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Mountain Town News

A private company has filed for the right to divert water from the Illecillewaet River, a tributary of the Columbia River, in order to produce electricity. The application by Chasm Power Corporation is among dozens of proposed hydroelectric projects in the interior of British Columbia as part of the provincial governments goal of boosting electrical production.The Revelstoke Times Review notes concern among environmentalists. The river in question provides habitat for bull trout, a species with declining populations, says Sarah Newton, director of the North Columbia Environmental Society. There are also concerns about secondary impacts, such as the disruption to grizzly and mountain caribou populations caused by clearing of trees for new transmission lines.Norm Macdonald, an elected representative, disagrees with the provincial governments strategy. You have these private power projects being put in place without an overall plan. In my constituency there are 26 proposed projects. Individually, some of them may make sense, but as a whole it is a disastrous policy environmentally as well as economically, he said. He also objects to the lack of local say-so in new hydroelectric projects.

Colorado-based East West Partners last year bought a major real estate development in Canmore called Three Sisters Village. It was, and is, only partially completed.East West is a major presence along Colorados I-70 corridor, in Utahs Park City, and Californias Truckee-Tahoe area. But this was its first foray into Canada, and the Canmore area was apprehensive. Not helping was the recent news that East West had been fined significantly for allowing construction activities to muddy a creek in California with sediment, harming the fishery.But the Rocky Mountain Outlook notes it likes what it sees. East West has announced it is reducing its density, but also has hired two of the most respected wildfire watchers in the valley to figure out where the third and final wildlife corridor should be based on what undeveloped land remains.This, says the newspaper, is very much unlike the previous ownership. It says wildlife corridors were previously chosen based on whether the land had any value for houses. Land without commercial value, such as steep hillsides, was then designated for wildlife, without any consideration whether it was useful to wildlife.Today, however, a new dawn seems to have arrived, proclaimed the paper.

Clouds continue to pile up over Tamarack, the ski-based resort located 90 miles north of Boise that only three years ago drew President George W. Bush for a vacation. The latest bad news for the developers is that two banks, Bank of America and Sterling Bank, that had loaned money for a conference complex and an employee housing project at the resort plan to have the properties sold by auction.The Associated Press, in stories published in the Boise Statesman, also reports that Bank of America forced a new agreement to cover lease payments on two ski lifts. Separately, co-owner Jean-Pierre Boespflug conceded he may be forced to quit as chief executive officer to lure a new investor. Speculation also continues that the resort will be sold.

Drills are boring into an old mine at Silverton as a company called Colorado Goldfields continues its examination of what minerals may still be available for extraction.The company this summer drilled two holes in the Gold King, a mine active from 1895 to 1920. The mine produced about 345,000 ounces of gold and 4 million ounces of silver.Steve Guyer, the chief financial officer, told the Durango Herald in August that production costs are well below gold prices. Still, Goldfields has not yet announced begun mining, although it does proclaim that profitability on its operations will arrive within 18 months.The company also continues to drill into the Mogul Mine, in the hope of intersecting the historical vein that had been mined. Historical data indicated a good grade of silver, lead, copper and zinc.

Teachers in Wyomings Teton County get paid $52,582 to $77,082 annually. Throw in the benefits package, and its a pretty good living in most of the country.But teachers wages have not been rising nearly as rapidly as housing costs. The Jackson Hole News&Guide reports that housing commissioners have been hearing recently about a small subdivision that would be dedicated to teachers. Three-bedroom houses would range in price between $295,000 and $325,000. With a down payment of 20 percent on the latter house and 5.75 percent interest, the monthly mortgage would be $1,900.

Copper Mountain got an F in the Ski Area Report Card that was issued last year by Colorado Wild and other environmental groups. It was the worst rating in the western United States.The resort angrily denounced the rating and fired back that it was doing a lot. Recently, the resort announced some of those gains.For example, the transportation center now has a 4.2-kilowatt photovoltaic solar collector. It gained certification of a 45,000-square-foot building under the Green Globes program, which is parallel to the better-known LEED certification that rates energy and other environmental efficiency of a building. The resort also replaced paper plates with washable plates in three of the resorts four food courts, reports the Summit Daily News.In the last year, the resort hired an environmental program coordinator.Allen Best compiles Mountain Town News. He can be reached at allen.best@comcast.net.

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