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Crystal Mountain plans get extension

Crystal Mountain Resort has been granted yet another extension for a rezoning application that would allow for expansion.

According to Bruce Smith, communications officer with the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, the board has approved the extensions because "it recognizes the challenges over the past four years with the international financial and investment community."

"The applicant continues to express confidence and optimism about the project and is continuing efforts  to find financing and partners to move the application forward," said Smith.

In a letter from Oberto Oberti, president of Pheidias Development Management Corporation—the agent working on behalf of Crystal Mountain—to RDCO planning manager Ron Fralick, Oberti said international investment "seems to be at the doorstep of the project."

"I had the good fortune of being able to be part of the provincial B.C. delegation to China at the end of November…it looks like provincial staff is making progress introducing both Chinese institutional investment groups and immigrant investors," wrote Oberti.

"I feel that with the assistance of provincial staff our collective efforts should bear fruit."

Plans for Crystal Mountain expansion are not new.

The zoning amendment bylaw received first reading by the regional board March 17, 2008. Prior to that, the resort had a master development agreement approved by the province.

In 2012, a Swiss-based investment group—Agentura—visited the resort and indicated a desire to potentially finance the much-anticipated expansion of Crystal Mountain Resort; however, that interest has seemed to fizzle out.

Smith said the decision to grant the eighth extension was unanimous among the regional board members.

***

The BC Safety Authority is still at Crystal Mountain Resort, conducting their investigation into what caused a chairlift to malfunction and send three chairs plummeting to the ground March 1.

"It's quite in-depth. They're taking their time to make sure everything is done properly and all the appropriate tests are done," said Newcomb.

He said the investigation involves both on-site and off-site testing.

"I know they're deconstructing parts of the equipment and having engineers do in-depth analysis.

"We've been able to get the chair lift to an operational state, and have been conducting dynamic tests in order to perform further analysis of the installation."

Newcomb said part of the reason the investigation is taking some time is due to the rarity and seriousness of the situation.

"We want to make sure that we're looking at any possible contributing factor to reach an outcome of mitigating a risk of reoccurrence anywhere else."

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

Twitter: @PatersonWade

 

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