Exclusive resort planned near Carcross

Plans for a possible $44.7-million resort near Carcross are in the early stages of development. An expression of interest for the project was submitted to the government this week.

Plans for a possible $44.7-million resort near Carcross are in the early stages of development.

An expression of interest for the project, dubbed the Lodge at Stoney Mountain, was submitted to the government this week.

The idea comes from the British Columbia-based company International Ecotourism Development Corporation.

It is proposing an eco-tourism resort at Millhaven Bay in partnership with the Carcross/Tagish First Nation.

The project would be “this incredible, iconic, world class, greenest-resort-in-the-world in the Yukon. Which would help to brand the Yukon as the place where that kind of tourism takes place,” said company CEO Rod Taylor, a long-time Yukoner.

“It’s something that the Yukon tourism industry has lacked for a long time.”

The resort would be 15 kilometres southwest of Carcross at the northern extent of Millhaven Bay on Bennett Lake, just south of the Wheaton River.

According to the expression of interest, the resort would include 20 cabins and 10 tents with room for a maximum of 120 people.

“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,” the document says.

It would be open year-round and feature activities like horseback riding, zip trekking, gold panning, dog sledding, ice climbing and ice fishing.

But that doesn’t come cheap.

Opening rates would be set at $1,600 a day per person. The report says that’s a 12 per cent discount on the current seven-day rate at a similar resort in Tofino, B.C.

Taylor said the company would do everything it could to mitigate the environmental impact of construction, particularly when it comes to the sensitive sand dunes in the area.

“The idea is that the buildings themselves would be manufactured in Carcross off-site. They would be built to LEED standards, too – they would be built as environmentally friendly as they can be,” said Taylor.

The buildings would be taken to the site by barge or over the ice.

“The thought is that there would be a crane that would actually be down on the shoreline so no heavy equipment would have to go up on the land itself. They would lift these prefabricated cabins,” Taylor said.

The buildings would be clad on the outside and inside with 200-year-old wood.

“If you’re a client or a guest and you get off the plane it’s going to look like you’re stepping back in time. It’s going to be like this TV show everyone is watching, Klondike.”

The resort would be fly-in.

“Probably up to 40 per cent of the clients will fly in on their private jets to Whitehorse. Then our plane will be waiting for them and they will land in Millhaven Bay either on floats or skis depending on the season,” Taylor said.

The Carcross Tagish First Nation will own part of the resort, Taylor said. Details of the First Nation’s ownership stake are still being worked out.

Justin Ferbey, managing director of the Carcross/Tagish Development Corp. said plans have been in the works for years.

He said the corporation is currently in negotiations with the developer when it comes to jobs both in construction and after the resort is built.

“It’s going to provide 60 full-times jobs in Carcross year-round, that’s about the equivalent size of the First Nation government in the summer,” he said. “Employment in Carcross will no longer be an issue.”

The construction, over a two-year period if it is approved, will provide the equivalent of 90 full-time positions.

“We have to get realistic given our small population how much we can do. We obviously don’t have 60 people who can definitely work there. That would require everyone to quit their day jobs and come back and work and that’s just not going to happen,” said Ferbey.

“But those who are willing will get the education and if they want to work there, in all likelihood they will.”

The next step is for the developers to begin a 30-day public consultation process. Once that is complete a more formal proposal could be sent to the government for consideration.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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