The second round of hearings on the Adirondack Club & Resort wrapped up Wednesday with testimony from state Adirondack Park Agency staff, but plenty more debate over the massive resort planned for Tupper Lake lies ahead.
In his pre-file testimony, the APA's soil and water expert Shawn Lalonde said the developer's plans to draw water from Cranberry Pond to sustain snowmaking activities at the nearby ski slopes on Mt. Morris could damage the pond's fragile wetland ecology and wildlife.
Resort developer Preserve Associates wants to use Cranberry Pond because its proximity to the ski slopes makes it cheaper than developing the infrastructure needed to draw from Tupper Lake.
But Lalonde said any use of Cranberry Pond for snowmaking should be temporary. Not only because the pond's ecology is at risk but also because it's not big enough to keep up with the expected draw rate of more than 1,600 gallons per minute.
The 26-acre pond with an average depth of 2.5 feet can only sustain withdrawals of about 850 gallons per minute, according to Lalonde.
He also pointed out that even more water would be needed once the applicants proposed West Face expansion of the ski area is complete. The additional terrain will add about 25 percent to the existing ski slope acreage.
Lalonde said Cranberry Pond is not "a suitable long term source for supporting snowmaking activities," and that total withdrawal could exceed the pond's replenishment rate and substantially draw down the volume of the pond.
In his testimony he also confirmed that the applicant's original plan to discharge sewage effluent into Cranberry Pond had been abandoned.
He indicated that storm water management and sewage treatment concerns had been adequately addressed.
The third and final round of hearings will begin May 24 and continue through mid-June. Once the hearings are complete, the APA will begin a project review that could lead to an approval of the project this fall.