A huge all-season mountain resort is being proposed for the Chilliwack area in an effort to boost Fraser Valley tourism.
Currently called Bridal Veil Mountain Resort, the resort would include approximately 11,500 acres of mountain recreation terrain and two sightseeing gondolas.
If approved, the resort would be located in the Upper Fraser Valley, on the highlands immediately south of the Fraser River, extending over Area D and Area E of the Fraser Valley Regional District and the City of Chilliwack.
The preliminary concept would see guests travelling by gondola from the lower area to a vehicle-free, mountain recreation area where there would be ski hills, backcountry tours, hiking trails, mountain bike trails and other programs.
The winter season will be more focused on skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and skating.
In the summer, activities would be more focused on hiking, mountain biking and perhaps adventure courses like zip lines.
The proposed site is in S’ólh Téméxw, the traditional and unceded lands of the Stó:lō people and those behind the proposal say they will work with the First Nations group to explore opportunities for joint equity ownership and management as well as development opportunities.
The proposal is being led by B.C. residents Norm Gaukel and Robert Wilson, with the support of Whistler-based Brent Harley and Associates, a resort planning and design firm.
“We strongly believe that any project undertaken on Stó:lō land must involve the Stó:lō in whatever capacity they deem appropriate,” Gaukel said in a release. “Additionally, we recognize that the Stó:lō have used and protected these lands for thousands of years and no one understands them better. If this project proceeds, every decision we make together would honour that Stó:lō commitment to environmental responsibility and land stewardship protection.”
In a release posted online, the Cheam First Nation said it “is deeply concerned about and surprised by the recent announcement.”
They said a similar project was proposed in 2003 but they rejected it “for a myriad of reasons.”
“Cheam First Nation has only recently been made aware of the revival of this project proposal, and we have yet had a chance to be included in their process, despite their plans and its potential impacts on our traditional territory and land. As it stands, Cheam First Nation continues to decisively reject this proposal,” the nation said in a statement.
The Cheam First Nation said it has spent the last five years developing its own non-motorized eco-tourism/cultural tourism project, called the Cascade Skyline Gondola Project.
Right now the Bridal Veil Mountain Resort proposal has been filed as an Expression of Interest with the Mountain Resorts Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development.
It is estimated the resort could create more than 1,800 full-time equivalent jobs and generate more than one million visits each year.