Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comment from CSRD Area B director Loni Parker and additional comment from proponent Jason Roe.
Revelstoke-based development company Black Tie Properties has unveiled plans for an ambitious outdoor adventure centre in the Greeley Meadows area called the Revelstoke Adventure Park.
The phased five-year development proposes a wide gamut of outdoor activities targeting passing motorists. The activities include mountain biking trails, hiking trails, zip lines, a bungee jump, tree top adventures, a mountain bike rental and repair shop, a mountain shuttle, a retail shop, rock climbing, a sky swing, an Ogo park (giant inflatable balls you ride inside), river rafting, a ‘fishpipe’ endless-loop waterslide, horseback riding with stables, a driving range, a bike pump park, a mountain lodge, chairlifts and an RV park and campground with about 150 treed sites, among several other attractions.
The Times Review first reported on the concept in May of 2012 when it was in early development. The concept was a mountain bike park, but the developers were reluctant to release other details at that time. A management plan for the proposed Revelstoke Adventure Park was posted on the Province of B.C.’s Integrated Land Management Bureau’s website on Jan. 30, 2013.
Black Tie Properties LP plan to locate the park on 100 hectares of land owned by holding company Illecillewaet Development LP in the Greeley Meadows area, in addition to 283 hectares of Crown land adjacent to the private property, including the northern foot of Mount Mackenzie.
Black Tie Properties Chief Operating Officer Jason Roe pointed to his experience in several businesses in Revelstoke, as well as time spent in Queenstown, New Zealand, a well-known adventure tourism centre.
In a statement, Roe said the venture was a “passion” of his: “I’m excited to get to this step in the development of the Revelstoke Adventure Park. It will be a one-of-a-kind attraction, creating a greater awareness for Revelstoke, further enticing visitors to discover our vibrant community throughout the spring, summer and early fall months.”
The Greeley area is located about 10 kilometres east of Revelstoke on the Trans-Canada Highway. It is a relatively flat area bounded by the highway and the Illecillewaet River on one side and Mount Mackenzie on the other.
The proposed Revelstoke Adventure Park (RAP) is divided into two phases. The developers hope to begin construction on phase one in 2013. This will include biking and hiking trails, zip lines, the bungee jump, tree top adventures and retail shops. The park will utilize a mountain shuttle to access the bike trails and ziplines and other mountainside attractions when the first phase is completed.
According to the management plan, the second phase will be developed over years 2–5. The second phase includes the remaining activities listed above.
The proposal is for a summer park only, operating from May to October.
The proponents cite a recent Ministry of Transportation study that notes Trans-Canada Highway traffic past Revelstoke doubles in the summer compared to the winter. “RAP‘s prime location on the Trans-Canada Highway will allow it to benefit from the seasonal increase in vehicle traffic on the highway,” states the management plan. “This combination of activities and accessibility from one central location will make this a unique offering in Canada. An increase in demand for adventure recreation has been recorded by the Revelstoke Visitor’s Information Centre. Their statistics indicate that adventure recreation is the second most popular topic for which visitors request information, the first being accommodation.”
Since the development of Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Revelstoke is renowned as a winter tourism destination. However, the summer tourism season is arguably still larger than the winter trade.
Roe said there was a possibility of linking the development to Revelstoke Mountain Resort, but it would depend on an agreement with RMR. “It’s definitely part of the larger scope,” Roe said, adding the timeline for that was “25 years out.”
Roe hoped the development would help shorten the tourism off-season. “[it] helps Revelstoke and the resort have a four-season location,” he said.
In its proposal, Black Tie estimates 167 employees will be required to operate the park, including 25 instructors and guides at the mountain bike park, 22 employees in retail and registration and 25 in food and beverage.
The proposal would require about three kilometres of new roadway. Several of the attractions will require logging.
Revelstoke Adventure Park proposal details:
The mountain biking trails will be accessed by mountain shuttle during phase one and chairlift during phase two. Riders will choose a course according to their ability and will be required to wear safety gear. Roe emphasized the need for a world-class facility: “There’s a lot of good builders in towns here already,” he said. “We want the best working on it. Revelstoke has got fantastic biking as it is, but a lot of people still drive through [Revelstoke].”
The proposal calls for two chairlifts. One will be 1,500 metres long and will transport people to the bungee centre. The other is 240 metres long and will transport people to the tree top adventure centre. The construction schedule calls for chairlift construction in 2014.
A ‘mountain coaster’ is a downhill cart that follows two set courses. Riders operate it using a brake.
The proposed bungee jump is a 55-metre freefall from a 12-metre platform that extends over a cliff face on the side of Mount Mackenzie.
The “Tree Top Adventures” is a wire course in the trees that includes climbing nets, bridges, ropes, swings and zip lines. Guests are harnessed in. It takes about 2.5 hours to complete the course, depending on skill.
The zip line from the bungee centre is 1,400-metres long. In addition, “trail zips” are accessed from a trail system and range between 20 and 450 metres long.
The rock climbing course is made of bolted climbing routes ranging from 15 to 35 metres in length.
The helicopter tours will start and end at Revelstoke Adventure Park.
The “sky swing” is a pendulum between two 30-metre poles.
The “fishpipe” is a rotating barrel water ride – a stationary waterslide.
A pump park is a continuous-circuit bike course featuring humps and bumps where riders use gravity and momentum to ride continuously.
Guided horseback riding will happen on dedicated trails.
The proposal states rafting on the Illecillewaet River won’t require new riparian facilities. There are two proposed courses. One starts in Albert Canyon and ends at Revelstoke Adventure Park. The other starts near the Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk; this route requires additional approval from Parks Canada.
Several environmental concerns are listed in the proposal. The proposal states a creek on the property is non-fish bearing. Two stream crossings will be required – their exact locations are to be determined.
Water will be transported by water dispensers. Sewage will be carried through portable sanitation units.
The site plan outlines plans for a proposed 4.1-hectare man-made lake.
The plan has now been submitted to the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for review. The application includes an Adventure Tourism Tenure Application.
A spokesperson with the City of Revelstoke’s engineering department said the city hadn’t yet received referrals on the project. The spokesperson said the city wouldn’t be able to say until next week if the project would have any impact on the city’s water treatment plant or watershed, which is located in the Greeley area. The proposal is located outside of city limits.
Columbia-Shuswap Regional District Area B director Loni Parker said the regional district hadn’t received the referral from the province yet. She expected it within a few weeks.
She said the timeline, including the proposed phase one this year, was optimistic. “I think that is a little tight given how things work with land referral,” Parker said. “It’s a large project and it will definitely have to go through some processes.” Parker noted the Shelter project at Shelter Bay is just going to public hearing now, despite being on the table for many years.
Noting she hadn’t seen the referral yet, Parker said the plan would likely involve a change to the area’s Official Community Plan, a referral to the Advisory Planning Commission, an application for an Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) removal with the Agricultural Land Commission, as well as zoning amendments.
Roe told the Times Review that the zoning was already zoned for backcountry recreation. He said they had an application before the Agricultural Land Commission, but that the resort could operate even if it wasn’t approved because the proposed operations are not within the ALR. Roe said his company has been working through the process for two years and hoped to be able to begin construction in 2013, not begin operations then.
Roe said now that the proposal had reached an approvals phase, they’d take a wait-and-see approach. After that, he hopes to bring together local businesses to work together on development.
“We’re definitely confident,” Roe said of the business plan. He said the highway traffic amounted to six million passing vehicles a year, a big opportunity Revelstoke Adventure Park plans to tap into.
See the management plan and a series of maps via this link to the Integrated Land Management Bureau website.
Clarification: An earlier version of this story didn’t state the roles of the companies involved clearly. Black Tie Properties LP will manage the proposed park, while Illecillewaet Development LP is the entity that owns the property.