Wendell Maki owns Kootenay Heli-Ski Inc. as well as Kootenay Valley Helicopters

Wendell Maki owns Kootenay Heli-Ski Inc. as well as Kootenay Valley Helicopters

Ministry urges Kootenay Heli-Ski to hold public meeting

The RDCK and the Kootenay Mountaineering Club requested a public meeting regarding the proposed tenure which borders Kokanee Glacier Park.

Those waiting for a decision on Kootenay Heli-Ski’s commercial land tenure may be waiting  a while longer.

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations spokesman Greig Bethel told the Star the application is under review and there is no timeline for a decision. He confirmed ministry staff are working with the proponent on the application.

Bethel also confirmed the ministry’s regional land officer has urged the proponent, Kootenay Heli-Ski Inc., to hold a public meeting as requested by stakeholders. Wendell Maki owns the company, as well as Kootenay Valley Helicopters based in Nelson.

As of Tuesday, Area E regional director Ramona Faust said she has not heard anything about a possible meeting but, “it could just show up in our correspondence list on the agenda.”

The Regional District of Central Kootenay asked FrontCounter BC for a public meeting in June as did the Kootenay Mountaineering Club in a letter dated May 1 through the public submissions process.

Although a decision was expected within 140 days of the application, acting manager Barry Coleman at Castlegar FrontCounter BC said that’s just a target rather than a steadfast rule. However, the ministry meets that target more than 80 per cent of the time. He said it sometimes takes longer but could not speak directly to this application.

The management plan submitted with the tenure application on March 11 proposes operating a heli-ski operation beginning in December on 14,666 hectares of crown land which runs along the borders of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park.