Peak 7 project needs water to begin |

Peak 7 project needs water to begin

DUFFY HAYESsummit daily news

BRECKENRIDGE – Chain saws are poised to begin removing trees Monday to make room for the Peak 7 base area expansion at Breckenridge Ski Resort, but the development will have to earn full inclusion into the local sanitation district before any work can start on the project.A key meeting will be held today at 5:30 p.m. at the Breckenridge Sanitation District offices to hear public comment on the inclusion resolution. Then, district directors will likely vote on the matter.While a portion of the proposed Peak 7 project’s 22-acre parcel is already on public water, another part still needs to be officially included into the Breckenridge Sanitation District for the chain saws to begin work.The last hurdle to inclusion for project partners Vail Resorts Development Company (VRDC) and the locally owned Grand Timber Lodge Development Company appears to be specific language in the resolution that protects both the district and developers’ rights to water in the Blue River.The Blue River, which flows through the town of Breckenridge and eventually empties into Dillon Reservoir, is set to see increased flows because of a pump-back project, sponsored by the district and supported by the town.The $9.5 million project would recover some of the water downstream of the town, and by installing a series of pipes and pumping equipment, add it back upriver.The hang up enumerated in the Peak 7 resolution has more to do with what happens after the pump-back project is completed. Both Vail Resorts and the sanitation district have concerns over what might happen once flows are boosted in the Blue.Raising the measured water level at a key state-monitored gauge could create a “free-for-all,” where anyone with claims to water in the Blue – and there are many – would begin taking water at will.”A concern of the district is that once you put water back in the river, it could allow people to take more water out above you, which would actually decrease the dilution flow that’s available to us,” said Andrew Carlberg, manager of the sanitation district. “That would defeat the purpose of the project.”Vail Resorts is concerned about protecting its water rights. Attorneys have been trying to work language into the inclusion agreement that would secure their ability to take from the river – to make snow, for example – based on an engineer-specified baseline river level.That additional language is key to passage of the resolution by the water board today.Wednesday, Grand Timber’s Rob Millisor said he was “confident” the legal issues could be worked out to gain inclusion. The timing is critical for his group, as work is scheduled to begin Monday clearing trees near the Cucumber Gulch area adjacent to the property available for development.As part of the developers’ Cucumber Gulch agreement with the town of Breckenridge, they have to remove trees while there’s still snow on the ground.Inclusion question- What: Public hearing on Peak 7 development inclusion into the Breckenridge Sanitation District- When: 5:30 p.m. today- Where: 1601 Airport Rd., Breckenridge- For more info: (970) 453-2723Duffy Hayes can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13611, or at

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