We have concerns about Zincton. Public Comments Needed NOW

 

The formal proposal for the Zincton All-Seasons Resort located in the Goat Mountain range between New Denver and Kaslo was released on September 13th. From now to November 22 the government is hosting a public review and comment period. 

While the proposal considers many more environmentally friendly approaches than a typical development, it has the allowance to host more than 1,200 people a day at the resort in sensitive grizzly bear, caribou and wolverine habitat, threaten access to pristine wilderness for local people and Indigenous peoples, impact drinking water, and increase carbon pollution. 

How to submit comments for this proposal: 

Public comment and review period

The public review and comment period will run from October 21 to November 22, 2021.  Please submit your comments during the review period online at https://comment.nrs.gov.bc.ca/applications (search for 4406015) or by mail to Mountain Resorts Branch, 510 – 175 2nd Ave, Kamloops BC V2C 5W1. Or click here to go directly to the page.

For further information

If you have any questions related to the project or the process please feel free to contact:

  • Zoran Boskovic, Senior Manager Major Projects at 250-371-3933, Zoran.Boskovic@gov.bc.ca or;
  • Barb Wheatley, Land Officer at 250-319-2911, Barb.Wheatley@gov.bc.ca

Key concerns to pick from for your comments submission:

 Indigenous Consultation

  • The Autonomous Sinixt, whose traditional territory this development is proposed in, have not been included in the process. Yet the developer has been in conversation with neighbouring Band Councils. The developer states they are committed to engagement with all interested First Nations. This is not the case. 

Access for all people

  • The public lands between New Denver and Kaslo are stunning and offer opportunities for residents and visitors to access nature for hiking, berry picking, skiing, biking and fishing. By granting Zincton’s resort application the developer would have year round control to this area and could prevent local residents and visitors from accessing nature trails that have been around and used freely for years, as per Land Use Operational Policy All-Seasons Resort section 7.2.1 Lease (Land Act Section 22-38). Super, Natural British Columbia should be responsibly accessible to all.
  • The developer’s plan estimates backcountry trail users would number over 300 people/day.
  • A Master Plan for the region is needed to ensure the directions going forward benefit local residents and Indigenous peoples of the region and protect public access.

Clean water does not belong to the wealthy

  • Where will the resort get drinking water and other water for resort uses? Creeks in this area feed into New Denver residents’ well water. Residents of the area deserve clean drinking water, without having a luxury resort divert drinking water for wealthy guests and potentially leave the community with contaminated water from sewage, heavy metals trapped from mining of the past that could be released, or less water. These creeks also drain into Slocan Lake, and contamination could affect fish and the people and animals that eat the fish.

Wildlife deserves a home, too

  • The development is proposed on known pristine grizzly bear habitat. Grizzlies and humans don’t mix, with the bears being the big losers when they encounter humans too often. Not only will individual bears be at risk for being killed for being too close to people and their garbage, but bear populations in the proposal area and areas adjacent will decline without this important corridor to connect their habitats.
  • Wolverines, mountain goats and Western Toads are other animals at risk in the neighbouring Goat Range Provincial Park. There are many skiing and biking resorts in BC, but there are fewer and fewer of these animals at risk in their native habitat.
  • The developer says they are working with local groups to create a 10,000-acre summer wildlife corridor within the proposed tenure. However, only 5% of the proposed corridor is within the Zincton tenure. The opportunity to protect the other 95% lying outside the tenure will require neighbouring operators to work together. Although Zincton is “eager” to participate in those efforts this plan has no mention of who the other partners are, if they have been contacted or if they are willing to cooperate. 

Not actually a low carbon resort

  • While this resort claims to limit the environmental footprint of the operations by having an emphasis on backcountry adventure tourism, and it may be able to generate enough electricity to power its buildings and chair lifts with renewable energy, and the village itself may be pedestrian-only, there is no way the resort could control the transportation of over 1,200 people (resort capacity) coming every day to work and play at the resort without an increase in carbon pollution.
  • Additionally, the resort would inevitably generate volumes of garbage and sewage every day that have not been addressed in the Zincton Expression of Interest.
  • The Village of New Denver and the Village of Kaslo along with seven other local governments in the West Kootenays have committed to transition to 100% renewable energy within their communities. Carbon pollution from transportation is the largest source of community carbon emissions in the region and a resort-like this will only increase the carbon pollution. This development proposal is out of line with the goals of CleanBC that the provincial government has said it’s committed to meeting.

Economic benefits for those who need it locally

  • During construction, the jobs and industry will likely result in the need to bring in workers from outside the local area. This will likely result in either: temporary workcamps or temporary and transient people living in a nearby community. The developer needs to ensure local people are getting jobs, housing, as well as ensuring the safety of the local communities. 
  • 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. 

For more information about the Zincton All-Seasons Resort Proposal click here to access the government information page.

 

Looking to take more action? Join us on November 18th at 7 pm for a letter-writing workshop. Register here: https://www.ecosociety.ca/event/zincton-letter-blitz/