Barrick Gold Corporation is currently looking into the feasibility of redeveloping the former Giant Mascot nickel mine into an all-seasons resort.
The Canadian company wants to find an alternative use for the land which is no longer providing economic benefit to the Hope area. Barrick owns surface rights to about 168 hectares (416 acres) of land straddling Highway 1 west of the Fraser River near Klahater Lake, as well as an additional 293 hectares (724 acres) on Zofka Ridge south of Stulkawhits (Texas) Creek. It also has mining rights to 4,856 hectares (12,000 acres) of land on the mountain.
McKay Edwards, an independent consultant who has been hired by Barrick to conduct the feasibility analysis, said the location and existing mining footprint make it a good fit for redevelopment. With the growing population in the Fraser Valley, he sees the property being utilized as both a day-use and destination resort.
The plan for the lower parcel of land includes lodging, restaurants and resort housing. McKay said fishing, hiking, boating on the Fraser River and canoeing on Klahater Lake are possible outdoor activities that could be offered. Barrick would also consider having connecting trails to the upper mountain property, which would likely be turned into a ski resort.
“If we did do something like this it would phased over many years and we would see early phases of resort development really relying on the town of Hope as the support facility for the resort,” said McKay, who has a background in urban planning specializing in resorts.
“We really see the town of Hope being integral to the idea. We’ll be exploring this over the next while here trying to understand if it’s a good fit for the town, if the town would like to see something like this happen, and if so how could the town and the resort partner in a way that would most benefit the town.”
If the all-seasons resort is built, Tyler Mattheis, executive director of Advantage Hope, said it will not only provide stable jobs but also serve to solidify the Fraser Canyon as a destination for domestic and international tourists.
“It’s congruent with our efforts to market Hope as a regional package,” he added.
Barrick is currently in the process of consultation with First Nations and nearby residents. The company plans to hold a public information meeting on the project later this year to get additional feedback from people living in Hope and the Fraser Valley Regional District.
The initial discovery of the Giant Mascot property was made in 1923 by trapper Carl Zofka. The site operated as an underground copper and nickel mine from 1959-1974. Since then, buildings have been removed from the property and areas revegetated. Barrick acquired the mine through a merger with with Homestake Mining Company in 2001.