By Loreth Beswetherick Whistler has agreed to help the B.C. Assets and Lands Corporation co-ordinate a public information meeting to explain a new strategy that will serve as a backdrop against which to assess applications for commercial recreation tenures in the Sea to Sky area. Tenure applications in the corridor have been on hold pending the completion of the backcountry recreation strategy, which was wrapped up at the end of December last year. Director of parks and recreation Bill Barratt said the information meeting will likely be held later this month. BCAL has also asked the municipality to review and comment on eight tenure applications, but the municipality has asked if it can look at all the applications for the Sea to Sky area rather than a few in isolation, because many overlap. The applications will also be forwarded to other stakeholders, including the Ministry of Forests, the Ministry of Environment and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District. Whistler will not have veto power over any application. Barratt said the ultimate decision lies with BCAL. He said the Crown corporation has provided the municipality with mapping to help staff assess the tenure applications. The mapping identifies units of land with very high to high, moderate and low potential for commercial recreation, public use and tourism value. The maps, for example, tag the Callaghan Valley has having a very high potential for commercial use while the Cougar Mountain area is rated high. The Soo is rated medium and Brandywine high in the northern area and more moderate to the south. Although some zones are identified as having a high potential for commercial recreation, social and environmental factors may constrain full development. In some cases, tenure applicants will have to conduct their own carrying capacity studies. In others, BCAL will provide that service as part of commercial recreation management. Barratt said BCAL will use the 16 Mile area — where Cougar Mountain has tenure — as a pilot project to develop a system to assess carrying capacity. "It’s an area fairly well utilized by the public so I think it is a good place to start," said Barratt. It’s also an area that has seen the tenured operator run into conflict with non-tenured businesses, something that spilled over into the courtroom last year. Barratt said the goal is ultimately to use the Sea to Sky corridor as a commercial recreation model for the rest of the province. BCAL wants the municipality’s involvement and Barratt said it is in the RMOW’s interest to get involved in commercial backcountry recreation. "It impacts directly on the resort and the product the resort offers," he said. "We are not sure, if we get involved, what our role will be. We may be involved in monitoring or enforcement. It may be through a contract or it may be with conservation officers. Certainly our goal is to work with BCAL to make this as successful as possible for the operators, the resort and for BCAL," said Barratt. "Everyone is tired of these endless cycles. They want this model to work so that in can be applied throughout the province."