (WCZ)
  • Implicitly accepts our accusation there are up to seven helicopter landing zones lie anywhere from 400 to 1,500 meters inside the Wilderness Conservation Zone
  • Commits to redrawing the WCZ to exclude the permit area in a future park management plan
  • Authorizes helicopter landing zones along the boundary of the Fitzsimmons Mountain Goat Winter Range, in violation of the government's own mountain goat management guidelines pertaining to harmful effects of helicopter noise on mountain goats
  • Admits that research is lacking on whether heli-skiing is having an effect on Mountain Goat and other park values
  • Admits that after 30 years there is still no plan to monitor goats in the Spearhead Range

The extension of the PUP for a further ten years is tantamount to playing Russian Roulette with the Fitzsimmons mountain goat herd. There is inadequate research on the herd yet another ten years of harmful helicopter noise is permitted. We don't have sufficient information about the herd so how is it possible to determine the long term effect of the helicopter noise?

The full text of the chain of letters is appended below.

December 9, 2016

The B.C. Mountaineering Club with more than 800 members has cited the actions of Cypress Mountain Resort in closing the backcountry access corridor to Howe Sound Crest Trail as harmful to public safety. Meanwhile, BC Parks has stood by doing nothing to prevent it but has endorsed the resort's backcountry access policy by reportedly stationing park rangers to help enforce it.

Here is the text of the letter the BCMC recently wrote to Mr. Jim Standen, Assistant Deputy Minister, BC Parks and Conservation Officer Division.

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