Plans submitted to the Ministry of Forests show an aerial view of the Christian Valley, where adventure tourism company Powder Renegade Lodge hopes to build a cat-ski operation. Photo: Powder Renegade Lodge, Inc.

Plans submitted to the Ministry of Forests show an aerial view of the Christian Valley, where adventure tourism company Powder Renegade Lodge hopes to build a cat-ski operation. Photo: Powder Renegade Lodge, Inc.

Advisory bodies weigh in on proposed Christian Valley cat-ski operation

Prospective operator, Powder Renegade Lodge, said backcountry ski infrastructure already in place

Two Advisory Planning Commissions (APC) across the Boundary expressed concerns this week about a cat-ski operation proposed for a section of Christian Valley bordering the Granby Provincial Park. Powder Renegade Lodge (PRL), a Kelowna-based backcountry ski company, is awaiting a decision by British Columbia’s forest ministry that will decide if the project goes ahead.

RELATED: Province reviewing cat-ski lodge proposed for southern Monashees

The APC for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s (RDKB) Area E, which advises the district on policy matters covering Greenwood and Midway in the southeast to Big White in the northwest, recommended on Monday, Jan. 4, that the RDKB not support PRL’s referral. The APC for rural Grand Forks’ Area D voted on Tuesday, Jan. 5, to defer a recommendation until PRL could present its tenure management plan.

Minutes taken at the Area E meeting cite a number of environmental concerns raised by board members. In particular, the APC claimed that PRL’s tenure management plan doesn’t clearly outline the proposed lodge’s sewage drainage; that its plan provides no buffer for threatened wildlife habitat in neighbouring Granby Park; and that noise from the lodge’s helicopter shuttle would disrupt area wildlife. The board also said area residents weren’t adequately notified of PRL’s intentions, advertised in The Boundary Creek Times and The Grand Forks Gazette starting in late November.

Representatives of the Boundary Alliance, an ad hoc group of concerned residents in the region, and the Boundary Forest Watershed Stewardship Society, a standing body that advocates for sustainable logging practices along Boundary waterways, told board members that any development near Granby Provincial Park would gravely threaten area Grizzly bears and wolverines.

PRL owner Kerry Penney said in an interview on Wednesday, Jan. 6, that the company has applied for tenure over existing infrastructure, outside of Granby Provincial Park, put in place for a now defunct heli-skiing operation. Accounts suggesting that PRL would operate any kind of a “ski hill” are grossly misleading, he said.

“There’s no ski hill being built. There’s no infrastructure going in to take people up and down the mountain. There’s no chairlift — nothing like that.”

Penney said PRL intends to use existing logging roads complemented by around 10 kilometres of unpaved snow-trails for the company’s tracked caterpillar, or “snow cat.” The company’s tenure management plan plainly envisions a modest timber frame lodge serviced by a septic field, he noted. Wife and business partner Cassandra Penney later qualified that the lodge would probably span around 4,000 square feet, including 24 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms.

“At the end of the day, we’re only going to be working with what’s already there,” he said, adding that proposed ski runs would be too densely treed to accommodate snowmobile traffic. PRL has no plans to extend its operation beyond backcountry skiing and snowboarding.

Kerry said PRL had obtained “a desktop” environmental assessment by a certified biologist with extensive knowledge of the area. The assessment was based on recent field studies based on current forest ministry data used to calculate area wildlife populations and migration patterns. PRL’s “low impact” operation would not harm Grizzly bears, he said, because the company would only bring in small groups during the bears’ winter hibernation.

“We’re not going to bring 100 people up there in a day. We’re not even bringing 35 people in a day. We’d be looking at bringing in 24 people a day when we’re maxed out in five years and we’ll have a second cat operating.” Tour guides would avoid any areas where wildlife was spotted for 24 hours, as per PRL’s wildlife mitigation plan, he said.

The ministry is considering public comments submitted to the Crown Land Applications’ website until Jan. 14.


 

@ltritsch1
laurie.tritschler@grandforksgazette.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


 

@ltritsch1
laurie.tritschler@boundarycreektimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

no driving of snow cats on cut blocks

-10.7 of excavated roads, none of them continuous, none connecting to FSRs

-12 separate roads

-separeate a frame for staff

-6 to 8 bedrooms; bunk beds 12 to 17 staff

-no square footage

-in principle 20’ by 20’

-maintaining the natural landscape as much as possible to max snow pack stability

-exception to the MVCA is that snow mobiles exempted from Nov. to april

-part of the Motor Vehicle Act

-included in the proposal

-snowcat can be considered a snowmobile becasue it’s sufficiently similar

EnvironmentGrand ForksKelownaskiingTourism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Grand Forks RCMP say the deceased’s car fell off Highway 3, west of the city. File photo
Motorist killed in Highway 3 crash was a Castlegar man: Grand Forks RCMP

The man’s family has been notified, according to Cst. Corey Flodell

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Grand Forks RCMP, left, and Grand Forks Fire/Rescue attended a fatal Highway 3 crash Thursday evening, Jan. 21. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Motorist dies in Highway 3 crash west of Grand Forks

City first responders were called to the scene Thursday evening, Jan. 21

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Most Read