Sun Peaks Resort & 2010 Olympics, BC, Canada


In 1997, the BC government approved a $70 million development plan, allowing the Sun Peaks ski resort to continue to expand their resort to 20,000 beds and put ski runs on the previously undisturbed Mt. Morrisey. The local Secwepemc community, who claim aboriginal title over the sacred lands known as Skelkwek’welt attended stakeholder meetings and clearly said no to the development. Land and Water BC however, clearly disregarded their voices and granted new leases to Sun Peaks to facilitate their expansion.

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Basic Data
NameSun Peaks Resort & 2010 Olympics, BC, Canada
ProvinceBritish Colombia
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Tourism Recreation
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Specific Commodities
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsOn-site accommodation has increased from 100 beds to over 5,800, and lift capacity has been increased to allow for the delivery of 8,000 people a day to the mountains.

Sun Peaks is engaged in an extensive four-phase development plan, intending to further increase capacity to 20,000 beds. The B.C. government approved the $70-million first phase of the expansion (now completed), which cut ski runs on the previously undeveloped Mt. Morrisey. In 2002, Sun Peaks boasted of the $20-million 'massive new 220 room Delta hotel' sitting in the midst of booming construction. This summer, in connection with Vancouver's Olympic bid, the government approved the second phase of development totalling $285 million.

Project Area (in hectares)4,140
Level of Investment (in USD)355,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Company Names or State EnterprisesDelta Hotels from Canada
Nippon Cable Company Ltd. of Tokyo from Japan
Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners Ltd. from Canada
Relevant government actorsRoyal Mounted Canadian Police, B.C. Supreme Court, B.C Government, B.C. Lands and Water
International and Financial InstitutionsInternational Olympic Committee (IOC)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNative Youth Movement, Skwelkwek welt Protection Centre, No One is Illegal Vancouver, Students Taking Action in Chiapas, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights Montreal, Collective Opposed to Police Brutality Montreal, No One is Illegal Montreal, Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Montreal, Quebec Public Interest Group, Aboriginal Students Network McGill, The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Native Youth Movement Kahnawake, The Dragonroot Center for Gender Advocacy Montreal, Student Workers Solidarity McGill, Friends of the Lubicon Montreal & Toronto, Netherlands Center for Indigenous People, Support Center for Indigenous People Belgium
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Boycotts of companies-products
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Development of AlternativesThe demands of the movement were as follows:

1) We demand that all charges be dropped for all people charged in

relation to protection of Aboriginal Rights and Title in Skwelkwek¹welt

territory, as Canada has no jurisdiction.

2) We demand that all acts of racial hatred that have been perpetuated

against Indigenous Peoples in Skwelkwek¹welt, by state official and the

public at large, be thoroughly investigated and tried criminally.

3) We demand that Canada and the provinces rescind, amend, or nullify

racially discriminatory policies in order to comply with Section 35 of the

Constitution that enshrines Aboriginal land, treaty, and inherent rights,

and to comply with high court decisions in favor of Aboriginal Title and


4) We demand that the governments of Canada and BC respect their own

colonial laws and stop the illegal harassment and abuse of Secwepemc

people asserting their Aboriginal rights and title to Skwelkwek¹welt


Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Despite the resistance, the Sun Peaks expansion proceeded as planned, as did the 2010 Olympics in Canada.

The Secwepemc assert that the ongoing expansion of Sun Peaks Ski Resort will undermine their ability to exercise their inherent rights to land-use and occupancy and, thus, their Aboriginal title to the land. The federal and provincial governments have refused to acknowledge Secwepemc title and enter negotiations to establish co-jurisdiction. Moreover, the government has not upheld its fiduciary obligation to consult the Secwepemc, disregarding environmental and cultural impact studies performed by the Adams Lake and Neskonlith Indian Bands. Instead, development has proceeded largely unabated since 1997, despite the ongoing Secwepemc resistance.
Sources and Materials

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Delgamuukw Decision on Native land entitlements


Thierry Drapeau, Politics
[click to view]

Spatialising New Constitutionalism: The Secwepemc People versus Sun Peaks Resort Corporation in British Columbia, Canada


No Indians Allowed on Aboriginal Territory at Sun Peaks, Canadian Dimension
[click to view]

Resistance Without Reservation!
[click to view]

Sunpeaks Resort webpage
[click to view]

Other CommentsThe investment given refers to both phases.
Meta Information
ContributorLeah Temper
Last update24/06/2014