by KORIE MARSHALL
The Master Plan was accepted in October, and the deadline for comment has passed, but the Province has no deadlines for a decision on an all-seasons resort proposed just west of Valemount.
“We are hard at work in responding to agency and public comments on the Master Plan as they come in to us from the Resorts Management Branch,” says Tommaso Oberto, spokesperson for Valemount Glacier Destinations (VGD), proponents of the resort project. “Still a ways to go.”
The final Master Plan for the all-season skiing and sight-seeing resort was accepted by the province’s Resort’s Branch in October, and the deadline for public comment was Dec. 4th. Sharon Dean, communications manager with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations says comments from stakeholders were received until Dec. 12th. She says ministry staff is working with the proponent to address issues identified, and consultation with First Nations and stakeholders is ongoing.
“Typically, the Master Plan review processes can take a year or longer,” says Dean.
The Village of Valemount invited the proponent to consider the Valemount area for a mountain resort development in 2011. In 2012, Valemount Glacier Destinations Ltd. submitted a formal proposal, and the ministry approved an interim agreement in March 2013. Investors for the Master Plan process and potentially for the first construction phase of the project were announced in January 2015.
If the Master Plan is approved, the proponents can enter into a master development agreement with the province and begin construction of infrastructure like ski lifts and a mountain-top restaurant.
On Nov. 4th, the proponents held a joint open house with ministry staff and staff from the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George. The Regional District board has passed initial reading of an amendment to the Official Community Plan (OCP) for the resort proposal, but a public hearing is still required, and has not yet been scheduled. A zoning amendment is also required, which may overlap with the OCP amendment process, but the OCP change must be adopted before the zoning change can be finalized, says Regional District spokesperson Renee McCloskey.
During the November meeting, Oberto said VGD was hoping for a quick approval which could mean the lifts could open to the public in time for Canada Day 2017.