Zincton Virtual Open Day Theme Turns Green As Approval Process Continues


The environmental issue recently took center stage during the virtual open house for the new potential ski center 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 Mountain Resorts Branch (MRB), the evening included opening comments on Zincton’s proposal – by promoter David Harley – an overview of the review process by MRB’s Zoran Boskovic and the official presentation of Zincton’s proposal by Harley, Dave Williamson and Brent of Cascades Environmental. Harley by Brent Harley and Associates.

One of the main concerns raised at the start of the public question period was the main concern of those opposed to the project: that increased awareness and use in the Goat Pass area will cause increased environmental damage.

But it wasn’t, David Harley noted.

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

“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 of 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 in nature 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 being 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. make sure everyone knows that, ”said Williamson.

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

The question of how the public and long-term residents who currently use the pass will be affected by Zincton 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 ski passes for backcountry skiers (fall 2019) and 110 people signed up and received seasonal lift passes. “

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 will run from October 21 to November 23, 2021.

People can 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;

• Direction des mountain stations, 510 – 175 2nd Ave, Kamloops BC V2C 5W1

Project points

• Approximately five percent of the wildlife corridor is within the proposed tenure.

• Establish a 10,000 acre wildlife corridor protection zone for the summer season.

• Work with existing operators to move from existing heli-skiing and snowmobile tenures to human-powered backcountry tenures.

• Zincton is expected to phase out pre-existing alpine mountain biking trails, supporting the establishment of low-elevation rail trails and wagon routes for biking.

• Zincton will also operate electric vehicle buses between Kaslo, Zincton and New Denver, and will partner with Silversmith Power and Light in Sandon, supporting a local producer of federally certified “green” electricity.

• Zincton will be “climate neutral” from the opening day and every day thereafter.

• The formal proposal includes scientific analysis and conclusions in the environmental overview.

• It was also proposed that the independent, non-profit Zincton Institute be established to study the effects of restoration, remediation and regeneration of the local ecology.

• It will also work with the environmental organization and partner One Percent for the Planet to study, plan and execute the remediation and restoration of the contaminated mining district of Retallack.

Source: https://zincton.com

Land and wildlife first

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

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

Even so, only 20 percent of the land in the lease 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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