One of the buildings for a proposed backcountry operation would be located inside the City of Revelstoke’s watershed. ~ Image by the City of Revelstoke

City of Revelstoke concerned about proposed lodge in watershed

Revelstoke Backcountry Guides has applied to build backcountry ski lodge in Greeley Creek watershed

The City of Revelstoke is expressing concern over the impacts a proposed backcountry hut could have on its watershed.

Revelstoke Backcountry Guides has applied for a 40 square-kilometre tenure that would include a lodge located inside the city’s Greeley Creek watershed.

If approved, the lodge would be the first piece of infrastructure located inside the watershed, says a staff report by Mike Thomas, the city’s director of engineering.

“As described in the Greeley Creek Source Protection Plan, the current level of recreation being observed in the watershed is seen as a fairly low risk activity,” writes Thomas. “However, increases in tourism in the watershed area is of concern to the city, with hiking, biking, overnight stays (camping), buildings, hydro-electric power, ski run glading, and avalanche control all risks to the city’s watershed.”

Many of these hazards are present in the application, and Thomas made several recommendations with regards to protecting the watershed that council supported:

— That no construction, glading and avalanche control take place inside the watershed.

— That no human activity take place during summer months due to the risk of wildfires.

The final recommendation was that the City of Revelstoke be notified of all land applications that would impact the watershed. Thomas told council that the city wasn’t automatically referred to on the application, and had to request a copy.

“From my perspective, we haven’t had any referral from the province on this until we asked for referral,” he said. “That was something we were concerned about because it is the city’s watershed and we are concerned about it.”

The application was posted online on June 29 and the Review wrote about it in our July 12 issue. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations, said the city was asked for its opinion on July 18.

Thomas also said the city didn’t receive detailed mapping for the proposed tenure area.

Mike Bromberg, the owner of Revelstoke Backcountry Guides, told council he was willing to work with the city to address its concerns. “We’re here to represent the best interests of the community and I look forward to getting you all the pieces of the puzzle to move forward in a responsible way so we have your support,” he said.

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