Ski resort resurfaces, alarms native bands
$500-million ski resort in Melvin Creek watershed resurrected by the Raines
      Jeff Lee 
      Vancouver Sun 

July 28, 2005

PEMBERTON - Native bands in the Pemberton and Lillooet areas say they are 
alarmed that a proposed $500-million ski resort in the Melvin Creek watershed 
is being resurrected by Nancy and Al Raine.

Garry John, chief of the Seton Band and chairman of the St'at'imc Chiefs 
Council, said Wednesday his group is vehemently opposed to the Raines' decision 
to apply for an extension of an Environmental Assessment Act certificate that 
expires next month.

He said the St'at'imc thought the project died five years ago after the bands 
opposed it, but have now discovered it may yet be brought back to life.

Al Raine confirmed Wednesday he has applied for a one-time, five-year extension 
of a certificate he obtained from the province in 2000 as part of a plan to 
build Cayoosh Resort, a major ski destination resort in a valley halfway 
between Whistler and Lillooet.

He said he made the application because the original certificate expires Aug. 
14 and he is hopeful treaty discussions between the provincial government and 
the St'at'imc Chiefs Council, which represents 11 local bands, will be resolved 
before long.

But John said the development will never happen because the bands categorically 
oppose it.

"Al's hoping, as far as I can tell, that the government-to-government 
negotiations we're embroiled in between the St'at'imc Chiefs Council and the 
provincial government is going to somehow open the door for him," John said.

"We've taken a very clear position, and we've made that known that we're not 
there to find a way for Al Raine to get his foot in the door in the territory. 
As far as we're concerned, this project is a dead horse and has been for the 
last several years."

Raine, who runs the Sun Peaks Resort, said he's only protecting his investment 
in Melvin Creek by applying for an extension of the certificate.

Raine and his wife, Olympic skiing medallist Nancy Greene Raine, began the 
quest to develop Melvin Creek more than 10 years ago.

"There's no work, there's no action going on," Raine said.

John warned the government not to extend the certificate.

He said the development of Melvin Creek is not acceptable to the St'at'imc, 
which claims more than 10,000 square miles (25,900 square kilometres) of 
territory between Whistler, Hat Creek and the Kamloops area.

"Why would we let anybody build in an absolutely pristine valley that has 
crystal-clear water, is home to wolverines, bears, badgers and mountain goats. 
We've utilized the area for thousands of years," John said.

John Bones, a project assessment officer with the provincial Environmental 
Assessment Office, said the government has not yet made a decision on the 

He noted that since the original certificate was issued, the provincial 
government signed an agreement with St'at'imc Chiefs Council over how the bands 
should be consulted on land use, and the fate of the Melvin Creek area is part 
of those discussions.


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