Cheam First Nation Response to BVMR and the Cascade Skyline Gondola Projectby
On Tuesday, it was announced that a new major all-season mountain resort — Bridal Veil Mountain Resort — has been proposed for Chilliwack through an Expression of Interest filed recently with the Mountain Resorts Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development. Today, Cheam First Nation Response has issued a response:
Cheam First Nation Response to BVMR
“Cheam First Nation is deeply concerned about and surprised by the recent announcement from Bridal Veil Mountain Resort Project (“BVMR”) proponents contemplating a large industrial ski resort located on our traditional territory. This project was formerly known as Resorts West and in a very similar fashion was originally proposed back in 2003. Cheam First Nation firmly rejected this proposal for a myriad of reasons. The proposal was also soundly rejected by the wider community and the City of Chilliwack. Cheam First Nation has only recently been made aware of the revival of this project proposal, and we have yet had a chance to be included in their process, despite their plans and its potential impacts on our traditional territory and land. As it stands, Cheam First Nation continues to decisively reject this proposal.
For the last five years, Cheam First Nation has been developing our own non-motorized eco-tourism/cultural tourism project, the Cascade Skyline Gondola Project.”
Cascade Skyline Gondola Project
“The Cascade Skyline Gondola Project is an eco-cultural tourism amenity similar to the very successful Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. It is fundamentally a “celebration of nature and natural spaces” with non-motorized activities for a range of abilities and interests. It will provide accessible transportation above the Fraser Valley in the Cascade Mountains in our traditional territory.
At the summit, guests will be able to enjoy a variety of low-impact, nature-based activities including sight-seeing, hiking, cultural tours, paragliding in summer and snowshoeing, sledding, cross-country and backcountry skiing in winter. The project has been through years of studies, extensive community and First Nation stakeholder consultation and engagement which has resulted in overwhelming community support throughout the region.
We have been following due process with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (“FLNRORD”) for almost four years now under the Adventure Tourism process. We are invested partners in this project and have widespread support from the City of Chilliwack, Tourism Chilliwack, Tourism Industry Association of B.C., Chilliwack Economic Partnership Co., Mayor and Council of the District of Kent, and many other business leaders and community leaders. We are shocked that this competing proposal, on our traditional territory and lands, would be considered by any jurisdiction given the past record of failures and controversies of its proponents, and their lack of respect for our own project on our own lands.
The Cascade Skyline Gondola Project has been a collaborative project since the beginning. As equity owners and partners in this project, we are committed to preserving the cultural and environmental interest of our community and membership, and continuing to work in consultation with other First Nations. We believe this project will bring long-term and sustainable benefits not only to Cheam, but also to the surrounding communities. It will help create a sustainable local tourism-based economy that aligns with the values we hold as Cheam First Nation. Along with economic benefits, it will also create additional management and protection of our cultural and traditional resources. Our project reflects the values and long-term goals of Cheam First Nation and its development will create a positive impact to the surrounding communities.”
You can read the entire announcement from Cheam First Nation online here, and read out more about the Cascade Skyline Gondola Project.