NOTE: 73% spoke in OPPOSITION to resort expansion at the public hearing at Mount Sunapee State Park on May 5, 2015. Here is some of the testimony presented on the amended plan for resort development. To share YOUR comments, email: Info@friendsomountsunapee.org
Statement presented by Linda Dennis for Friends of Mount Sunapee
Mount Sunapee Public Hearing – May 5, 2015
My name is Linda Dennis, a founding member of Friends of Mount Sunapee – a grassroots organization that seeks to preserve and protect Mount Sunapee State Park for its essential public values and preserve the region’s quality of life, clean waters and open spaces.
The Friends of Mount Sunapee strongly oppose the current plan for resort expansion.
First, we believe resort expansion is NOT the engine that will move our economy forward. There is nothing in this plan that offers innovative or sustainable strategies from an economic standpoint. After 17 years of private management of the ski area, we are saddled with a stagnant and declining job market. Looking forward, we must make good decisions. This expansion is not good economic development and good preservation of our natural environment.
Secondly, resort expansion and the resulting development will further diminish the natural heritage, scenic beauty and wild character of Mount Sunapee State Park. It will cut through and diminish a remarkable and rare forest, and the mitigation proposed does not lessen the harmful impacts. We believe State officials should uphold NH law that expressly protects this forest.
Thirdly, this plan fails to describe the scale and scope of the project beyond a five year window and fails to provide current and complete impact statements. The resort’s environmental assessments are 11 years old. Good planning must be forward thinking and be based on complete information and solid science.
Lastly, and most importantly, we believe that using public conservation land to facilitate private real estate development next to a state park violates public values and it sets a dangerous precedent for public lands across New Hampshire. Although the resort declines to discuss its long term build out plans, the language in your draft decision speaks to the operator’s interest to permit, mitigate and meet density requirements. The state, essentially, will enable private development on and around the mountain on land that abuts the park.
For these and other reasons we see no compelling reason for resort expansion and find this plan unacceptable. Thank you.