Big White Ski Resort Master Plan
PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE
The Province and Big White Ski Resort invite the public to attend an Online Information Session on January 26, 2021, 5pm-7pm (PST).
Big White Ski Resort (Big White) has applied to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Mountain Resorts Branch (MRB), for the replacement of their existing Master Development Agreement (MDA). As part of this application, Big White has also submitted a draft Resort Master Plan update. MRB is initiating consultation with the public, First Nations, agencies and stakeholders for the draft Master Plan and the MDA replacement.
The Master Plan
The Master Plan is the conceptual plan for the resort, identifying the vision and phased development plans to build-out and is the reference point from which the MDA and all other approvals are based. Some highlights of Big White’s draft Resort Master Plan update include:
- Expansion of the Controlled Recreation Area (CRA), approximately double the existing area;
- New and expanded residential areas (approximately 6,800 additional bed units);
- Transformation of the resort into a world-class, all-seasons destination resort;
- Improvements to the balance, quality and diversity of recreational offerings and overall resort experience;
- Addition of 10 new ski terrain pods (approximately 1000 ha);
- Phased expansion of the existing downhill mountain biking trail network;
- An expanded “sidecountry” non-motorized recreation area for Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country mountain biking, and an additional 18-hole golf course; and
- Inclusion of a “backcountry” residential and recreational area catering to motorized activities (e.g. ATV, motocross, snowmobile).
Big White’s existing Master Plan (approved in 1999 and updated in 2018) and the draft Master Plan for expansion are both available for review on the MRB website. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/natural-resource-use/resort-development/proposed-approved-resort-master-plans/list-of-approved-plans/big-white
The Master Development Agreement
The MDA is the contractual agreement between the Province and Big White that sets out the terms and conditions for resort development, including the right to acquire MDA tenures (i.e. leases, licences and rights of way) for recreational infrastructure on Crown land. Big White’s existing MDA was issued in November 1989 for a term of 50 years. As per the All-Seasons Resort Policy, resorts are eligible to apply for replacement at any time following the mid-term of the tenure. There are several benefits to the proponent of replacing the old MDA with an updated agreement, including:
- A longer 60-year term, providing greater business certainty and investor confidence;
- Year-round use and control of the CRA to facilitate investment in all-seasons recreation opportunities;
- Enhanced legal language/mechanisms pertaining to the use and control of the CRA;
- Faster turnaround times for applications that are consistent with the approved Master Plan and MDA; and,
- Collaboration with First Nations to address interests, mitigate impacts and reach agreements.
If the updated Resort Master Plan and the request for replacement of the MDA are approved, this would result in replacement of the existing MDA with a new MDA based on a recently updated template that will cover the existing CRA and expansion area and expire 60 years from the date of approval and sign off by the Province.
Big White Ecological Reserve
Big White Ecological Reserve (951 hectares) was established in 1972 and is currently listed and described in Schedule B of the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act. The ecological reserve borders provincial Crown land that is designated as part of Big White Ski Resort’s CRA, which was founded in 1963.
When the ecological reserve was established, an error was made that resulted in the inclusion of a small area of ski resort facilities. This error was discovered when more accurate digital mapping of the boundaries of the ecological reserve and Big White Ski Resort’s CRA was completed.
MRB is currently working with BC Parks (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy) and Big White Ski Resort to rectify the boundary error. The current proposal is administrative in nature and suggests an adjustment of the boundary of the ecological reserve which would result in 3.5 hectares (approximately) being removed from the ecological reserve.
Public comments can be provided during the comment period by using the “Submit a Comment” button above. MRB will maintain an issues tracking spreadsheet throughout the review period to collate questions and concerns from agencies, stakeholders, First Nations and the public. The issues tracking spreadsheet will be shared with Big White and updates will be made to the draft Master Plan to mitigate the identified issues; if needed, specific conditions or commitments may also be included within the legal framework of the MDA. Provided that the issues have been resolved, the Master Plan will be finalized for acceptance by MRB and the statutory decision maker will determine whether the MDA application should be approved.
If you have any questions or require more information please contact Tori Meeks, Senior Manager Major Projects at 250-371-3943, Tori.Meeks@gov.bc.ca or Amber McAfee, Land Officer at 250-312-6659, Amber.McAfee@gov.bc.ca
|Applicant(s):||Big White Ski Resort Ltd.|
|Tenure:||Development Agreement / Alpine Ski Development|
|Purpose/Subpurpose:||Alpine Skiing / Controlled Recreation Area|
No decisions have been made for this application at this time.