The Environmental Assessment Office announced this week that it would delay a decision on the proposed resort’s status until it has more information about avalanche risk.

The proposed resort had a deadline for “substantially starting” by October 12, 2014. Just days before the deadline, concrete trucks poured “floating sub-floors” for a daylodge and a service building, and poured an anchor for one ski lift. The sub-floors are not structural, and the total construction is estimated by an independent analyst at .5% of Phase I of the massive, billion-dollar project.

Mary Polak, Minister of Environment, must now determine whether the project has started or not, and whether the violations documented by public interest groups and the Environmental Assessment Office should invalidate the project’s approvals. Environmental groups and the Ktunaxa Nation have argued that the small footprint of the progress so far is not substantial, that the daylodge is outside of the lease area approved by the province, and that critical pre-construction environmental safeguards were not met. Local backcountry operator RK Heli-Ski also pointed out that the daylodge appears to be in the impact zone of two large avalanche tracks

The Environmental Assessment Office has requested that the resort’s proponent – Glacier Resorts Limited – provide additional information about avalanche risks. The Office will submit a recommendation to the Minister if that information is provided.