Newsletter Jumbo Glacier Alpine Resort Proposal

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1 Newsletter Jumbo Glacier Alpine Resort Proposal August Number 1 - Environmental Assessment Office Province of British Columbia The Jumbo Glacier Alpine Resort Proposal Pheidias Project Management Corporation (Pheidias), on behalf of Glacier Resorts Ltd. (Glacier Resorts), has submitted a proposal to develop a year-round alpine resort in the Jumbo Creek valley, located in the Purcell Mountain Range, west of Invermere. The Jumbo Glacier development would focus on lift-serviced access to vistas opening on to the Lake of the Hanging Glacier, as well as on to some of the largest and highest glaciers in the region. As proposed, the development would be completed in three main phases. The initial phase would see development at the base of Glacier Dome, located at the northern end of the Jumbo Creek valley. An access lift to the top of Glacier Dome would be installed, plus two or three t-bar lifts located on the glacier. The company would operate the t-bar lifts year-round. In addition, the first hotel/lodge complex would be built, with an initial capacity of 100 rooms. This complex would eventually be expanded to a total of 200 rooms, providing approximately 400 bed spaces. In the second phase, construction of a resort village would take place, located approximately two kilometers south of the original hotel/lodge complex. Ski lifts from this site would be developed in stages, providing connections to Glacier Dome and Jumbo Mountain glacier and lookouts. Initial plans for the village include a 300-room hotel (approximately 600 bed spaces) and additional tourist facilities, such as apartments, two more hotels, shops, restaurants, and other recreational facilities. Ultimately, the total bed base in the village would comprise approximately 5,500 bed spaces, including staff accommodations. The total area required for this phase of the development is approximately 28 hectares. The third and final phase of the development would entail the addition of up to 172 single family dwellings, constructed to the east and west of the proposed village. The total estimated area required for

2 these dwellings and associated roadways is approximately 200 hectares. Development of each phase could take several years, since construction periods will be confined to the summer months. Phase 1 is expected to take from two to four years to complete. Glacier Resorts anticipates a pause of up to two years between Phases 1 and 2. Development of Phase 2 could take at least 15 to 20 years to complete, and perhaps longer. In total, the skiable terrain at the Jumbo Glacier Alpine Resort, including the areas licensed for ski runs and connecting territory, would encompass 1600 hectares of land in the Jumbo Creek valley, and would include a village with a capacity of 7,000 bed spaces for both visitors and staff. Previous Review History The company first communicated its interest in developing a ski resort on Crown land in the Jumbo Creek valley to government in Pheidias, in April 1991, submitted a formal expression of interest to the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks under the Commercial Alpine Ski Policy (CASP), which is coordinated by BC Lands. In response to a call for proposals issued by that Ministry, the company then submitted a formal proposal in February of 1993, and was selected in March of 1993 as the sole proponent for the development proposal under CASP. In 1993, consideration of this project under the CASP review process was deferred, pending completion of a land-use plan for the East Kootenay region. In March 1995, the provincial government announced its decision on the East Kootenay land-use plan. The Jumbo Creek valley was included in the Jumbo-Upper Horsethief Creek special resource management zone. In special resource management zones, a full range of resource uses may occur where they can be undertaken in ways which respect sensitive natural and cultural values. In the Jumbo Creek valley area, important scenic, wildlife, tourism and recreation values are highlighted, and commercial tourism activities, such as the Jumbo Glacier proposal, may be approvable if they can be developed with the necessary sensitivity towards these other values. The government is doing further work to develop a full array of management objectives for each identified land-use zone, based on the work of the Commission on Resources and Environment (C.O.R.E.) tables. Results from this work that are available to the Project Committee will form part of the context for assessing the potential effects of this project. The C.O.R.E. table recommended that an environmental assessment be undertaken under the Environmental Assessment Act, to evaluate the compatibility of commercial resort development for the Jumbo Creek valley (such as the Pheidias proposal) with other values in the area. The environmental assessment process provides for public involvement to ensure that all values and perspectives are fully considered in a final decision. With the proclamation of B.C.'s new Environmental Assessment Act on June 30, 1995, responsibility for

3 administration and coordination of this project review has been transferred to the new Environmental Assessment (EA) Office. Issues Identified in the Past Key issues raised in the past by the public (during the previous CASP review process) include: Environmental Issues Wildlife habitat impacts Impacts on wilderness character (including impacts on wilderness recreation values in the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy and around Lake of the Hanging Glacier) Water quality/quantity Waste disposal Safety and control of avalanches Economic Issues Infrastructure costs (effects on public purse) vs. income to the province and to out-of-country investors Local economic benefits Achievability of target markets/effects on nearby ski resorts Mineral potential Impacts on licensed guide-outfitters and trappers Logging in adjacent areas Increase in park use in the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy (i.e. additional budget and facilities) Social Issues Effects on community character Accessibility to local skiers (i.e. affordability of facilities) Effects of Jumbo Pass highway proposal on local communities - C.O.R.E. table recommended against this proposal, which is not part of the Jumbo Glacier resort proposal Displacement of local recreationalists Heritage conservation (re: possible aboriginal travel corridor) Aboriginal rights and impacts on traditional use areas (e.g. impacts on animal and food fish resources utilized by First Nations) Process Issues Provision of sufficient time for public input

4 Credibility of research results Environmental Assessment of the Jumbo Glacier Alpine Resort Proposal The process set out in the Environmental Assessment Act is designed to ensure an open, neutrally administered evaluation of the key policy and technical issues associated with the potential impacts of proposed developments. The process includes substantial opportunities for public and First Nations involvement at each stage of review. The review process is comprehensive involving consideration of significant environmental, economic, social, cultural, heritage and health effects of the proposal. Ultimately, the decision to approve or reject the Jumbo Glacier proposal, or to require a public hearing, will be a joint decision of the Minister of Environment, Lands and Parks and the Minister of Employment and Investment (who has been designated the "Responsible Minister" for ski developments under the Act). If the project eventually requires a formal public hearing, the decision to approve or reject the project would then be made by full Cabinet. Next Steps in the Review Process The proponent has submitted a five-volume submission, entitled Jumbo Glacier Alpine Resort and dated June 2, 1995, in support of its application for a project approval certificate. This documentation has been accepted for formal detailed review by the EA Office, and contains information on the project's history, conceptual development plan, project planning and operations, environmental and socio-economic implications, and economic feasibility. The application documentation has been placed on the Project Registry to facilitate public review (see below for additional information about the Project Registry). A Project Committee has being formed to steer the review of the application. Representatives from provincial, federal and local governments and First Nations have been invited to sit on the committee. The committee will consider comments on the application received from the public, First Nations and government agencies in its review. Members of the public are invited to review the proponent's application documentation, and to provide written comments on issues of interest and concern raised by the proposed development. The deadline for public comments on the application documentation had been set for September 5, At its August 2, 1995 meeting, the Project Committee decided to extend the public comment period until September 20, Also at its August meeting, the Project Committee concluded that it would be necessary for the proponent to file a project report (or detailed impact assessment submission) at the next stage of review. This submission will be expected to deal with issues which were either not identified or not fully addressed in the application documentation. The Project Committee will develop draft specifications (or terms of reference) for the project report and make them public. If the Project Committee had concluded

5 that further reporting by the proponent is not required prior to a final decision on the project, then it would have made recommendations to the two ministers with respect to acceptance or rejection of the proponent's application. However, since a project report will be required, there will be no referral to ministers for a decision at the end of the first stage of review. The public will have up to 30 days to provide comments on the project report specifications in draft form. A stakeholder group workshop will be held during this step to provide opportunities for interested parties to raise questions about the draft specifications, and to ensure that their concerns are communicated to the Project Committee. After this public comment period, the Project Committee will finalize the specifications and provide them to the proponent. On receipt of the finalized project report specifications, the proponent will be expected to prepare and submit the project report. There is no legislated time-frame for the preparation of a project report by the proponent, since the scope of issues to be addressed in project reports will vary considerably from one project to another. Upon submission of the project report to the EA Office, there will be a further opportunity for public review and comment for a period between 45 and 60 days. At the conclusion of the project report review stage, the Project Committee must make recommendations to the two ministers. It may recommend that the project be approved (with conditions), that the project not be approved, or that unresolved issues be considered further at a public hearing, which would be held by the Environmental Assessment Board, an independent review panel set up under the Environmental Assessment Act. Project Committee The Project Committee is being chaired by Raymond L. Crook, one of the Project Assessment Directors from the EA Office in Victoria. Formal invitations for membership on the committee were forwarded to various federal, provincial and local government agencies, and First Nations and the following have provisionally agreed to sit as Project Committee members: Provincial Ministries Ministry of Transportation and Highways Ministry of Social Services Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks Ministry of Municipal Affairs Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

6 Ministry of Health Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Ministry of Employment and Investment Ministry of Small Business, Tourism and Culture Ministry of Forests Ministry of Housing, Recreation and Consumer Services Ministry of Attorney General Federal Government Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency - has already identified Fisheries and Oceans Canada and may identify other departments. Project Registry Local Governments Regional District of East Kootenay District of Invermere Village of Radium Hot Springs First Nations Shuswap Indian Band Columbia Lake Band Ktunaxa-Kinbasket Tribal Council An important feature of the new EA process is the creation of a Project Registry, which will contain key technical reports, internal government review documents and public and First Nations comments

7 received by the EA Office during review of a project. For the Jumbo Glacier project review, this material is being made available at the central Project Registry in Victoria, and at three locations in the region of development. Environmental Assessment Office Project Registry 1st floor, 836 Yates Street Victoria, BC V8V 1X4 tel: (250) fax: (250) Cranbrook Public Library 20-17th Avenue North Cranbrook, BC V1C 3W8 tel: (250) Invermere Public Library PO Box A - 7th Ave. Invermere, BC V0A 1K0 tel: (250) Nelson Public Library 602 Stanley Street Nelson, BC V1L 1N4 tel: (250) To be placed on the Mailing List for the review of the Jumbo Glacier project, send the following information to the EAO Project Registry (address above): Name: Title: Organization: Mailing Address: Telephone No.: Fax No.: Address: I would like information on: Jumbo Glacier project review

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