As of this morning, 546 people have signed an online petition to protect Mt. Begbie Alpine from commercial development.
The proposed “Mount Begbie Alpine Chalet group” development, which currently includes a 16 person hut and a 16 person chalet built on the mountains alpine, near the glacier, has been hotly debated. On September 26 2019, locals voiced their concerns and desire to keep Mt. Begbie free of commercial structures in a public meeting held to discuss the proposed commercial development. In fact, not a single member of the public at the meeting voiced support for the proposal.
The petition was approved by the Board of the North Columbia Environmental Society (NCES) to be distributed on behalf of the NCES.
“We were moved to try and take preventative action to halt any potential commercial development on Mt. Begbie, particularly in the alpine, after the proposed development of the hut and chalet by Ian Tomm,” explains Kate Borucz of the NCES. “We have 160ish signatures on a physical copy of the petition which was circulated at the development open house and then at the farmers market. There was a strong interest in putting it online. We are looking to send it off by mid-November with any and all signatures on it.”
“The notion of developing large commercial structures on this iconic landmark seems counter-intuitive to what the residents of Revelstoke and British Columbia cherish and value,” the petition explains. “Development of any sort, be it logging, mining, or the “Begbie Alpine Chalets” would challenge the notion that the City of Revelstoke is committed to preserving accessible wild places for future generations. It is imperative that Mt. Begbie is protected to show that some places are just too important to be exploited for profit. Mt. Begbie should be protected from all resource extraction and be kept in its natural state with only non-motorized, non-commercial recreation for all to enjoy. The undersigned would like to see Mt. Begbie protected from unnecessary commercial development by designating it a “Protected Area” and wish to see continued advocacy for conservation and sustainability of sensitive ecological areas.”
The online petition can be found here.
Another alternative has been put forward by Ben Wilkey, a member of the local Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) Columbia Mountains Section. “Let’s put our efforts instead into entering into ‘partnership agreements’ with the BC Recreation Sites and Trails people to take stewardship over this and many other hiking trails in our area,” Wilkey suggested. “There are plenty of funding sources out there that we can get to pay for upgrades to the trail and camping areas. We are the non profit entity to do it. We can have properly built trails and sites that will sustain the increasing demand on these areas and will ensure a pristine experience for locals and visitors for years to come.”
Though Wilkey is a believer in the ACC ‘hut’ experience, he thinks Mt. Begbie should be left free of hut structures entirely. At this point, most of Revelstoke looks to feel the same way.