B.C., developer and First Nation partner on $1.5 B expansion plan for ski resort

AGASSIZ, B.C. – The British Columbia government has approved a $1.5-billion expansion plan it says will turn a small ski resort near Agassiz into an all-season recreational area.

The province says it will collaborate with the Berezan Group and the local Sts’ailes Band to develop the Hemlock Resort into a tourist destination in the Fraser Valley.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations says plans include increasing the recreational area to about 6,000 hectares from 350 hectares.

It says the agreement includes joint venture opportunities for Berezan and the Sts’ailes to develop a First Nations-themed residential village and a small marina over the next 20 years.

Harvey Paul, chief of the First Nation formerly called the Chehalis Indian Band, says the deal addresses environmental and heritage issues during development.

Ralph Berezan, who bought Hemlock in 2006, says the partnership allows the resort to become a year-round playground.