An application by the owners of the Revelstoke Adventure Park to have part of the land removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve was rejected.
In a nine-page decision, the Agricultural Land Commission turned down an application to remove the Greely-area property from the ALR — a move that would have permitted the development of hotels on the site if it was approved.
“The Panel finds that despite the Canada Land Inventory ratings, the properties have been used as forage in the past, and could be used as such in the future,” the ALC wrote in its decision. “The panel also finds that ALR lands could be used for non-soil-bound agriculture, especially in areas where climate limits cultivation.
“The panel finds that keeping the properties in the ALR will ensure that the non-farm uses are not expanded beyond what the commission has previously approved… and will previously reduce any further impacts to the properties and neighbouring agricultural properties.”
Illecillewaet Development Inc. is planning to build an adventure park on the north side of Mount Mackenzie that will be based out of a 64 hectare, former farm property in the Greely area easy of Revelstoke. The plan calls for a campground, gondola, mountain bike trails, zip lines, man-made lake, bungee jump and more.
Jason Roe, the chief operating officer of the Revelstoke Adventure Park, said the decision was disappointing.
“Part of the reason we made the application was on their recommendation,” he said. “It was a bit surprising they came back and said no.”
In 2014, the ALC approved a non-farm use application that gave permission for the developers to build the adventure park on agricultural land. At the time, the ALC wrote “the subject property has limited agricultural suitability.”
According to the Canada Land Inventory, the land slated for development is 40 per cent Class 4, which means agriculture is limited by moisture; 40 per cent Class 5, which means agriculture is limited by stoniness and lack of moisture; and 20 per cent Class 7, which means agriculture is limited by flooding.
A report by agrologist Bob Holtby that was prepared for the applicant says the best agricultural use of the land would be forage production. It said agricultural production would be limited by shading from Mt. Mackenzie.
The ALC approved the application for non-farm use in 2014 on the basis if the development fell through, the property could revert to being a farm.
In the application for exclusion, Roe wrote, “An exclusion from the ALR would allow the creation of the optimal zoning to develop RAP as a ‘comprehensive resort commercial destination.’”
“To maximize the commercial possibilities of the development and improve its viability as a commercial destination, RAP would ideally be able to provide a variety of accommodation options and services to complement the adventure activity offerings.”
Roe said the application for exclusion was so they didn’t have to go back to the ALC every time they amended the plans. “It unfortunately slows this down,” he said.
Roe told the Review that the decision won’t impact the development of the adventure park, which is aiming for a July 2018 opening. He said they are currently dealing with final legal issues with the province and they are expecting to get their timber license to begin building a road to the proposed bungee tower site shortly. Once the road is built, they will work on finalizing the site plan and begin construction.
“We’re going to go right up until the snow kicks us off the property,” said Roe.