Supporters of ambitious Chilliwack ski resort project press ahead – Abbotsford News
Promoters of an ambitious all-weather resort near Chilliwack recently attended a mountain tourism industry conference in France last month and they met key industry stakeholders at an event in a ski resort in Lake Louise, Alberta.
The ambitious all-weather project Bridal Veil Mountain Resort (BVMR) is currently working with the Provincial Directorate of Mountain Resorts and is at the expression of interest stage.
The huge all-weather mountain resort is proposed to have gondolas, skiing, snowboarding and approximately 11,500 acres of mountain recreation terrain in the mountains south of Chilliwack spanning Areas D and E of the Regional District of the Fraser Valley.
The proposed project area overlaps with a much smaller proposal that is in the planning stage at the same time, the Cascade Skyline Gondola Project (CSGP).
The BVMR and CSGP projects are currently the subject of a “beauty contest” with the provincial government, according to CSGP promoter Jayson Faulkner.
While Faulkner touted the gondola project as relatively low impact and the partnership with neighboring Cheam First Nation, the two projects are quite different. The BVMR proposal is a much larger all-season resort project.
The CSGP project would elevate guests from the base of Bridal Falls Golf Course 1,250 meters to the mountain peaks above. From here there would be a variety of walking and hiking options ranging from difficult to moderate to wheelchair accessible. The more ambitious might wander extensively in the mountains while others might just enjoy the ride up and down.
BVMR supporters issued a press release in late April stating that two members of the project were planning to attend Mountain Planet in France (April 23-28), “where he has accepted an invitation to be one of five speakers international panel exploring mountain tourism industry issues and strategies.
At the same time, other members of the BVMR team met with key industry stakeholders at the Canada West Ski Areas Association (CWSAA) annual spring meeting in Lake Louise, Alberta (April 26-28 ).
“Mountain Planet is the world’s largest and most prestigious conference for mountain development,” the statement said. “Organized every two years in Grenoble and Alpe d’Huez in France, it brings together more than 23,000 professionals from 67 countries and 900 brands to explore a wide range of questions and ideas. Participants include ski area operators, national ski associations, destination marketing organizations, equipment manufacturers, service providers and government departments.
“Mountain Planet gives us a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the project, network with potential suppliers, and learn more about the European market and tourists/skiers for whom authentic Aboriginal experiences are a priority,” said said BVMR executive vice-president Jeff Wilson. “Given our commitment to the cultural, traditional and stewardship values of the Stó:lō lands as the foundation of all BVMR planning, we are also excited to explore cutting-edge ideas and technologies that other operators are using to strengthen their environmental sustainability and proactively address any future challenges of climate change.
Wilson emphasized that their project is committed to “Indigenous ownership, design and management, ensuring it is a Stó:lō-led project in S’ólh Téméxw.”
While the BVMR project mentions Stó:lō participation, the competing CGSP included the neighboring Cheam First Nation as equity partners.
Certain areas of the mountains used for traditional indigenous practices would be managed and protected from impacts. Traditional uses include both cultural and spiritual practices such as insignia storage, ceremonial use, gathering, and other activities.
“These identified areas could be of critical importance to our culture and its future if identified and protected as part of a broader land planning and management process that CSGP is unique in its ability to provide. “, said Ernie Victor, project manager. for the Cheam First Nation.
Both projects are at the proposal stage in conjunction with different branches of the provincial government, but CGSP has the support of the two local MPs, MP Mark Strahl, the Fraser Valley Regional District, the Mayors of Chilliwack and the District of Kent, Tourism Chilliwack and Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation.
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