City of Revelstoke expresses concern about backcountry guiding tenure application in community watershed

City of Revelstoke staff and councillors have expressed concern on why they had to ask for a referral letter regarding a proposed adventure tenure that overlaps the Greeley Creek watershed. The proponent says he is willing to work with the city to ensure their concerns are mitigated.

The Greeley Creek watershed supplies water to Revelstoke's Greeley Creek Water Treatment Plant, also located in the area on the back side of Mount Mackenzie. Photo: Google Maps

An application for a ski touring business in the Greeley Creek Watershed, which supplies the city’s water, has led council to direct a letter of concern to provincial authorities.

Mike Bromberg, president of Revelstoke Backcountry Guides, says he wants to work with the City of Revelstoke to overcome concerns regarding an adventure tenure application that will overlap parts of the Greeley Creek Watershed.

“The protection of the watershed is critical to the community,” said Bromberg.

Bromberg was present at a city council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 8 where city councillors discussed concerns brought forward by staff regarding the application. A major concern brought forward by city staff was the lack referral about the project from either the proponent or FrontCounter BC. As a result, city staff will send a letter to FrontCounter BC outlining their concerns about the proposed application.

“We haven’t had any referral from the province on this until we actually asked for a referral,” said Mike Thomas, director of engineering and development. “We are concerned. From my perspective, I think activities in the watershed should be closely managed. It is basically our only watershed for the city.”

In an interview with the Mountaineer, Bromberg said his understanding was for the application to be submitted to FrontCounter and that through that process he would be taken through a number of steps including working with stakeholders.

“When I submitted the application they gave me steps. They (FrontCounter BC) had me reach out to nearby tenure holders,” said Bromberg.

As part of the application process, Revelstoke Backcountry Guides’ was required to place advertisements with local media.

“That’s probably how the city found out about it,” said Bromberg.

Both mayor Mark McKee and chief administrative officer Allan Chabot said this is the first time the city has had to ask for information about a tenure application within the Greeley Creek Watershed.

“This is the first time the city has had to ask for a referral,” said Chabot.

McKee said the city’s preference is to work with applicants prior to the application being submitted. He also said the city would normally have been contacted, whereas in this case city staff had to seek out information about the application from FrontCounter BC.

“It seems abnormal that we would be left off,” he said.

Bromberg said he thinks it should be the responsibility of the government to facilitate discussions regarding applications such as the one being proposed by Revelstoke Backcountry Guides.

“In this case, I’m not sure why that didn’t happen,” said Bromberg, who noted he is glad the city is able to submit their comments to FrontCounter BC.

Vivian Thomas, communications director with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, said all applications and amendments go through a referral process.

“The recipients are based on the application location, and the status on the land where the project is located,” Thomas said in an email to the Mountaineer. “In this case, the City of Revelstoke was identified as having an interest and was sent a referral letter on July 18.”

Thomas said while the city asked for the referral letter to be sent there should have been one already in the works.

“If the city had not asked, they still would have been sent a referral letter, since the city had been identified by the ministry as having an interest,” she said.