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Spuzzum First Nation unveils ambitious plans for all-season resort near Coquihalla summit

Resort would rival Big White in size, with 11 lifts and up to 12,000 guest beds
A map shows the area proposed for the South Anderson all-season resort. | Spuzzum First Nation

A First Nation in the Fraser Canyon has ambitious plans for an all-season tourist destination near the Coquihalla summit — including a ski resort, golf and thousands of homes.

If built, the Spuzzum First Nation says the South Anderson mountain resort would be a scale comparable to Sun Peaks, Big White or Silver Star.

The band is three years into the feasibility and planning process for the proposed project, according to documents that went to the District of Hope’s council on Monday.

“The South Anderson mountain resort will be a crucial undertaking for the Spuzzum First Nation, area First Nations and other communities in the Fraser Canyon,” Chief James Hobart wrote in a letter to the province last year as part of the application process.

“Moreover, we will help B.C. continue to achieve excellence in tourism infrastructure with an Indigenous foundation.”

In the letter, Hobart calls the project “the first Indigenous-driven comprehensive all-season mountain resort in B.C.”

Spuzzum claims the resort site is within its traditional territory, and that it has the support of “immediate area First Nations.”

The resort would be located on a ridge above the Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway, though the access road is from Highway 1.

“The focus of South Anderson mountain resort is to create an all-season, contemporary, world-class mountain resort with an abundance of outdoor recreation amenities and a variety of tourist accommodation, real estate and day visitor facilities,” the band’s expression of interest package states.

“Winter operations are focused on skiing and snowboarding for all abilities and outdoor hiking and mountain biking in the summer seasons. More formal activities such as golfing and Indigenous events/activities will complement the resort.”

The band hopes to capitalize on the proposed resort’s location and proximity to the Lower Mainland and the Seattle area, as well as “favourable snowfall” and winter weather for a mountain resort development.

“Winter skier visits are projected to increase from 150,000 in Year 1 to 400,000 in Year 10,” the package states. “Summer visits are expected to be similar in numbers.”

The resort would cover 7,415 hectares and include 11 lifts built in three phases — enough to accommodate 9,000 skiers per day. Plans call for upwards of 12,000 beds, plus an RV park and staff accommodations.

The eastern boundary of the proposed resort area borders a previous proposal for a Coquihalla mountain resort, which fizzled last decade.

The Spuzzum band’s expression of interest was submitted last spring.