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Kootenay resort proposal detrimental to wildlife and residents

Letter to the Editor from Noah Marshall, Trail
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Dear Editor,

I am writing as a concerned B.C. resident to express grave concern over the impacts of the Zincton resort proposed by Mr. David Harley.

The proposed resort would cover 5,500 hectares of land at Three Forks and Retallack, with a capacity of approximately 1,750 guests (BHA, 2020).

There is plentiful evidence that a permanent resort of this size will have a substantial impact on many species - species important to the region and to the Province of British Columbia. Additionally, there is reason to believe the Zincton resort could be detrimental to the local communities; the resort will overwhelm and displace residents.

In this letter, we hope to convey significant concerns about the proposed Zincton resort, and urge the Government of British Columbia to prevent its development.

British Columbia is renowned for its natural beauty.

Indeed, it is because of this beauty that Mr. Harley has submitted the Zincton EOI. However, significant scientific evidence suggests that, despite what is claimed in the EOI, the development of the Zincton resort will be detrimental for British Columbia.

The resort would destroy the habitat of regionally and provincially important species.

Grizzly bears, wolverines, western toads, and mountain goats are among the key species threatened by the Zincton resort (VWS, 2020). Grizzly bears, wolverines, and mountain goats are Blue-Listed in B.C., meaning that the population is susceptible to extirpation or extinction.

Thus, it is the responsibility of the Province to ensure their protection.

Additionally, the resort’s proposed location is in an important travel corridor for bears—emphasizing the need to preserve this natural habitat.

If the proposed resort is built, a greater frequency of bear-person interactions will occur—leading to far greater levels of euthanized bears.

Even more, white-phased grizzly bears make up a significant percentage (5-10%) of the local grizzly population (McCrory, 2020). The white-phased grizzlies are spiritually significant to the Sinixt First People and culturally significant to British Columbians.

Due to the high level of risk posed by the proposed Zincton resort to provincially significant animals, no portion of the resort described in the Zincton EOI should be approved.

Furthermore, due to the outlandish size of the proposed resort, we have significant fears that, rather than bolster, the resort will displace and overrun the local communities.

In small mountain towns, resorts have the potential to displace the local population.

With a proposed population capacity of 1,750 people, Zincton resort could out-price and out-compete the local population. For contrast, the nearest town, New Denver, has a mere 500 people.

In (Sanjay, 2011), a study conducted in B.C. examining resort-induced changes in small mountain communities in British Columbia, data suggests many new residential properties associated with a resort “are out of reach” for local residents.

Furthermore, (Sanjay, 2011) interviews several business owners with concerns that “skiers and second-home owners rarely come to the town or participate in local festivals”— in effect, mitigating benefits to the local economy.

This suggests the economic gain of Zincton is concentrated among resort investors and non-local amenities migrants with detrimental effects on local communities.

There is enough evidence to warrant concern that resorts, such as Zincton, do not improve local life to the degree claimed by the EOI.

Through its large ecological footprint and contribution to rural gentrification, the proposed Zincton resort will damage both the people and environment of British Columbia.

For these reasons, it is our belief that the Zincton resort must not proceed and rather, protections should be put in place to preserve our beautiful British Columbian environment.

Best regards,

Noah Marshall