A feud that’s been brewing for years between the operator of a backcountry ski lodge and Brtitish Columbia’s Ministry of Forests has reached its boiling point. The Nelson Star reports that the Ministry of Forests has terminated Ymir Backcountry Lodge’s land-use tenure. Trevor Holsworth is not complying though, as he’s claiming that this is his last asset.
The Ymir Backcountry Lodge, which is located between Nelson and Ymir in British Columbia, is an off-the-grid lodge that houses people for overnight stays. The terrain around the lodge is excellent and features ample snowfall.
The Ministry of Forests alleges that the lodge was operating without an occupancy permit. In February of 2022, the lodge was issued fines, a Stop Work Order due to construction without a permit, and a Do Not Occupy order for not having a working permit. Chris Gainham, Regional District of Central Kootenay’s building manager, alleges that they were working on a building permit application with Holsworth, but communications ceased. Here’s what Chris said about the situation:
“Unfortunately, and despite our best efforts, meaningful communication from the owner ceased and a permit could not be issued.”
The lodge is currently being investigated by the Ministry of Forest’s Compliance and Enforcement Branch, which will force Ymir to not operate and fulfill its contractual obligations before vacating the land.
Ultimately, there are multiple sides to every story. According to Trevor Holsworth, this is not what happened. In addition to owning the lodge, he runs a website that challenges corruption in the judicial system in Canada and sent a letter of his criticisms to federal justice minister Arif Virani. He also lost a civil case, and an appeal against a lawyer, in an unrelated court case which he believed was not deserved. While there isn’t proof of a direct correlation between these two situations, Trevor believes that this political advocacy is the reason that the property is being seized. Here’s what Trevor told the Nelson Star about the circumstances:
“They are attempting to intimidate me and destroy my livelihood… They’re basically saying, ‘look, you haven’t paid your fees’ and stuff like that, and I’m saying, ‘well, you guys aren’t complying with the law. And when you comply with the law, then the situation will be resolved.’”
He also posted a thread on Twitter about the situation. The whole thread is pretty long, so you can click on the Twitter posts below to see the whole thing.
On the other hand, Redditors in the r/backountry believe that the building is not in good shape. People who have stayed there allege that the building has mold in it and that the compostable toilets are in gross shape.
While the Ymir Lodge website remains active, the status of operations this winter is uncertain. The front page still lists availability for the 21-22 season, so the website needs a bit of updating. I believe that this is just the beginning of what could be a drawn-out situation.
Image Credits: Ymir Backcountry Lodge