Please read the joint letter from ATVBC, BCSF, BCORMA, and 4WDABC in response to the article in the Chilliwack Press – “Gondola proposal sees Cheam First Nation purchasing golf course at Bridal Falls”.
OPEN LETTER TO MEDIA & LOCAL GOVERNMENT
January 6, 2023
RE: Proponent: Bridal Falls Gondola Corp
Crown Land File(s): 2412430
We are writing you today in response to the recent article published on January 3, 2023 in the Chilliwack Progress called “Gondola proposal sees Cheam First Nation purchasing golf course at Bridal Falls”. We wish to clarify our current position on the proposed project to allay any mis-leading statements that could be shared by other parties.
Members of the off-road motorized sports groups, including the Quad Riders Association of BC (ATVBC), BC Off- Road Motorcycle Association (BCORMA), BC Snowmobile Federation (BCSF) and the Four Wheel Drive Association of BC (4WDABC), came together in September 2022 to discuss the above mentioned project known as the “Cascade Skyline Gondola Project.” As provincial organizations representing thousands of members who will be potentially impacted, we believe it is our obligation to share our members’ concerns regarding this project.
At a meeting on October 18th 2022, with our respective organizations and the proponent (Bridal Falls Gondola Group) we shared our concerns and provided potential mitigation options. We have not had any further conversations with the proponent to date to explore these options further.
In its current form, the proposed project has the potential to limit up to 80% of motorized trail access in the Cheam, Thurston Loop and Chipmunk area. The Chipmunk FSR is a key access road for all user groups and is listed, by the proponent, to be blocked. This proposal also blocks the most used trail on the mountain, the Thurston Loop, and further blocks access to the ultimate goal of the loop which is the view point.
The Chilliwack Progress article also quotes the proponent saying “the project tenure has little impact on trails/roads in the drainage.” We believe this is misleading and have provided a draft map of the proposed project and current trails to show the current impacts.
In consideration of the thousands of volunteer hours put into the area by all our associations and local clubs including trail development, maintenance, and cleanups over the last 70 years, we feel it is important that our members be considered and consulted when making decisions that will affect these public riding areas.
We are NOT in support of the current proposal; however, we are very interested in working with the proponent to find solutions to reduce the impacts to motorized sport. Our group met again on January 5th, 2023 to discuss this project, the newspaper article and other options that will meet the needs of the proponent, our groups and other user groups in the area. We strongly believe that a workable solution can be found to meet all parties needs.
We encourage the supporters of this project to consider the impacts of all outdoor recreation groups and encourage the proponent to work with us to mitigate these concerns before moving forward.
Chris D’Silva, President
ATVBC Quad Riders Association of BC
Peter Sprague, Executive Director
BC Off-Road Motorcycle Association
Donegal Wilson, Executive Director
BC Snowmobile Federation
Kim Reeves, President
Four Wheel Drive Association of BC