A controversial proposal has come forward to turn a new lodge near the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort into a boutique heli-skiing operation.
Hansford Land Corporation, the owner of the lodge at the end of Leidloff Road, applied to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District for an Official Community Plan amendment and re-zoning that would allow for the property to be used as a five-bedroom luxury heli-ski lodge.
However, the fact they built the lodge first and are seeking the re-zoning after the fact irks Loni Parker, the director for Area B Rural Revelstoke. She told the Review the application is the result of a bylaw enforcement complaint.
“When they first started building, the information that was given to us was that it was a single-family dwelling,” she said. “These are the kinds of things that make all the director on the CSRD board irritated. Clearly there are rules. They should have known what the zoning is in that area.
“We don’t like to come after the fact and reward people who have gone forward and built something with a use that wasn’t according to the zoning bylaw.”
The application was discussed by the CSRD Board of Directors at its meeting on Thursday, July 16.
There, they gave first reading to the application so it could be sent off to various agencies for referral, including Interior Health, the Area B Advisory Planning Commission and other government agencies and First Nations groups. A public hearing will be held at the community centre on Wednesday, Aug. 5, at 7 p.m.
The approval process would involve numerous items, including assessment of drinking water and sewage disposal; and studies looking at traffic flow, the impact on infrastructure, and numerous other items.
The property is currently on the Thomas Brook water system, which is under an Interior Health boil-water advisory. Area residents are currently exploring joining the City of Revelstoke in order to access city water and, possibly, sewer.
Hansford is proposing to use the property as a luxury boutique heli-ski lodge, with a heli-pad on site, similar to the Big Horn Lodge located at the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
Parker said the CSRD chose to move ahead with first reading in order to get feedback from the various stakeholders, including the neighbours.
“We’ll be able to see if that’s the kind of use the people in the neighbourhood would like to see,” she said. “If the neighbours say no, then (the owners) may end up with a very large single-family dwelling on their property. I don’t want to pre-judge the results, but that could happen.
“If the public agrees and there’s no issues with water and sewer and septic, then it could go forward.”
Elmer Rorstad, who lives just up the road from the property, first heard of the proposal when the Review called him for his opinion. He said he was against the heli-pad and the way the owners have gone about building the lodge.
“As a neighbour, we haven’t been kept up on any of these things and to suddenly jump in to zone commercial, what does that mean for the properties around it?” he said. “Can we expect more traffic and can the area handle it?”
The Review reached Derek Lannie, a contact for the property owner, however he would not go on record about plans for the lodge, saying for legal reasons they wouldn’t comment until the public hearing.
You can read the staff report on the application below.