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Province OKs $100 million ski resort near Valemount

The province has approved the new Valemount Glacier Destinations ski and sightseeing resort with the finalization and signing of a master development agreement.

The first-phase project investment by Valemount Glacier Destinations and its capital partners will be approximately $100 million. On completion, the new resort – located in the Premier Range of the Cariboo Mountains immediately west of the Village of Valemount – will include:

  • Year-round glacier skiing and gondola access for alpine sightseeing;
  • Access to mountain top elevations of more than 3,000 metres (9,850 feet), including the summits of Mount Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Twilight Glacier, Glacier Ridge and Mount Arthur Meighen;
  • The largest vertical drop in North America, third largest in the world, of over 2,000 metres (6,726 feet);
  • A base-area village with residential, hotel and commercial space, which will be a focal point for all seasons resort activities; and,
  • 800 full-time jobs that will be created and supported through the construction and operation of the resort.

“It brings great satisfaction to reach this milestone and to design and work to build a destination that is world-class and truly community-driven,” said Tommaso Oberti of Oberti Resort Design and the Pheidias Group, in a press release.

This project is designed to bring a unique and rare mountain experience to North America, boasting some of the most impressive viewpoints for sightseeing anywhere in the world.

“This location opens lift access to one of the best snow zones and reliable climates for snow sports on the continent,” said Oberti.

A modern lift system designed for both sightseers and skiers will take visitors to the summits of Mount Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Twilight Glacier, and the majestic McLennan Glacier.

“It will be a true multi-peak experience surrounded by stunning glaciers,” said Oberti. “VGD embodies the best of B.C. – environmentally sustainable design coupled with some of the best vistas and mountain experiences in the world.”

The Valemount Glacier Master Plan, showing how the resort will be built out over time, was approved by the province in August 2016. The master-plan review process included consultation with First Nations, government agencies, local stakeholders and the public. These consultations were completed in March 2016.

The province also completed detailed technical analysis on the Mountain Development Plan (proposed gondolas, chair lifts, ski runs and trails) and worked with the Simpcw First Nation to carry out a comprehensive environmental review to ensure a strong environmental impact mitigation strategy was part of the approved master plan.

The Valemount Glacier Resort has strong support from local partners, including the Simpcw First Nation, the Village of Valemount, and the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George. The resort proposal was a locally born initiative brought to the developer by the Valemount Ski Society and the Village of Valemount.

Agreements signed with the Simpcw First Nation allow the Simpcw to share in revenues generated from the resort and ensure the Simpcw have the ability to share in the success and benefits of the resort in their territory over the life of the project.

The approved 60-year master development agreement is the land-use contract between the Province and Valemount Glacier Destinations, which will allow construction and development activities to proceed toward an anticipated resort opening in December 2018.

“The signing of the Master Development Agreement is the last step ‎for the Valemount Glacier Resort to call the Robson Valley home,” said Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond. “The glacier access at this world-class resort gives visitors an extended ski season and helps diversify the tourism experiences in northern B.C. ‎‎The partnerships, investment and jobs created by the resort will benefit the region for years to come. Reaching this point has taken an incredible amount of work and, as the local MLA, I am proud to have worked hard with all the partners to finalize the MDA.”

It’s certainly good news for the Village of Valemount.

“Valemount Glacier Destination Resort represents an exciting, unique opportunity for our community to attract global tourists and help build a prosperous future, and we are pleased to see the completion of the Master Plan Development process,” said Valemount Mayor Jeannette Townsend.

The Simpcw First Nation also supports the Master Development Agreement for the Valemount Glacier Resort initiative, “which is a key element in the regional economic development plan for the northern portion of the traditional territory of the Simpcw people,” said Chief Nathan Matthew.

Over the past number of years there has been a shift in the economic drivers within rural and small communities, which has created challenges for economic sustainability said Danelle Allan, Regional District of Fraser-Fort George director.

“The Valemount Glacier Destination Resort is an exciting project and we are so pleased and thankful that Mr. Oberti and partners believed in this project and worked so hard to get to where we are today. This project will result in jobs in both the construction and tourism sectors and will complement our current basket of outdoor adventure recreation opportunities so well known to us that live in the Robson and Canoe valleys.”

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