Opinion: Squaw redevelopment project too big of a risk for our future
It was difficult to read the opinion pages of the Aug. 5 Sierra Sun and not draw a line of comparison between the debate over the proposed mega development at Squaw Valley, and the stalled and bankrupt renovation of the historic Cal Neva resort.
It seems that we need not look too far to see the inherent risks associated with the grand promises of real estate developers.
Proponents of the Squaw Valley development, whose proposed nearly 100-foot condominium towers is loosely being referred to as a “village,” have recently united around one talking point, the need to finish what was left undone by the original Intrawest development, which rests at the base of the valley today.
That flawed project stands as it does now, only a partially completed portion of what was a previous grand plan. We are now are led to believe that the only way to revitalize the chronically vacant rooms of the present base village is to replicate it with a much larger version of itself.
There will also be an indoor lazy river/adventure center, all of which I’m told will make this a world-wide destination resort. This, proponents argue, is crucial for the health and future of the iconic ski resort and North Lake Tahoe as a whole.
We must, they say, build on a scale the region has never before seen to prevent it from becoming a victim of an inadequate and incomplete village.
However, the grand vision proponents sell calls for a project that will not be finally completed for 25 years. How does this not constitute anything but a flawed and incomplete development? Will visitors flock in droves to experience an open construction site that has replaced the panoramic vistas and natural beauty we have all known?
As we look at the debacle at the Cal Neva, how can we help but to envision a future where Squaw Valley finds itself in a similar construction limbo — a victim of failed promises, unfulfilled assurances of a vastly superior plan and stuck with another flawed and incomplete development?