Simpcw mull options to develop land within Glacier Destination ski resort

Simpcw Chief Nathan Matthew (middle), signs the Impact and Benefit Agreement with VGD’s Oberto Oberti (right).

by EVAN MATTHEWS

The Simpcw First Nation does not yet have  specific plans for their land within the Valemount Glacier Destinations resort village, Chief Nathan Matthew told the Goat this week, but they are looking at options.

The resort, given final government approvals March 28th, will be located in the Premier Mountain Range — Simpcw First Nation territory — and, as part of the Impact and Benefits Agreement, the Simpcw will have Band property within the resort village.

“We’re in the planning stages… We don’t have any definite plans right now,” says Simpcw First Nation Chief Nathan Matthew.

When asked how much land the Simpcw Band owns as part of their agreement with the proponent, Chief Matthew declined to comment.

In the VGD Master Plan, the proponent writes that one of their main objectives is to create a model project in terms of cooperation with the First Nations. “This project is seen as a unique opportunity to introduce British Columbia’s First Nations to the international tourism and ski industry, creating a valley destination of their own, and re-positioning a significant area to their ownership and control,” it reads.

“We’re just like everybody else; looking at the Master Plan and looking at some of the options,” Chief Matthew says.
The Simpcw’s decision-making process also hinges on how the resort is governed, according to Chief Matthew.

“We’ll see how the Village is going to develop and see what would be an appropriate use for the property we have there.

“With a bigger project we’d be looking, most logically, to partner with someone to develop the land,” says Chief Matthew.

“It looks like we have quite a few options regarding some kind of economic venture there within the core of the development,” he says.

The resort will provide public access to glaciers at over 3,000 metres (9,850 feet) ­— the only such access in North America — with a vertical drop of 2,050 metres (6,726 feet), the largest in North America and third largest in the world.