The Adams Lake Indian Band is suing the province over a proposed expansion to terrain at Sun Peaks Resort, saying it is being cut out of financial benefits and management decisions.
The band filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court this month asking the court to stop government authorizations that would allow the resort to cut timber to create ski runs as well as halt any sale of Crown land for property development.
Chief Nelson Leon, attending a ceremony along with 12 other Shuswap chiefs Friday at TIB’s powwow grounds, said the band wants a cut of profits that flow from development on the mountain.
“We’d be looking at provincial revenues, logging operations, forestry management, taxation, economic opportunities.”
Japanese firm Nippon Cable purchased rights to develop Tod Mountain in the early 1990s. In 1993, it signed a long-term agreement that laid out its master plan for development.
Nearly 20 years later, it is has built about one-third of the beds on the mountain envisioned in that plan, which calls for development of more terrain, lifts and residential units.
The band failed last year in its legal bid to quash formation of the Sun Peaks Resort Municipality. But the court did decide that the province has a duty to consult about applications for further development on the mountain.
A petition filed in B.C. Supreme Court stated that consultation between the band and province has failed to come an agreement about further development at Mount Morrisey.
Sun Peaks Resort general manager Darcy Alexander said the resort made an application in March to begin an expansion with five or six new trails, about 50 hectares of new terrain accessed by current lifts.
The corporation typically spends several years in the planning, tree-cutting and reseeding stages. Alexander said legal action will not halt any near-term development.
“We plan two, three years out before we open ski trails.”
He said the dispute is between the province and First Nations, with the corporation watching from the sidelines.
Leon said in an interview the corporation’s latest application for rights to cut timber “is a critical decision” because it will eventually open up sale of Crown land that will on day become fee-simple lands without recognition of the Shuswap natives’ traditional rights and title.