Hemlock gets $1.5 billion expansion plan go-ahead

The "controlled" recreation area at resort is set to explode from 350 hectares to 6,000 hectares in the Hemlock Valley.

The 'controlled' recreation area of  Hemlock Resort is set to explode from 350 hectares to 6

The 'controlled' recreation area of Hemlock Resort is set to explode from 350 hectares to 6

A unique collaboration and a bold master plan will lead to a major transformation of Hemlock Resort into an all-season resort.

A five-phase expansion of the ski hill was announced Thursday from Hemlock Valley, featuring an innovative partnership between the B.C. government, Langley-based Berezan Group and Sts’ailes Band.

“Hemlock Resort has been an important contributor to the local  economy for decades,” said Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness. “With this new master plan, Hemlock is better positioned to support continued economic development and tourism in the Fraser Valley as a unique all-season resort.”

Since buying the resort in 2006, the proponent has invested $10 million into upgrades for 217 private homeowners. Now the “controlled” recreation area of the resort is set to explode from 350 hectares to 6,000 hectares.

CEPCO president Brian Coombes said he could see the inherent logic of turning Hemlock Resort into a year-round attraction.

“From a tourism perspective, the strength of Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley is as a regional destination. So having Hemlock Resort developed over time the way they are planning to, will make Chilliwack and the eastern Fraser Valley that much more appealing as a place to live and work.

“If we can say a world-class all-season mountain resort is just 45 minutes away, that’s a huge plus for our area.”

There are currently 1,076 units and four ski lifts, with plans to increase the ski hill infrastructure to 23 more lifts over the build-out period of 60 years, with 20,000 additional residential units.

Phase I of the expansion should see a $500 million investment, creating 1,153 FTE jobs, with another $1 billion over the years for Phase 2 to build-out.

Officials signed an “impacts benefit agreement” which maps out opportunities of the proponent and Sts’ailes First Nation, such as a joint venture development on nearby Harrison Lake.

Lakefront ideas include a indigenous-themed residential project and small marina, with a focus on year-round recreation like mountain biking, hiking and ATVing.

More about the plan at:  https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/ftp/Mountain_Resorts/external/!publish/Web/resort_plans/proposed/2014%20Hemlock%20Master%20Plan.pdf