Misconceptions about Zincton All-Seasons Resort

We’re concerned people like you and local communities are being misled. The developer continues to use misleading claims and images to promote the Zincton All-Seasons Resort as an environmentally and community friendly project. In discussions with people in local communities, local environmental scientists and wildlife biology experts, it’s clear there is a lot of confusion and misinformation from the Zincton proposal. 

The Zincton Resort development nearly completely blocks off a critical wildlife corridor and their seasonal protection zone leaves out critical grizzly, wolverine, mountain goat and western toad habitat. 

 

Above left map from Zincton Formal Proposal, September 2021 showing the proposed seasonal Protection Zone within the tenure application. Above right map shows the entire critical wildlife corridor (shaded grey) and the entire impending Zincton proposal (shaded red). 

The developer is proposing a “10,000 acres Wildlife Corridor Protection Zone” that will be closed seasonally (summer only). In reality 95% of the critical wildlife corridor remains unprotected and would be almost completely cut off by the Zincton tenure and Village. Furthermore, a seasonal closure would be difficult to enforce in general. 

There is substantial area excluded within the Zincton portion of the “protection zone” to still allow for lodge acces, terrain access, and grizzly bear viewing. In addition, Zincton Mountain Village located on private land adjacent to the tenure proposal will operate year round within critical wolverine, grizzly and mountain goat habitats. 

The entire proposed development, including the Zincton Mountain Village and the recreation tenure area would block a critical wildlife corridor between two existing provincial parks which local people, environmental scientists and wildlife biology experts have been asking the government to protect for decades. This corridor is one of the best all-season habitats for grizzly, wolverine, mountain goats and western toads and other critically endangered species in the region which the government has spent years and taxpayer dollars to research how to protect.

The developers are not working with all interested Indigenous Peoples.

We have heard from the Indigenous caretakers of this land that they have not been involved in any consultations. The Sinixt are not mentioned by the developer in their Land Acknowledgement. The developer is ignoring their responsibility to engage with The Sinixt under the guise that the BC Government doesn’t require it. This goes against the nature of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People – both the developer and the BC Mountain Resorts Branch need to be held accountable to this.

Furthermore, the Yaqan Nukiy of the Ktunaxa Nation (Lower Kootenay Band), have requested that the Regional District of Central Kootenay ask the province to put the project on temporary hold. 

Both examples are in direct conflict with the developer’s claim that they are working with all interested Indigenous and First Nations partners.

The Zincton proposal is not a climate neutral resort.

The developer has not defined “climate neutral”. We will assume the developer is aiming for “carbon neutrality” which is generally understood to mean the developer will offset carbon and/or use carbon free sources in order to neutralise, or balance, carbon inputs and outputs for the entire development and operation of the resort. There is too much ambiguity in the developer’s plan for “climate neutral” because of the following red flags:

The surrounding municipalities of New Denver, Silverton, Slocan and Kaslo, and the Regional District of Central Kootenay have all committed to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050. If the All-Season Zincton Resort is developed, how would these communities achieve their goal? The developer says they will use an existing hydroelectric dam to provide electricity to the lifts and to Zincton Village. They also say they will have electric buses to shuttle people. Will this hydroelectric power be enough for all development and ongoing operations at all times? Will these buses be shuttling people from the lower mainland and out of province and will that meet the potential 1,200 people per day? Will the “luxury” visitors want to take bus transport with dozens of other people? What about worker transportation every day to and from the village and surrounding areas? What about the carbon from people flying to the region? There is so much more to consider to be able to attain climate neutrality such as managing sewage and garbage and building materials for an entire village and housing for workers.

$13.1 million is a drop in the bucket of what it could cost in environmental remediation. The group who would be managing the money is in direct conflict of interest.

The developer’s proposed $13.1 million for environmental remediation is completely inadequate for remediation the developer is proposing for the Zinction tenure and surrounding area. The environmental study completed by a Whistler-based firm (hired by the developer) is inadequate and does not nearly address the research needed to determine a remediation plan. In-depth and independent research needs to be completed to determine the appropriate action and cost. Overall, the developer is grossly underestimating the cost, complexity, and longevity of what cleaning up the area could look like. 

Additionally, this $13.1 million fund would be managed by a not-for-profit organization – Zincton Institute –  the developer claims will be managed at arms-length from the development. However, the Zincton Institute’s Board consists of members of the resort’s development team. Another notable member is in direct conflict with the Indigenous caretakers of this land. This is a clear conflict of interest and refutes the developer’s claims of Indigenous engagement. 

There is weak evidence and no guarantee that the Zincton All-Seasons Resort will create secure local jobs and support the community. 

Community values surveys and Official Community Plans reflect local peoples’ desire to keep this area quiet and affordable, and to protect wild spaces. The Zincton Mountain Village proposed to be developed on private land adjacent to the tenure proposal could contain a population of 1,270 residents, guests and employees, and is located within a critical wildlife corridor – this alone negatively impacts key community values. 

During construction of the village, lodge and other amenities, the jobs and trade skills identified will require bringing in workers from outside the local area and/or prefabrication elsewhere and trucking into the region (as proposed by the developer). This will result in economic benefits leaking back outside the local area. How is the developer going to ensure local people are prioritized for jobs and housing to keep economic benefits local?

Most of the jobs after construction will be tourism-related which are notoriously lower income, temporary, and fail to accommodate family-friendly options (e.g., childcare). In ski towns across the province, jobs are often given to temporary residents from other countries. There has been no mention of the developer ensuring living wage incomes to all positions and making sure they are year-round. Year-round living wage jobs will benefit the local community, anything less is harmful.  

Is Zincton a nature and community-friendly project or is it just another luxury all-season resort designed for profit at the cost of the values that matter most to local communities?  

We will continue to monitor the Zincton development proposal and to make sure these concerns and misconceptions are meaningfully addressed with clear strategies and tactics that make sense for the health and safety of communities and wilderness especially in the face of the climate change and biodiversity crisis facing our region. For more information about the Zincton All-Seasons Resort Proposal click here to access the government information page.