Petition against Zincton backcountry proposal picks up support
An online petition against the Zincton back country ski development proposed for the Selkirk Mountains in the Slocan Valley is gathering some steam as a provincial decision on the project is underway.
Over 1,600 people (1,603) have signed the “Stop Zincton!” online petition (www.change.org) directed to the provincial Mountain Resorts Branch in an attempt to stop approval on the plan to build a backcountry ski resort in the Selkirk Mountains.
The creator of the petition, Elsje de Boer, said the development was a designated tourist attraction.
“It will greatly increase greenhouse gas emissions both during construction and once it is in operation,” de Boer wrote. “We don’t need another ski resort. We don’t need another real estate development in the wilderness. We must decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent before 2030.”
A work in progress
A decision on the project is still not forthcoming, according to the Mountain Resorts Branch.
The public comment period on the Zincton project officially closed on Nov. 23, 2021, with the project currently in the formal proposal review process, explained Jennifer Isaac, media relations officer with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
The Mountain Resorts Branch project team — part of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development — is reviewing and summarizing the comments from the public, stakeholders, agencies, local government and First Nations.
The information will be provided to the proponent to respond to and address any issues, interests and concerns that are identified, Isaac said.
“The review of the formal proposal will inform an interim agreement decision, which if approved, would allow the proposal to move forward into the final, most intensive stage of review and planning, the master plan review stage,” she explained.
There is no defined timeline for decision points within the province’s all seasons resort review process, Isaac noted.
Other side of the coin
In a counter petition on the same website (www.change.org), the Zincton proponents have garnered 93 supporters for the project, touted it as low-impact ecotourism that “will provide a strong economic boost for future generations while preserving the land.”
The project contains lift-served (20 per cent of the terrain) and backcountry skiing in Goat Pass, with a tenure running from Whitewater Creek to Kane Creek, adjacent to Highway 31A.
Around 80 per cent of the tenure is proposed to remain undeveloped for backcountry skiing and touring. A nearby section of private land is expected to house a village.
However, in a Jan. 28 article written on the West Kootenay EcoSociety website entitled Misconceptions about Zincton All-Seasons Resort, it was argued that the entire proposed development — including the village and the recreation area — would disrupt a wildlife corridor between two provincial parks.
The area has been petitioned to the province for some time as a protected place, the article stated.
“This corridor is one of the best all-season habitats for grizzly, wolverine, mountain goats and western toads and other critically endangered species in the region which the government has spent years and taxpayer dollars to research how to protect,” the article stated.