Base rate for posh resort would be $1,600 daily
A proposed $44.7-million resort near Carcross is not a new concept
Photo by Whitehorse Star
CONSULTATIONS PLANNED – Meetings will be held in Carcross and Whitehorse to gauge public reaction to the proposed Lodge At Stoney Mountain (above) near Carcross. Inset: JUSTIN FERBEY and SCOTT KENT
A proposed $44.7-million resort near Carcross is not a new concept, but plans are in a new phase with an expression of interest submitted to the Yukon government and a public engagement process set to happen over the next month.
That’s the word from Justin Ferbey, the managing director of the Carcross/Tagish Development Corp.
“We’ve been working on this for four or five years,” Ferbey said in an interview Wednesday afternoon.
He spoke following the Yukon government’s announcement of the Lodge At Stoney Mountain expression of interest submitted to the government and the public process.
Project proponents are also now incorporated as the B.C.-based developer International Ecotourism Development Corp. (IDEC), Ferbey said.
Since a world-class resort is envisioned, a proposed opening rate of $1,600 per day per person is set out in the expression of interest.
Long-time local tourism operator Rod Taylor serves as IDEC’s chief executive officer.
John Caton, who is named as a founder of the organization as well as a founder and managing director of the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort on Vancouver Island, chairs the group.
Jim DeHart, president of Upstream Recreation Corp. (a consulting firm based in Campbell River, B.C.), serves as chief operating officer.
There are also a number of directors with a variety of backgrounds in tourism.
The 42-page expression of interest submitted to the government details the plans for the area, which “includes the head and upper half of Millhaven Bay, surrounded by Carcross/Tagish First Nation (C/TFN) lands.
The land boundary can be generally described as the boundary of C/TFN R-8A to the west and south, C/TFN R-29B to the north, C/TFN R-31B to the south, and an eastern boundary that follows the public reserve boundary between Millhaven Bay and the Wheaton River, as it’s described in the proposal.
It would include a spa, fine dining, 20 cabins and 10 tents among its facilities.
As the proposal states: “The lodge will include a cluster of common area buildings and the main lodge. These will include a reception area, guest communications and business centre, media and theatre, library, meeting rooms, and lodge business offices.
“A separate kitchen and dining area, games room/lounge, spa and specialized services will be located in the building cluster area. A main dock will support the boat and floatplane access to the lodge.
“A series of one- and two-bedroom cabins and fully furnished wall tents will serve guests in both summer and winter seasons. Guests will access cabins and activities on boardwalks or hardened surface to protect the fragile ecosystem areas while servicing of facilities will use a secondary hardened and/or elevated access corridor.
“Staff accommodations, service and maintenance buildings will be located on the upper west beach away from the guest portion of the lodge. This area includes pasture, corrals, staff quarters, barn/vet clinic, fuel storage/ containment, power, greenhouse, maintenance shop and other support buildings.”
The resort could accommodate up to 60 adults or 30 family groups (to a maximum of 120 people at any one time) with a guest to staff ratio of about 2:1.
The $1,600 per day per person rate is equivalent or slightly lower than comparable facilities, the document notes.
It is, for example, 12 per cent lower than the current seven-day rate at the Clayoquot Wilderness resort.
Occupancy projections have been set at 20 per cent in the first year, with an expected growth to 35 per cent in the shoulder season of year five and 50 per cent during the prime season of year five.
As Ferbey reiterated, the project is no surprise to the people of Carcross, who have been hearing about it for years.
“People are waiting to see that it’s real,” Ferbey said, noting it was two years ago that residents first saw the preliminary plans.
The public engagement process that is underway will include public meetings in Carcross and Whitehorse likely in the first week or two of February, Ferbey said.
The proposal is also available online at http://inecdevcorp.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/iedc_stoney_mountain_yukon_final_revised_email_20140121.pdf
The public engagement process will be a more formal endeavour to get a sense of what level of public support there may, or may not, be for the project.
Should the project move beyond the public engagement phase, a more formal proposal could be submitted to the government.
Both Ferbey and, in a separate interview, Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Scott Kent pointed out that if it does get to that point, the proposal would also have to go through the Yukon Environmental Socio-economic Assessment Board.
That review would include an input phase as well, ensuring there is ample opportunity for the public to make their views on the project known.
Provided it moves forward as planned, Ferbey said an opening date in 2017 is envisioned for the resort.
Both Kent and Tourism and Culture Minister Mike Nixon were quick to praise the efforts for the resort Wednesday.
“We’re awfully excited the proponent has come forward,” Kent said.
The site was identified as a “potential project of interest” in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed last year between the Yukon government and C/TFN.
The MOU also identifies the possible development of cottage lots, residential development on Bennett Beach and a new campground as other possible projects for the area.
Nixon pointed to the experience IDEC brings to the table in developing major tourism sites.
“This isn’t a fly-by-night operation that’s approaching us,” Nixon said. “They know what they’re doing.”
A high-end resort could broaden the territory’s “appeal as a world-class tourism destination and provide Yukon with another iconic tourism product,” he said.
Potential investors with the project are slated to do a site visit in the spring, Ferbey said.
By STEPHANIE WADDELL