CHILLIWACK, B.C. — Outdoor junkies in Metro Vancouver could one day have a new place to explore.
An all-season mountain resort with two sightseeing gondolas and approximately 11,500 acres of mountain recreation terrain has been proposed for Chilliwack through an Expression of Interest (EOI) filed recently with the province.
The Bridal Veil Mountain Resort (BVMR) project is being developed by B.C. residents Norm Gaukel and Robert Wilson, with the support of Whistler-based Brent Harley and Associates (BHA), a mountain resort planning and design firm. If approved, the resort’s site would be in the Upper Fraser Valley, on the highlands immediately south of the Fraser River, extending over Area D and Area E of the Fraser Valley Regional District and the city of Chilliwack.
According to the project team, one of the major elements of the early development process will be to work closely with local Indigenous communities and business organizations to explore opportunities for joint equity ownership and management, as well as development options. The project team has begun a broad Stó:lō consultation process.
“We strongly believe that any project undertaken on Stó:lō land must involve the Stó:lō in whatever capacity they deem appropriate,” said Gaukel in a statement. “We see Stó:lō ownership and meaningful participation as key foundations for this project and believe their business expertise and Indigenous perspectives would contribute greatly to the success of the project. Additionally, we recognize that the Stó:lō have used and protected these lands for thousands of years and no one understands them better. If this project proceeds, every decision we make together would honour that Stó:lō commitment to environmental responsibility and land stewardship protection.”
Early designs for the resort feature a gondola from the floor of the Fraser Valley to a vehicle-free, mountain recreation area, where residents would be able to ski or snowboard, backcountry tour, hike, sightsee, mountain bike and participate in year-round ecological and Indigenous cultural programs.
The project is currently working through the “expression of interest phase” that has three stages before it can get past the province’s all-season resort development application process.
If the EOI is approved, the next phase would be the submission of a more detailed formal proposal, followed by the submission of a comprehensive Resort Master Plan.