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Hold off on supporting Zincton, RDCK staff tell directors

Regional District of Central Kootenay planning staff say the Zincton ski village proposal “holds potential to bring positive impacts to the region,” but they are recommending that directors withhold their support until a number of concerns are addressed.

The staff report is included in the agenda of the RDCK’s rural affairs committee and will be discussed on Dec. 8. The proposal calls for an all-season backcountry resort to be built between Kaslo and New Denver.

In the report, planners say that they are concerned about any decision being made by the provincial government on the project without first understanding “the cumulative effect of the … impacts on this land.”

“We encourage the province to undertake a cumulative effects study to better understand those impacts prior to, or as a part of, the assessment of any application for use in this area,” they wrote.

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“This assessment should consider the impacts across the whole Highway 31A corridor, and include consideration of the existing tenures, the proposed tenure, and the relationship of these to public uses and the environment.”

The report says the RDCK should not support the proposal until the remaining concerns are addressed. However, they do see many “attractive” aspects, including a focus on human-powered recreation and an adherence to sustainability principles in the project’s development and operation.

Other broad areas of concern cited are local First Nations engagement, socio-economic effects, and environmental impacts.

Planning staff say the project is “generally consistent” with the area’s official community plan, but its “magnitude and intensity” is beyond the OCP’s vision for small-scale outdoor recreation. Therefore, they say an OCP amendment would be required. That process would provide a further opportunity for public input on the proposal, they note.

The deadline for feedback to the provincial government on the second stage of the application was Nov. 23.

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