Base Village work under way without water permit
July 14, 2005
Although the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has once again delayed issuing a water permit required for the massive Base Village project, there will still be an official groundbreaking ceremony July 29.Actually, work is already under way for the project at the base of Snowmass Mountain, according to Bill Kane, the Aspen Skiing Co.’s vice president of development.”The date is driven by when we could get all the key players together,” Kane said. “Thirty-thousand cubic yards of dirt have already been moved.”In a letter dated June 23, Ken Jacobson, the corps’ acting chief of the intermountain regulatory section, told Michael O’Connor, vice president of development for Intrawest, the corps is awaiting the resolution of Endangered Species Act issues. The Endangered Species Act states that all federal agencies must protect endangered species and ensure that listed species are not destroyed or adversely affected in their habitat. O’Connor was out of town and could not be reached for comment. He said in April that the groundbreaking of Base Village won’t be interrupted this summer and the construction related to the mountain plan will begin on schedule. He said future construction phases could be impacted if the issue with the corps is not resolved.Kane said the corps’ scrutiny of Intrawest’s plan to draw water from Snowmass Creek was in line with procedures adopted over the last decade that have expanded the scope of reviews when the Endangered Species Act is involved.”One thing they look at is potential stream depletion and the effects downstream on threatened and endangered species,” Kane said.Kane added that the water rights needed to supply Base Village have been in place since the town water and sanitation district completed an environmental impact study in 1978.The groundbreaking ceremony will be at 3 p.m. at the end of the mall on Fanny Hill in Snowmass Village. Attendees will be able to meet the Snowmass Base Village project team. Honorary hosts include Mayor Doug Mercatoris and Skico.’s Jim Crown, among others.