The Hartwicks plan to develop an alpine ski resort at Powder Mountain suffered another blow on Feb. 8 when the RCMPs commercial crime unit and special prosecutor Robert Gourlay ended their criminal investigation into the governments handling of the application.
Nan Hartwick and her daughter Dianne have been working on their Powder Mountain project for almost 20 years.
The pair allege that former forest minister Jack Kempf was about to rule in their favour until former Premier Bill Vander Zalm interfered on the behalf of a rival company, Callaghan Resorts, that was owned by a friend.
The Hartwicks sued the provincial government for $2.3 million in damages plus interest back in 1999, but the case was dismissed after two weeks when the judge ruled that the Hartwicks had failed to make their case.
The RCMP launched a criminal investigation of the allegations in October of 2000. Last week they closed the case after reviewing the file and determining that further investigation is not warranted.
The Hartwicks appealed the first decision in the B.C. Court of Appeal in October of 2001, but it was thrown out after a two day hearing after the panel of three judges determined that the first judge had more than enough information to make the ruling.
In January of 2002, the Hartwicks announced they would be appealing their case to the Supreme Court of Canada. If any abuse of power were discovered in the criminal investigation, it would have helped their cause significantly.
Meanwhile the province has been active in the Callaghan Valley. They created a provincial park in 1997, and recently issued commercial backcountry tenures for the area to a variety of operators. The valley is also the proposed site for Nordic events if Vancouver wins its bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics.