The Wild Connection’s Focus
The Wild Connection was formed in response to the Expression of Interest (EOI) filed by the Zincton All-Season Resort, a project we oppose. We believe that updated land use planning is greatly needed in this region, especially in light of the growing commercial interests in Piq kiʔláwnaʔ (the New Denver – Kaslo corridor). We are advocating for a modernized land use plan that assesses the cumulative impacts of existing and proposed commercial and industrial tenures, including current and potential impacts on wildlife habitat and connectivity, community and socio-economic concerns, and Indigenous rights and interests. We are requesting that the Province of BC place a moratorium on the granting of any new, or expansion of existing commercial recreation tenures in piq kiʔláwnaʔ until there is a modernized regional land use plan in place.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and BC’s DRIPA legislation mandates governments, businesses and the settler public to come into right relationship with the First Peoples of BC. This includes free, prior and informed consent from First Peoples for any developments on their lands, recognition of their Traditional Ecological Knowledge, maintenance of their spiritual relationships with their lands and much more.
We are advocating for this land use planning process and an interim moratorium for a number of reasons. The Zincton All-Season Resort proposal is the most immediate and greatest threat but there are others, such as the Mount Brennan Backwoods Recreation proposed tenure, and the cumulative impacts of the existing commercial recreational and industrial tenures. We feel it is inappropriate that approval of the Zincton proposal is being considered through the small lens of The Provincial Government Mountain Resorts Branch, rather than within the much larger and critical scope of modernized land use planning. Such land use planning should be conducted by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (MFLNRORD), the Ministry of State for Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
Mountain Resorts Branch only has the capacity to examine individual proposals. With an increasing number of proposals and competing interests and concerns, the Zincton All-Season Resort and other commercial recreation tenure proposals must be reviewed against the backdrop of the much larger issues of landscape level connectivity and habitat for wildlife, long-term landscape carbon storage, resilience to climate change, and Indigenous traditional use, to name a few. A more all-encompassing process would consider the larger landscape over long time periods. The 1997 Kootenay Boundary land use plan needs to be updated. To address these types of concerns, the BC Government has launched a new modernized land use planning initiative (https://landuseplanning.gov.bc.ca/). The government website states (direct quote from the site):
“However, many of B.C.’s existing land use plans are dated and no longer account for today’s land and resource management challenges. Further, many plans were developed with little involvement of Indigenous Peoples. Today’s land and resource management challenges require a renewed approach to land use planning.”
Provincial government key drivers include (again, direct quote from government website):
- Reconciliation with Indigenous communities and the B.C. government’s commitment to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Ensuring communities and stakeholders are engaged in land and resource planning.
- A growing economy and increased demand on natural resources and the need to balance economic, environmental, social, and cultural objectives.
- Increasing complexity as a result of climate change and factors that affect the land base, including species-at-risk management, wildfires, flooding, and drought.
- Addressing cumulative effects on natural resource values.
The B.C. government, led by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, is modernizing its approach to land use planning and is committed to increased collaboration in the stewardship of natural resources to reflect the diverse values and interests of British Columbians.
The Wild Connection is asking the BC Government to do what it recommends and begin a modernized land use planning process for our region. Until such a process is complete, we believe a moratorium on the granting of any new commercial recreation tenures in piq kiʔláwnaʔ (the New Denver – Kaslo corridor) is required. The moratorium must include the proposed Zincton All-Season Resort, as well as any expansion of existing commercial recreation tenures in the corridor.
“… many of B.C.’s existing land use plans are dated and no longer account for today’s land and resource management challenges. Further, many plans were developed with little involvement of Indigenous Peoples. Today’s land and resource management challenges require a renewed approach to land use planning.”landuseplanning.gov.bc.ca