An expansion a Sasquatch Mountain Resort will be the foundation of a new revenue-sharing agreement between the province and Sts’ailes First Nation.
The resort, located in traditional Sts’ailes territory, will be undergoing a five-phase expansion plan that will see the resort grow to include year-round recreation activities, such as mountain biking, hiking, ATVing, as well as increased skiing areas. It will also include a new lakefront “Indigenous-themed residential village,” according to a Friday (March 8) press release from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and small marina.
According to the release, the provincial government and the Sts’ailes First Nation are now working together through an economic and community development agreement, which will see the province share incremental revenue from annual royalties they collect from Sasquatch Mountain with Sts’ailes First Nation.
“Sts’ailes is very happy to work with Berezan Group (which owns Sasquatch Mountain Resort) and the Province of B.C. on this key agreement that was carried out in the spirit of reconciliation,” Sts’ailes Chief Ralph Leon, Jr. said in the press release.
“We are excited for our people and for our renewed relationship with B.C.”
According to the release, the agreement came after formal discussions with Sts’ailes on how the project review and consultation met the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“The Sasquatch Mountain Resort project is a great example of collaborative work between a resort operator and an Indigenous community,” Doug Donaldson, minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development, said in the release.
“Today (Friday), we celebrate that partnership as well as Sts’ailes’s ongoing involvement in economic development and the protection of cultural heritage resources in the area.”
The Sasquatch Mountain Resort expansion is part of the resort’s master plan, approved in November 2015 when it was still known as Hemlock Resort. The plan describes the “proposed transformation of this (fledgling) ski area into a major, all-season world class destination resort.”
The plan includes more details on the the Indigenous-themed village, called Quqwathem Village.
It’s proposed as a joint project between the Sts’ailes First Nation and the resort, and would be designed to reflect “reflect traditional Sts’ailes First Nation values, architectural styles and activities,” the plan said. The intent is to include resort residential, retail, restaurant and hotel opportunities for a “fully active First Nations industry.”
The master plan indicates that the first part of Quqwathem Village will be developed in phase two of the expansion.
Phase one of the expansion has an estimated capital investment of $500 million, which will see the number of ski lifts increase from four to seven and the number of ski trails increase to 77. It will also see new trails for snowshoeing, hiking and mountain biking.
According to the government press release, phase one will create the equivalent of 1,153 full-time jobs, while the completion of the five phases of development will see an investment of over $1 billion into the resort.