Kaslo Special Council meeting, Dec. 14, 2021: a municipal Zincton summit?

·3 min read

Village councillors are going to ask for more time to respond to the Zincton ski resort proposal. Council directed staff to ask the provincial Mountain Resorts Branch for an extension to February 15, 2022.

The original deadline for comments was late November. The Province extended that deadline by a month, after receiving thousands of responses from the public. Now council says it needs even more time to respond.

That is in part because of a letter from the mayor of Silverton, asking the neighbouring municipalities if they shouldn’t meet to discuss a coordinated response to the resort project, and to ask the Province for more time to formulate a joint submission.

While Mayor Colin Ferguson said Silverton council is taking a neutral stand on the project at this time, he added “the known trajectories of similar ski developments elsewhere present a compelling argument for pause and education.”

Ferguson points out that the ski resort project is being considered in isolation from the Zincton village development.

“To this end, the Village of Silverton believes we need direct government‐to‐government dialogue before these projects proceed, rather than a piecemeal evaluation after the fact. Considering the merits and effects of one of these developments in the absence of the other will not paint a full picture of their impacts. A thorough review, including large‐scale landscape planning, a comprehensive wildlife review, and scrutiny of cumulative effects – which includes the aspirations of local communities ‐ is vital,” wrote Mayor Ferguson.

Staff were directed to continue talks with other local municipal officials and politicians to come up with a meeting time. RDCK Area D Director Aimee Watson and Area H Director Walter Popoff will also be invited to attend any discussion.

The Zincton project proponent has applied for tenure for 5,500 ha of land about 30 kilometres west of Kaslo for an all-seasons ski, hike and cycle resort. At the December 14 council meeting, council received several letters from residents of Kaslo, New Denver, Silverton and other communities in the region opposing the project, one letter supporting the project from a Metis Indigenous leader, and several pages of information from the project proponent.

Moyie grant

The Village is going to support an application by the Kootenay Lake Historical Society for a grant to do much-needed restoration work on the SS Moyie.The ‘Time Immemorial 150’ grant will allow an organization to apply for up to $500,000 to “support shovel-ready projects to conserve, repair, rehabilitate or develop cultural heritage infrastructure that is valued and used by the diverse communities where it is situated.”

The provincial funding program aims to “advance reconciliation and learning; promote a diverse and inclusive society including honouring underrepresented and marginalized communities in our history… and support resiliency into the next 150 years.”

The work on the Moyie is estimated to cost $405,000. The society has raised $35,000 for the project, and has requested contributions from the Columbia Basin Trust ($35,000) and the Village of Kaslo ($20,000). They will apply to the granting agency (Heritage BC) for the rest.

“In terms of leveraging taxpayers’ dollars in order to get the best value for that money, I think that turning $20,000 of Village funds into a project budget of $405,000 is pretty respectable,” she told council, noting that the Village contribution would cover 5% of the total project cost.

Councillors didn’t need much persuading – the Moyie is a Village-owned asset – so councillors passed a motion to provide a letter of support for the grant application, along with a commitment of $20,000.

The decision on the grant application is expected by February.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

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