Local activists learned about ski resort development during the 30 years of the Jumbo Wild campaign. Together, Kootenay communities upheld shared values of wilderness preservation, right-sized, development and democractic process. And now we have to do it again.
The Zincton Village proposal, apart from being another land grab in prime grizzly habitat, is deeply flawed in many ways:
1. Wilderness: travel between New Denver and Kaslo to understand the profound ecologically values of that area. A diversity of animals and plants thrive there – including 41 listed threatened species in adjacent Goat Range Park -because the ecosystem is robust. How many places are still so healthy and accessible?
2. Water: witnessing this spring’s Carpenter Creek blow-out, one understands there are land stability issues up above. Kane Creek, a tributary of Carpenter, uprooted massive trees and sent dirty water into Slocan Lake. Erosion and subsequent sedimentation have huge impacts on water quality and quantity, affecting everything downstream. It is unwise to add more trails, soil compaction, roads, disturbance and other infrastructure to such unstable terrain.
3. First Nations: local Sinixt people (and settlers) use the area for important cultural activities such as berry picking, root digging, fishing, hunting and medicine harvesting. In violation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, the Sinixt who uphold their millenia-long inhabitation, use and laws on their unceded traditional territory have not been consulted.
4. Socio-economic impact: the giveaway that a ski resort is a poorly disguised land grab is the proposal’s scale. Zincton, with 1,500 daily visitors is completely out of whack with our 500-inhabitant New Denver village culture and infrastructure. It would swamp us rather than support resilient and right-sized economic growth. Plus, the Kootenays already have 13 ski resorts – many of them not fully subscribed.
5. Finally, the proposed tenure includes the popular Whitewater Canyon hike. Those trails were developed by EcoSociety volunteers for public use and we love them!
Having worked on the Jumbo Wild! campaign for over 20 years, I’m having a bad case of deja vu. Send comments to MountainResortsBranch@gov.bc.ca by June 22.