Zincton promoters answer questions at virtual open house – Nelson Star


The environmental issue recently took center stage during a virtual open house for the potential new ski resort in the region.

While the question-and-answer period at Thursday night’s online open house for Zincton was brief – with less than 12 questions posed by the panel – it had a green theme.

Hosted by the Province’s Beach Resorts Directorate, the evening included opening comments on Zincton’s proposal by developer David Harley, an overview of the review process by management’s Zoran Boskovic, and the formal presentation of the proposal. of Zincton by Harley, Dave Williamson of Cascades Environmental and Brent Harley of Brent Harley and Associates.

One of the main concerns raised at the start of the public question period was the # 1 concern of those who oppose the project: that increased awareness and use in the Goat Pass area will cause an increase in environmental damage.

But it was not, insisted David Harley.

“If left in an unmanaged state, there could be a risk of this kind of outcome, but that is not what is offered under the controlled recreation area,” he said.

“It would be managed and there would be no uncontrolled access by anyone who feels the need to go up there and do whatever they want when they want with the toys they want.

“This is where the impacts typically occur with wildlife: during inappropriate and unexpected activities on the landscape. This is simply not the raison d’être of Zincton.

Others have asked how much public land will be privatized to create Zincton. Although the option for more land was available to Zincton, it was turned down, David Harley said.

“We believe that we do not need additional land to finance the project,” he said. “We declined the offer and we want all this land to be intact, in one piece and available for future generations. “

Another person wondered how the cumulative effects of the proposal were being managed relative to other land uses in the region.

Boskovic said the provincial Zincton project review team was actively seeking the “biggest” data on values ​​of concern.

“We are working with our sister agencies and GIS analysts within the ministry to receive the information and understand the current conditions of the values ​​of the concerns,” he said, adding that the assessments were strategic and covered a wide area, they were therefore not specific to the project.

He said there was no requirement to do cumulative effects at the current stage of the planning process.

An overview of the proposal

Zincton – located in the Goat Pass area in the Slocan Valley – is offered as an inclusive ski area with ski lifts with ski touring, with what will be the lowest density ski area in the world if it comes to pass.

The village of Zincton is located on private land and not on the tenured land that is part of the nomination.

The village of Zincton will occupy approximately 70 acres of private land, with the lift company managing only lifts, security, routes and reservations.

Several amenities should appear in the village, with a few commercial buildings with residences above. People employed by the mountains could live in residences on the hills.

The gondola to the village will be free to residents and all visitors year round, with staff residence accommodation on the hill helping to reduce housing pressure on neighboring communities.

Some asked what the impact might be on the region’s wildlife and how the resident wildlife had been considered in planning for Zincton.

Williamson said the idea was to avoid interactions with wildlife and manage activities that take place in the landscape.

“We think it’s still the best tool in the quiver for wildlife strikes,” he said.

He said spatial and seasonal closures during times when wildlife occupied an area would occur.

Skiers and hibernating grizzly bears raised some concern.

“Due to the nature of the operation and the environmental management plan, the goal is to locate any dens that may have been established over the winter and mark them as no-go areas and ensure that everyone knows that, ”said Williamson.

“Monitoring will be an active part of the project, I understand, as it progresses. “

The question of how Zincton will affect the public and long-term residents who currently use the pass has been asked.

“In winter, the idea is that the entire area of ​​occupancy remains open for human-powered recreation at no cost from the Fish Lake and Murray Creek parking lot,” said David Harley.

“We are very aware of the historical use and it has certainly been used for the past 30 years by off-piste skiers.

“So recognizing that, we offered seasonal packages to backcountry skiers and 110 people signed up and received seasonal lift packages. “

He added that being able to improve the terrain with emergency huts and EV bus transport, and improve avalanche management systems would be of benefit to anyone using the grounds.

Public comment and review period

The public review and comment period runs until November 23.

You may submit comments through the Applications, Comments and Reasons for Decision website during the review period online at https://comment.nrs.gov.bc.ca/applications (search 4406015) or by mail to Mountain Resorts Branch, 510 – 175 2e avenue, Kamloops, V2C 5W1

Land and wildlife first

One of the hallmarks of the proposal is sanitation, not development, of the hinterland, David Harley said in his presentation.

Land tenure land is public land and cannot be subdivided or sold with very little development: a hinterland pavilion halfway along London Ridge, leveling and up to seven very small emergency huts in the hinterland, he said.

Even so, only 20 percent of the tenure’s land will be used for land served by ski lifts, the remainder being reserved for ski touring.

Harley said in the proposal portion of his presentation that there are more than 200 mining claims in the land, including the former mining district of Retallack, which existed from 1890 to 1960, before remediation laws existed.

Once approved to proceed, Zincton has pledged one percent of its ski revenue to fund a $ 13 million, 60-year cleanup of the contaminated mining district of Retallack.

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