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Thoughts on the gondola

Justin J. McCarthy

I would like to reply to Tom Day1s opinion published in March 16. Tom Day came to some very misleading conclusions regarding the gondola and its pathway. Day incorrectly sites that this development will be environmentally friendly. At a recent planning meeting the town of Breckenridge1s environmental consultant along with a representative from Division of Wildlife both agreed that the current path of the proposed gondola would have substantial negative environmental impacts. This would include damage to habitat of the threatened boreal toad, elk, and moose. The construction and maintenance of the gondola will require tree cutting, snowmobile access and use. Both men agreed that there could be no suitable environmental mitigation inside the Preservation Management Area.

While Day is correct that the gondola would not pass through land bought as open space by the town, the gondola would divide the Preservation Management Area, going against the idea of creating it in the first place. The PMA faces obstacles with proposed development above it. Day is assuming that “there will be substantial development in the Peaks 7and 8,” this is still up to the town of Breckenridge to approve. Development above the PMA would only add more stress to additional polluted run off form the ski area into Cucumber Gulch, push local housing costs upward and add to more traffic. I would like to think that the town council is a little more dynamic in its representation than Mr. Day would give them credit for. Representatives from the ski area have admitted with the proposed development on Peaks 7 and 8, there will be more traffic even if the gondola is built. The public is being mislead to believe the gondola will relieve the stress of new development.

Day remarks that we should “remember why we came here and don1t forget how we were able to stay.” I moved here for the beauty of our natural resources that keep us in the resort industry employed, not for its continual destruction. Unlike Mr. Day, I do not work in the real estate industry, I work in the service industry. I have too many times head the complaints of tourists respond to the growth of Summit County, and I have seen too many of once-town locals only to be priced out of affordable housing and become locals of Alma, Fairplay, Kremling and Leadville.


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