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Fortress Ski Resort approved to sell mountain water
CALGARY — Water flowing at the former Fortress Mountain Ski Resort may soon end up on Calgary store shelves.
The province has approved the resort’s request, allowing it to sell roughly half the water it is already allowed to draw from nearby tributaries.
The dormant ski resort has had a licence to draw up to 98 million litres of local water annually since 1968.
However, the water was only to be used to run its operations.
Now, the resort will likely send up to nine truckloads per day to Calgary for retail purposes, likely as bottled water.
The province says it received roughly 200 “statements of concern” from the public during the 30-day public feedback period.
However, in an email to CTV, a spokesperson said those didn’t come from people “directly affected” by the water licence change and “none ... were found to be valid.”
Members of the Alberta Wilderness Association say they’re frustrated by the government’s decision.
“Fortress has the privilege of operating in the mountains, they were given the licence for their ski hill business,” said Carolyn Campbell of the AWA.
“But to then go to the next step to sell ... mountain water, to market it for purity when it’s actually more harmful because of all the greenhouse gas emissions, it’s just wrong.”
Fortress pulls water from a tributary of nearby Galatea Creek, which eventually connects with the Bow River.
“There is already evidence that the water in the Bow is going to be scarce in the future,” said Campbell.
“Partly because of natural variability and partly because of climate change ... it just reduces our ability for our headwater tributaries to be overall a kind of insurance, (in case of) dry seasons or dry flows.”
Fortress hasn’t operated as a public ski resort in more than a decade, though it’s been used sporadically for cat skiing and movie productions in recent years.
Along with changing their water licence, the owners say they’ve also cleaned up the resort and are building new infrastructure, hoping it will be fully operational again by the end of 2020.