For Immediate Release: February 17, 2021
A petition asking for a pause on any new resort developments in the New Denver – Kaslo corridor has launched, asking the Province to help the region come up with a good plan for a healthy future.
“We believe the Province cares about rural areas,” said Nicky Blackshaw, a spokesperson with The Wild Connection, the coalition who organized the petition. “We are asking B.C. to demonstrate their commitment to modernized land use planning and want an updated land use plan for our region.” Until then, the group says, there should be a moratorium on any new, or expansion of, commercial recreation tenures in the area.
The Mountain Resorts Branch recently allowed David Harley’s Zincton All-Season Resort idea to move to the next stage. The Formal Proposal must address concerns and issues raised during the Expression of Interest stage, of which there are many, and provide a higher level of detail on intended development plans and financial feasibility. If a Formal Proposal is submitted, there will be another round of review and comment by multiple provincial agencies, First Nations, stakeholders and local government, including a public open house.
“The initial Expression of Interest from Zincton received a lot of opposition,” said K.L. Kivi, a member of The Wild Connection coalition and representative of the Autonomous Sinixt.
Much of the local, provincial, and Indigenous opposition relates to the serious impacts Zincton would have on wildlife, and especially grizzly bears, as the resort is planned to be built in prime grizzly bear habitat, in a critical wildlife corridor which connects Goat Range and Kokanee Provincial Parks. “The area is known as piq kiʔláwnaʔ, named by the Sinixt after the rare White Grizzly found here”, added Kivi.
There is also very serious concern about the impacts this kind of development would have on the existing community and culture of the nearby villages – which are currently quaint, peaceful, and affordable. “Studies repeatedly show that small communities are negatively impacted by large scale recreation resorts. Housing prices significantly increase, scarce housing becomes even scarcer, and any resort jobs typically pay minimum wage,” noted Blackshaw. “When resorts like the Zincton proposal provide shops and services on site, resort visitors don’t tend to support surrounding communities.”
In addition, recreationists across the region have opposed Zincton because it restricts local access to the crown land they have been using for decades.
The Wild Connection and partners are requesting that a regional planning process occur for the Central Selkirk Mountains, seeing hope as Revelstoke was recently successful with a Section 17 moratorium, prompted by protest against a similarly controversial proposed commercial development on their cherished Mount Begbie.
“Planning provides the much needed process and time to assess current and potential cumulative ecological and socio-economic impacts,” said Blackshaw. “We are in a new era and these proposals must be reviewed under many lenses. It is no longer an option for one government branch to just go ahead and approve a resort. This, in fact, flies in the face of B.C.’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and modernized land use planning”, added Kivi.
People are encouraged to join the request for the Province to take real leadership and allow for regional planning before any decisions are made. Visit TheWildConnection.ca/presspause.