Westscapes Development Inc. has proposed to build a 2500 bed all season resort (skiing, hiking, golfing, possibly dog sledding) in the Juliet Creek and Coldwater River valleys. View their proposal on the Land and Water BC website, proposal number 3410900. Their tenure area includes high value recreation areas such as Zoa peak (skiing), and the Llama-Alpaca-Bighorn ridge area (alpine climbing and hiking), as can be seen on their LWBC application map.
- March 2005: letter sent to Terry Pratt from the FMCBC Recreation and Conservation Committee, with an ammended map.
- November 2005: letter sent to Terry Pratt and Pat Bell
Text of the November 2005 letter
Trish Stathers (President)
Sandra Nicol (External Representative)
Varsity Outdoor Club
Box 98 6138 Student Union Mall
Vancouver, B.C. V6T 2B9
A/Manager, Major Projects
All Seasons Resorts Division, LWBC
Southern Interior Service Region, Kamloops
CC: Honourable Pat Bell, Minister of Agriculture and Lands
PO Box 9041 STN PROV GOVT
Victoria BC, V8W 9E1
November 15, 2005
Re: Juliet Creek Resort Development, LWBC File 3410900
Dear Ms Pratt,
We are writing concerning the Expression of Interest submitted by Westscapes Development Inc. for an all season resort development in Juliet Creek and the Upper Coldwater River. The area that the proponents have outlined on the map in their executive summary includes several locations that are valuable to the non-commercial recreational community. A commercial tenure on these locations would be unacceptable to public recreationists in our member clubs, including backcountry skiers, hikers, rock climbers, and mountaineers. We have outlined a preferable southern boundary for the Juliet Creek resort, as well as an area that we propose be protected for recreational use, on a copy of the Westscapes Development Inc. map (attached). This map was first submitted to you by the Federation of Mountain Clubs of British Columbia, and we support it fully.
The areas of high recreational value are Zoa Peak and the Bighorn-Alpaca-Llama Peaks ridge. Zoa is used by backcountry skiers as a day trip from the Lower Mainland, and is valuable for its excellent views, good quality snow, and easy access. Few day trips are available to Lower Mainland residents, and Zoa is unique because it can be visited in worse weather than many of the other destinations. Zoa is in the southern Ancillary Use Area outlined on the Westscapes Development Inc. map. It is unacceptable that there be commercial development on this ridge, even in the form of trails or tours, because commercial presence detracts from the experience of public recreationists.
The Bighorn-Alpaca-Llama ridge is a hiking and rock-climbing destination with excellent views. Parts of this hike can be done in one day, and it is also an attractive multi-day hike. There are at least a dozen alpine rock climbing routes described for this area, with potential for many more on the broad granite slabs. There are also several scrambling (non-technical rock-climbing) routes up these peaks. This ridge is on the border of the Controlled Recreation Area on the Westscapes Development Inc. map. Commercial development in this area would affect public access to these peaks (the same way that the Whistler-Blackcomb resort has affected public access to the Spearhead Range and the Musical Bumps, as well as Whistler and Blackcomb peaks). A ski lift in that area, or guided tours, would wreck the wilderness experience that public recreationists seek when visiting this area.
The red line on the attached map indicates a preferable southern boundary for development of the Juliet Creek resort. It runs along a ridge top north of the Coldwater and Upper East Anderson Rivers. This boundary would be acceptable because ski area developments north of this boundary would not be visible from the Bighorn-Alpaca-Llama ridge or from Zoa Peak. Development north of the red line would have little direct effect on public recreation in the Zoa and Bighorn-Alpaca-Llama ridge areas. At the moment we do not object to the proposed development north of the red line, but proposals in the area will be scrutinized by our executive, taking into account disruptions to recreation and wildlife caused by this development.
Resorts, if they are successful, tend to expand their boundaries (Whistler-Blackcomb's expansions into Garibaldi Park on Flute Mountain is an obvious example). To reduce the possibility of future development in these high value areas, we propose that they be protected, either as a Provincial Recreational Area (as Joffre Lakes used to be) or some other protected designation. Suggested boundaries for this protected area are outlined in orange on the attached map. The boundary follows valley bottoms when possible, generally following the lowest point of land around the peaks discussed above, because such boundaries protect approaches from all aspects. These would be the minimum boundaries; ideally the protected area would include nearby Yak, Nak, and Thar peaks, as well as peaks south of the highway such as Needle Peak. We would be interested in discussing this proposed protected area further with yourself Parks representatives. The peaks mentioned here but not discussed above also have high recreation value for public hikers, skiers, rock climbers, and mountaineers.
We hope that our comments have been useful in the review process, and look forward to speaking with you in the future.